November 4th, 2010

cass, can you not

Can't sleep. Thinking Morrison thoughts will do that to you.

(Caveat: I don't consider either this or Morrison's recent Batman run in general as necessarily part of my personal canon — at least not until we've had five or ten years to see how it plays out. But it's a damn interesting thing by itself, and here I'm looking at it in that spirit.)

This is how the Omega Beams work: They don't kill you. They corrupt your past, your story, your history, they twist you and everything you hold dear into everything you hate... and they do it both to your future and to your past.

This is the Black Hand: since before Bruce was born, the Omega adapter (Darkseid's hand - Dark Hand - Black Hand) has been working on corrupting and twisting the Bat. Hence the XVIIIth century Thomas Wayne. Hence Hurt's experiments with a young Batman. Hence the Batmen. Everything that happened just before the Final Crisis, and for decades before that — that was all part of the wound created by Darkseid's parting shot (that it would be fired later than all of this is only relevant to beings other than deities and the people who fight them).

That is how Darkseid kills you: from your future, and through your past (that is how he killed his son Orion, too).

Darkseid didn't put tragedy in Bruce's life, and he didn't put the Bat in there, either. His shot was meant to corrupt them, and to a degree it did. There's something faintly rotten in the Wayne past. Had Hurt won, everything Bruce had stood for would have been sullied and destroyed. Gotham would have become a hell under the control a perverted, evil Wayne --- a *death* of Batman centuries in the making, put in motion both before and during his life, and coming to fruition months after the dark god was dead.

But Bruce won. He won, first, because he has the will and the smarts to play chess across centuries, with most of his memories wiped, against an immortal opponent pursuing the goals of a dead (and to be dead) god.

And he won because his legacy extends beyond his past and himself. Because of Dick, because of Damian (this, also, because of Dick). Because, in its own funny way, of the Joker, too. All of them, because of his heart. That's why Dick loves Bruce, and why the Joker can't let go: because as... weird as Bruce is, they both know he has a soul to love/hurt.

Hurt - the Black Hand - it was all meant to usurp the Bat, to create a twisted Wayne and a twisted Batman. It seemed to go well (and really, with so much power and so much time, when you began before your target was born, you do have a large advantage).

But in the end it was just another deathtrap for Bruce. Larger than most, and more complex than most (made of centuries and legends, and his own family, and himself), but in the end just a deathtrap. And he's the world's greatest escape artist because he thinks in more dimensions than you. He knows the secret you seek because he planted it there. The cage you're tricking him into? He built it, and you forgot what that means at your own peril.

In the end, Hurt was Darkseid's dark hand, and the servant of the Bat. And he lost because Bruce — with the family he created, not the one he inherited, and his ingenuity, not his legend. Darkseid aimed at Bruce's past and myth. Bruce blindsided him from the future he creates with his heart and mind. When all is said and done, Bruce, Bruce Fucking Wayne and not the Goddamn Batman, is more badass than the Bat.

And now he knows that, too. Which is why now there can be more than one Batman, why Bruce can fund the Batman and not the other way around, and why he could run around in that powered armor (and the ridiculous Insider name). He has a fucking Bat-god for a familiar spirit. He can do Batman. But, ladies and gents, he is Bruce Wayne.

Darkseid (the freaking DARK GOD) loses. Bruce (that freak of a human badass) won.