What does it really mean for Batman?
More often than not, I will be the first to profess my respect for Grant Morrison, but even I admit that sometimes his "what the f__?!" moments in many of his books leave me wondering how the heck he comes up with this stuff. So, as you can probably guess, any chance I get to see how he ticks, I leap at the opportunity. Recently, Grant Morrison sat down for an interview to discuss the upcoming The Return of Bruce Wayne, an event which has practically every Bat-fan at the edge of their seat. We know that Bruce is slated to return this April, but none of us really know how.
In the interview, Morrison reveals what he has in mind for the series and how he will handle there being, well, two Bat-men. Clearly, the writer can not simply bring the character back without there being some sort of explanation, or at least that's what I am hoping. Basically, don't treat his return the way you treated his death--there was no real "mourning period" like we saw in Death of Superman for Batman. There has to be more to the story than simply Batman returns, the end. Morrison is going to have to explain where he went, what he lived through, and what happened; filling in a really big blank.
Bruce Wayne traveling through time? This could be really interesting. What we witnessed in Batman R.I.P. was the physical and mental breakdown of the character. Morrison took one of the most prominent characters in comics and said, "I'm going to kill him" knowing that the only way to kill a character like Batman, a character that has built an impenetrable tower around him, is to do it gradually. Like pulling a stray thread on a sweater, we watched Morrison unravel Batman both mentally and physically, breaking him down until he was nothing. Logically, to bring him back would mean you would have to re-teach him everything he used to know.
"It is an examination of the superhuman. Because Batman is superhuman and it's about all the different facets of that; all the different parts of him that come together to make up this amazing character...We use these various time periods to sort of personify the different parts of what he does. We watch him learn how to be a detective again, how to be a savage fighter again, and how he learns to be a dark figure of vengeance that preys on criminals."
With The Return of Bruce Wayne is also a rare opportunity for Morrison to essentially re-write the character. What will Bruce be like? How different will he be? How much will he remember? More importantly, are we even dealing with the same character? What Morrison stated in the interview leads me to think Bruce may not remember all of his former past. Would this Return of Bruce Wayne really be the return of Bruce Wayne, or is this an opportunity for Morrison to rewrite the character? Will all of the events that haunted him in his former life, like say, the death of his parents, still shape his ideology?
Let us not forget Dick Grayson, the current Batman. What will happen to Dick and the new Batman and Robin? Will he continue to evolve by taking on a new identity representative of all the experiences he has lived though over the course of the last year? Will he give up the burden that he so reluctantly took on, or will he fight his former master for the cape and cowl?
Also, is anyone else noticing the growing tension between Dick and Damian? The Batman and Robin cover image posted earlier over at The Source speaks volumes, and Damian does not look happy. Oh, and remember when DC's editor Dan Didio wanted to kill off Dick Grayson? What if the death of Bruce was a set up to do just that? Something to think about.
"Now Season one is 16 issues, and then there's Season two," he explained. "It changes again obviously once
Bruce comes back, and we start with a different sort of dynamic...I was going to leave after issue #13, then I came up with an idea which seemed fun to do. So the Batman universe status quo changes again dramatically after #16, but I don't want to say any more than that. Anything else I say will reveal too much about where we're going."