Did Talia al Ghul Assault Batman in BATMAN INC.?

Tarantula forces herself on Nightwing

The topic of rape and sexual assault came up in a recent podcast on Comic Vine. In the discussion, the scene from NIGHTWING #93 where Tarantula took advantage of an injured Nightwing to force herself on him right in the middle of the rain soaked streets was mentioned. Being confident and sexually aggressive is fine for a woman, but Tarantula didn't just cross the line. She crossed it and continued running for a quarter mile. "Don't touch me." is a pretty obvious "No". Devin Grayson, the author at the time, attempted to try and reassure everyone when she said,

" I never used the word 'rape,' I just said it was nonconsensual. "

Really, Grayson, you want to split that hair? Well, here is the definition of "rape" by Merriam-Webster:

" An unlawful sexual activity and usually sexual intercourse carried out forcibly or under threat of injury against the will usually of a female or with a person who is beneath a certain age or incapable of valid consent. "

The topic of men being the victim of sexual assault is something that often gets passed on. Probably becasue society still holds this image of men being the sexually aggressive caveman. Even the dictionary definition still specifies gender, but this isn't a discussion of equality. Rape in media can be just an incredibly uncomfortable topic. I really enjoyed the movie THE CROW, but I can hardly ever watch it becasue of that extremely graphic gang rape scene and how if keeps appearing in flashbacks. It makes my skin crawl.

This leads up to the topic at hand. It was hearing the discussion on the Comic Vine's podcast that triggered my memory of a scene from BATMAN INCORPORATED #2. I never read this series. I just remembered this scene of Talia drugging Bruce being talked about on a previous CV podcast (yeah, I remember a lot of things). Some time after Batman beats up Ra's, Bruce and Talia are seen in a room together kissing. It's an awkward enough scene to immediately go from beating up a guy to sleeping with his daughter.

BATMAN INCORPORATED #2 - Talia drugs Bruce

As you can see, an apparent love potion has been slipped into Bruce's drink - as conveniently highlighted by the puff of smoke in the shape of a heart. Most likely a series of lurid events continues into the night. The next morning Talia starts talking about how their child will be the new Alexander of the world. This shows Bruce being surprised that something must have been slipped into his drink. The context as it's shown was apparently to make him more pliable and more fertile so she could have his child.

Many may try and play this off as not that big a deal, but would you say the same thing about this situation if the gender roles were reversed? Let's say a guy has a girl who is willing to sleep with him, but he decides to slip something into her drink without her knowledge that would make her more open to suggestion. All for the goal of getting her pregnant with his child, and not ever telling her until the next morning what he had done. Even if she was willing to have intercourse, she never consented to being drugged. To any women reading this, how would you feel if some guy told you the morning after that he had put a drug in your drink? I would think pissed off and scared would be an understatement, What would you define this as?

I don't believe I've heard of any comments from Grant Morrison about this scene. It could very much be a scene that comes off in way he didn't intend. Even Devin Grayson never seemed to realize she didn't just write a sex scene. It's drugging Bruce that seems over the top here. This isn't as disturbing as what Tarantula did, but it still isn't right to slip other people drugs. This appears like an assault to me.

While we're on the topic. I wonder if the Nightwing scene even happened in the post New 52 reboot? What are your thoughts?

-Kristoffer Remmell (FoxxFireArt) is a freelance graphic artist, writer, and over all mystery geek.- Follow for news updates: @ FoxxFireArt

8 Comments
8 Comments
Posted by Jorgevy

I agree with the double standard part. But I think the Bruce scene might have just been an error on the artist/writer's part, it probably didn't go as they planned, but it does hint at some kind of weird roffie stuff

Posted by FoxxFireArt

@Jorgevy:

That's possible, but then why show her drugging him at all?

Posted by Jorgevy

@FoxxFireArt: yeah, no idea. Maybe some fertility thing? to make sure she would get pregnant? I donno, it's just weird

Posted by sinnersheart

It's absolutely not okay. Morrison wrote this "date rape" element in in Batman & Son. Quote Morrison, though “For a long time, [DC] said [Son of the Demon] was out of continuity. Now it’s just kind of out of continuity. I didn’t actually read it before I started writing this. I messed up a lot of details, like Batman wasn’t drugged when he was having sex with Talia and it didn’t take place in the desert. I was relying on shaky memories. But now we have this new “Superboy punch” continuity [after Superboy Prime attacked the fabric of the universe during Infinite Crisis]. People still don’t realize how important that single punch was to cover everyone’s ass.”

What does he do? He reinstates it in Batman Inc. I, being a huge fan of Talia, am very upset about how she's been treated under Morrison's pen. In the original story that this takes elements from, Talia has kissed Bruce with an antidote to save him from a scorpion's sting. And in Batman Inc. #2, it's been changed to this weird love potion. Morrison sucked all of the love from their relationship by making it arguably one-sided, if that. It's creepy and has destroyed, in my opinion, their love story. I'm so incredibly bothered by this inconsistency between what's written and what's said. Batman Inc. #2 disappointed me on a lot of levels. It was supposedly "for the girls" but there was no depth or true exploration of Talia's character and he reinstated this awful, awful drugged sex moment. It kills me that Morrison COULD justify how he writes Talia - he could get into her head and explain it with say, Death and the Maidens - but he didn't even read Son of the Demon (which is such a fantastic story) before writing something based on it. She's just been used thus far as a flat tool to suit whatever he wants for his plot.

Drugging Bruce was out-of-character when lined up with Talia's character - she does love him, if also conflicted - especially Talia in the issues Morrison was trying to call back to. Classic Talia, before Death and the Maidens. If say, Ra's had slipped Bruce something to her the heir he wants, unbeknownst to both of them - that could have worked. This does not.

Not only is it creepy and most definitely date rape, it's entirely out-of-character for Talia.

Edited by LightningTiger2190

I didn't read the scene as rape. It was more of she drugged him enough not to let him wrap it up. The first panel clearly shows them about to sleep together and both drinks look untouched. Bruce probably drank it a few moments later. I believe he had every intention of sleeping with her just not getting her pregnant. They are in bed together naked. Bruce had no problems with the situation until the pregnancy part. He must have been thinking to himself " the only way I could forget the glove is if I'm drugged "

So she didn't Rape him. She tried to trap him, except she tried to trap the worlds best escape artist...

Posted by YMCMB

Morrison didn't ever read Son of the Demon, or really understand Bruce and Talia's former relationship when he wrote Batman & Son, and probably still hasn't. I'd prefer to think of this scene as the drink just making Bruce absent-minded enough to hit it raw, as the Leviathan story works a lot better if Bruce and Talia really did love each other at point (like in Son of the Demon) as opposed to Talia just being some crazy obsessed chick.

Posted by Crom-Cruach

This scene is disgusting and almost every Talia appearance since Death and the Maiden has been just insulting to the great character created by O'Neil.

Posted by Jnr6Lil

It's actually easy for men to be sexually assaulted, Men feel they have to take it since it would be wrong to fight back against a women.