The Magnificence and Terror of Dr. Hurt.

For anyone keeping up with the main title Dr. Hurt is a well known figure and while his exit from the current story was rather anti climatic there remains a sense of mystic and terror around the character that even the Joker’s banana peel could not shake from him. But to properly understand what makes this character so frightening one must first understand a bit about Morrion’s style and philosophy on comic book writing.

Morrison writes as if the characters are in fact alive. In his documentary “Talking with Gods” he speaks on how at times he feels as if he is channeling the character and they are speaking to him. Morrison views these characters as living entities within our world as well as living within the pages of a comic. He often plays with this idea and has characters find themselves in situations where their realities intertwine with our own and the characters become aware of how we view their world and often shocked by the reveal. Zatanna in Seven Soldiers, Tim Drake in Return of Bruce Wayne, Superman in Superman Beyond, Jack Frost in The Invisibles, even as far back as Animal Man has Morrison played with the idea of these two worlds fluctuating and becoming aware of each other.

And it is with that understanding of comics that Morrison often shares and explains to us through his work that the character and plans of doctor Hurt suddenly become much more frightening and much more powerful. Doctor Hurt’s plan was to ruin the legacy of Batman in Batman RIP, he does this because he believes that in order to summon Barbatos he must offer it a soul to feast on and that the soul only exist so long as the legacy of a person does. Thus the destruction of a person's legacy or memory is the destruction of their soul.

Now to do this Hurt not only planned to have Thomas, Martha, and Bruce killed but to destroy their past history and completely alter it so that the family was nothing more than drug addicted sex lunatics. What is interesting about this plan is that it took not only within the story but in our world as well. Even up until Batman and Robin I can recall people asking on message boards or in comic shops whether or not these allegations against the Waynes might be true. Hurt’s identity was even speculated to be the revival of the late Thomas Wayne who was something completely different than every classic interpretation of the character has made him to be. So if the entire character of the Wayne family can be changed by a few words in a book what about Batman?

Readers of RIP will remember that one of the theories up until the near end was that Bruce himself was the Black Glove. Tim Drake questions in two issues Bruce’s sanity as well as Jezebel Jet having a scene devoted to asking Bruce the very questions some readers were asking. That scene takes on new meaning after the reveal of Jet to be a member of the Black Glove. Obviously she knew the answers to what she was asking Bruce so the question becomes why she is asking these things. Could it be these nudges were not meant for Bruce alone but also for us? Consider this, the debate over Batman’s sanity has been raised more and more in recent history with threads popping up around the message boards asking similar questions like Jet did.

And as the story unfolds even more lines change from their first meanings. In the story while building up to RIP Bruce asks himself about “an ultimate villain out there, unseen… an absolute mastermind, closing in for the kill… invisible, implacable foe who’d calculate my every weakness… who had access to allies, weapons and tactics I couldn’t imagine. An Adversary whose plots and grand designs were so vast, so elaborate, that they went unnoticed until it was too late.”

The stories following would have us believe this was about Hurt and later Darkseid but is it? What does Hurt or Darkseid ever use that Bruce would not have some awareness of? Hurt’s attacks at first glance in RIP are nothing short of average super villain tactics. The Hyper-fauna can even be interpreted into a product of the Omega Sanction and being the force behind what makes it so terrible for those that experience it. So these thoughts by Bruce while at the mercy of Lane don’t quite fit with the literal telling of the story. So what are they then?

My idea, the readers. As I explained Morrison views these characters as being alive. They have essences within our world that are a part of their very own legacy. Everything they have ever done or been printed as doing is always transpiring though the pages of past comics and become intertwined with our understandings and beliefs in these characters. This is why to Morrison, everything is in continuity. For Hurt’s plan to work, for him to ruin the legacy and feed the soul of Batman to Barbatos he would need to sway the minds of readers as well as the characters within the comics pages. The terror and power of Hurt comes from that he not only attacked Batman himself, but through us as well and had he succeeded, had his plan been successful, we would no view Batman the same way we do now.

As a bit of a disclaimer though I offer this idea only as such, an idea. The arguments presented are weak and rely on speculative notions that cannot be fully confirmed within the pages or by the author. However I do believe this to be in the same vein as much of Morrison’s work. You don’t have to take this theory to heart of believe it to be the proper interpretation of the character, but do give it some thought the next time you reread RIP.

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6 Comments
Posted by ArdennesKorps

I like your idea) I think so too that he can't just die in batman and robin #16. Joker can only slow he\it down for some time. Hurt is not human, so he can't die this way. Oh and I think one more idea, why Hurt team-ups with Professor Pyg, Pyg's druggs, well, when they infected people... it looks alike Anti-Life kinda, just look at those Dollotrons and at pages of Final Crisis. I am a hell of sure that we'll se Hurt in Story ark - "Batman Inc R.I.P." "Death of Bruce Wayne" or something like that. I can't undestand just one thing about Hurt, why does not he use all of Omega-Adapter Powers!?!?! He is possessed by Adapter or not after all! bruce says in Batman - The Return of Bruce Wayne №6 - "... Darkseid trying too... incarnate... in Hurt... In the Doctor..." So I think Hurt\Adapter will return soooooooooooooooo much angry.
So much sorry for all of these grammatic mistakes, I don't know English well, Understanding is better than speaking.

Posted by GamiSB
@ArdennesKorps:  
 

 First off thanks for reading and I'm glad you liked the idea. Looking back now I'm certain that something along the liens of what I wrote up was an intended , maybe not as far as an explanation of what happened but at least something Morrison was playing with while writing. 

 As for your question about the Hyper-Adapter, it's a bit of a misreading that Hurt was possessed by it, what Bruce actually says is that Hurt was infected by it. We see what a full possession by the HA looks like in Return of Bruce Wayne issue 6 and Hurt never displays anything like that, nor does he show any of the signs that Darkseid was possessing him like Turpin does in Final Crisis. So what was happening there is just the HA marked Hurt and gave him a bit of knowledge so that later if everything went well enough Darkseid could come along and reincarnate himself into Hurt. 

 Will we see Hurt again? I hope not because I think the way it's been left is fitting for a Batman title, but if anyone were to bring him back it must be Morrison, no one else will do Hurt justice.
Posted by ArdennesKorps

Then, where did HA Disappeared since 1765? I think it's kinda stupid to wait for some reason since 1765 and do nothing. HA said it itself in batman - The Return of Bruce Wayne №6 - "...take control... adapt.... return... destroy". On Last Pages of Batman - The Return of bruce Wayne №4, we see that when Hurt look at Bruce and two others, I mean he saw two skeletons, but in Bruce he saw Barbatos\HA and says "... Are you one too?" I mean it looks like that they were both possessed by HA or something like that at this moment.

Posted by GamiSB
@ArdennesKorps:  
 
The HA follows this trail; it begins at the start of time with Bruce after Darkseid unleashes it. It then follows him into the Puritan era where Bruce comes in contact with it and fights it off. Following this defeat it travels to the 18th century where it comes into contact with Hurt and lays the ground work for Darkseid's contingency plan and RIP, next we see it in the 1950s where it travels with Bruce through Professor Nichols time machine to Vanishing Point, there if posses Bruce and goes back to the 21st century where the JLA defeats it and Superman sends it back in time, on the trip back it runs into Grayson while he is searching the tunnels under Wayne Manor who weakens it further after fighting and finally it arrives back 10k BCE where Vandal Savage  kills it. 
  
Keep in mind that this thing can also leap through time so it's never just sitting around and waiting for Bruce to show up, it is traveling with Bruce. What the HA says in RoBW6 is talking about what it's going to do with Bruce, it needed to take control of him and use him to destroy the 21st century. This is what Superman tries to explain to Bruce in RoBW2.  
 
Also in RoBW4 that isn't Hurt that sees the two skeletons. I'd have to go back and look in the single issues because I remember thinking that the first time reading it thought the same but in the Hardcover edition it was clearer to me that it's actually Savage while doped up on Opium that looks up at Alan and Cathrine Wayne and see's them as two bat like skeleton creatures. This is a throw back to the first issue where Savage is beaten by Bruce dressed in the skin of Barbatos.
 
Bottom line though, Hurt wasn't ever possessed, only infected.
Posted by ArdennesKorps

I have a question. Are Hyper-Adapter and Hunter-Killer the same thing? And how it will be right "Hyper" or "Omega" Adapter? Because I see both variants, for example In BaR #16 it called itself Omega Adapter.
And I don't  think that Savage killed it, how could Savage with the spear kill HA with the Archivist suit, this is not possible. In RoBW4 I still think that was Hurt, he used Drugs too in his expiriments, and if he was infected by HA, why couldn't he see Bruce as Bat-Creature but Cathrine and Alan just as Human-Skeletons. Well, that might be Savage who saw this. But what Hurt's words mean? "Are you one too?"  think he somehow feels or saw HA in Bruce.
 
And one more question, in Hurt's biography I saw this.

« Also during this time, Hurt serves as the warden at Willowood Military Asylum, a military psychiatric hospital that serves as Gotham's source of psychiatric help after Arkham Asylum had closed down decades before. Nichols works for him. A trophy boomerang in his office may hint that he was the Boomerang Killer from a pre-Crisis story. »

 Do you know what is that mysterious Hurt's Appearance as Boomerang-Kller?
Posted by GamiSB
@ArdennesKorps:  
 
Hyper-Adapter, Hunter Killer, Omega Adapter, Hyper fauna, "Batbatos" they are all the same. Just different names, except that Barbatos was actually a title meant for Bruce but Hurt misunderstood and called the HA that.
 
Savage killed the HA, as to how remember that it was just weakened by the JLA, then Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern all the hard hitters took some swings at it and then sent it back in time only to run into Grayson. He also did a number on it and finally arrives in front of Savage and his Blood tribe. In issue 6 we clearly see that the HA is alive as a Bat in 10k BCE but as we know from issue 1 that same bat ends up skinned and placed on top of a stake for Bruce to later use to attack Savage.
  
I'll have to dig up issue 4 from my box which may take awhile but I am fairly certain that it is Savage that seems the skeleton's and bat not Hurt. Hurt's comment has always been a sort of mystery though, it could be reference to Bruce being another member of the Bat-people tribe or maybe as you say. I'll have to go back and look to be sure sense it's been awhile and I was hoping to read Final Crisis again before hand.
 
I don't recall a boomerang in that scene and Morrison never plays up that idea at all in any of his books from what I can tell.  The thing might be symbolic of Bruce and Hurt's relationship sense they first tangled in the present and now Hurt's coming around in the past to mess with Bruce (although unknowingly). The one little back piece of history we do get though is Hurt's trip to Liverpool during which Jack the Ripper started killing women but the news about a boomerang is new to me. I'll take a look for it when I check issue 4 again.