By GamiSB 6 Comments
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.