The Great Morrison Bat Study #1: Final Crisis #6, 52 #30

52 30

My rereading of Grant Morrison‘s substantial Batman epic begins with two prologue issues that some may not even place within his Batman story proper: Final Crisis #6 and 52 #30. Both of these issues come from DC “event series” and at first glance have more to do with whatever epic saga they’re a part of than any Batman story. Or do they?

The relevance of Final Crisis #6 to Morrison’s larger Batman story is obvious: this is the book where Darkseid “kills” Batman, tossing him into the time-stream with his Omega Sanction. Return of Bruce Wayne #6 shows us that 52 #30 is also essential reading, I think, for it hearkens back to Bruce Wayne’s experience in the desert with the Cult of 10-Eyed Men which forms the centerpiece of this issue. As it’s also scripted by Morrison (at least in part) and as it was released around the same time Grant started writing Batman, I think we ought to consider what it has to say about the character as well.

Chronologically, 52 #30 occurs before Grant’s Batman & Son arc, his first on Batman. Final Crisis #6 takes place roughly in the middle of the whole thing, but because Batman’s defeat of Darkseid sets off so much of Morrison’s story (and if you believe me, pretty much everything in Batman’s life), I thought it would be cool to read it first. We’ll eventually get around to covering its events again in more detail thanks to Batman #682-683 and #701-702 anyway. I think of Final Crisis #6 as more of a cacophonous teaser of Batman’s misery to come.

So here’s some random notes from my investigation into these tastes of what will be:

Final Crisis #6:
- I like that this book starts in the future. It sets us up for the massive time-hopping that’s to come.
-When he’s telling Mr. Terrific how to defeat Darkseid’s anti-life equation, Mr. Miracle makes a reference to the symbol he’s drawn on his face for protection, which he said was found, in part, in cave paintings. Obviously cave paintings become important later in Return of Bruce Wayne later… hmm.
- The new Sonny Sumo explains who he is: “[The original] Sonny Sumo went back in time and died a happy man in feudal Japan. I stumbled through a hole in my life, into his life.” Mr. Miracle explains that this Sonny is from a “lateral” universe. That’s interesting for two reasons. 1) The original Sonny was trapped in feudal Japan by Darkseid’s Omega Sanction (see: The Forever People #4). 2) There’s a lot of talk about “falling through holes” and how it relates to Darkseid’s Sanction in Return of Bruce Wayne. Might Sonny Sumo be a harbinger of what awaits Bruce?
- Darkseid tells Batman that his son Orion, whom he defeated in battle via the Omega Sanction, was “splintered like light through a prism in an infinite number of deaths.” Yet this isn’t what happens to Batman. Or is it?
- I feel Batman’s use of the gun to bring down Darkseid is very important. “A gun and a bullet, Darkseid. It was your idea.” If I’m correct that Batman’s defeat of Darkseid basically sets everything into motion, even Batman’s very creation (see RoBW #6), well… the fact that it all begins with Batman wielding a gun is pretty interesting, isn’t it?
- Darkseid kindly describes the Omega Sanction for us again: “the death that is life.”
- It’s all about Batman’s cocky-ass “gotcha,” isn’t it?
- In an unrelated scene, Metron foresees the inception of the fifth world, “the age of men as gods.” Morrison has come under critical fire before for writing Batman as a god. I wonder if Metron’s comment means anything here.

52 #30:
-The background for this issue: Bruce, feeling like he’s lost his drive after the events of Infinite Crisis, recreates his original journey of becoming Batman with the hope of excising his demons. Although Dick and Tim leave with him, he soon ditches them to confront the Cult of 10-Eyed Men, who claim to literally cut out one’s demons.
- Check out the opening pages here: Dick’s talking about the early days of the Batman & Robin team. “Those were pretty colorful years in Gotham,” he says, describing their more lighthearted nature. But then: “Little by little, everything he’d built started to crumble.” This mirrors the progression of Batman comics as lighthearted fun in the ’40s to the dark and brooding character of the last few decades. But doesn’t it also tie in to Darkseid’s curse? The entity Darkseid set on Batman, after all, was said to grow stronger as time went on. Might it not be that entity that caused Batman’s life to grow worse and worse? “It’s too much for any man, even the strongest” Dick says again. Regardless of whether or not you believe what I’m saying about Darkseid, the idea that Dick Grayson served to lighten Bruce up seems pretty crucial to Morrison’s run, as is the idea that Bruce should not be alone.
- Great line: Tim thinks it’s “obvious” that Bruce wants him and Dick to be the new Batman & Robin team. It didn’t quite work out that way, did it?
- Halfway through this issue Dick abandons his quest with Bruce to return to Gotham and keep it safe. Even then, he made the call to jump into Bruce’s shoes when necessary.
- A major point of frustration for me: let’s talk about these 10-Eyed Men. They’re shown cutting out Bruce’s demons, and he says they’re successful. But we know from RoBW that’s definitely not the case; Batman’s “demons” continue to follow him around. In fact I almost feel RoBW #6 implied that those men were aligned with Darkseid. Is that true? Did their desert ritual only further the dark god’s hold on Bruce? Or did they fail and Bruce was mistaken? I like the first interpretation a lot more, but chances are the actual answer is something between the two of those that I haven’t considered yet. Any ideas?

That’s all I’ve got for now. Up next: Batman & Son!

More GMBS here:
GMBS #9
GMBS #8
GMBS #7
GMBS #6
GMBS #5
GMBS #4
GMBS #3
GMBS #2
GMBS #1
GMBS #0

tags: batman, gmbs, grant morrison

  • Rebel Rikki

    Here’s something else about 52 #30 I just realized: the issue cuts between scenes of Bruce in the desert and scenes of Batwoman in Gotham as she fights Bruno Manheim’s Religion of Crime. Readers of 52 will remember that Bruno and his buddies were trying to make the world a worse place to prepare for the coming of Darkseid on Earth, which wouldn’t happen til Final Crisis. Thus, these two issues share a bigger bond than I thought, and Darkseid’s presence makes itself known in the strangest of places.

  • http://andrewstamm.com Andrew

    The 10-eyed men—or rather one of them—do return in a later issue… the one right before R.I.P. begins, but I’m not sure if there’s too much significance to that. Having gone back to pick up 52 #30, I was expecting it to touch on Bruce’s Thogal ritual that gets mentioned a lot in the leadup to R.I.P.… any idea in what issue that ritual takes place?

  • http://nerdynothings.com Rebel Rikki

    I believe Thogal is what that ordeal in the desert is called. I didn’t use it in this post because they don’t actually refer to it as that within the comic… but yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s what they’re talking about.

    I completely forgot the 10-Eyed Men come back later. Thanks for that heads-up.

  • Akram

    I think that Bruce was brought to believe that the ten eyed men helped him. As a matter of fact, it is mentionned many times in the storyline of the three Batmen that Bruce forgot many things he experienced or like he said, was made to believe they didn’t even happen.

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