By FadeToBlackBolt 34 Comments
I don't think this is the only way to view Morrison's Batman, in fact I'm not even endorsing this theory, this is just some stuff I thought up while I was mowing the lawn and mulling Batman Inc over. If you enjoy it; great, if not; no harm, no foul :)
A common view of Batman Inc is that Morrison is using the symbol and mythos behind the "Bat" concept to show that Batman is not just one man, and is in fact a legacy all its own, leaving the audience with the idea that Batman isn't just Bruce Wayne. This contention however, is not necessarily accurate. It is important to note that Bruce Wayne is the creator of Batman, the symbol and the ideal. Batman is a concept of a masked human, using ingenuity, intelligence and physical prowess using fear as a means of dispensing non-lethal vigilante justice. In this respect, Batman can be anyone capable of addressing the above criteria, however, Morrison's Batman also lends itself to another interpretation; Bruce Wayne is not Batman.
He is the Bat-God.
"Parting is such sweet sorrow, dearest. Still, you can't say we didn't show you a good time. Enjoy yourself out there... in the asylum. Just don't forget -- if it ever gets too tough... there's always a place for you here." - The Joker.
The term "Bat-God" is used in most fan-circles in a snide manner regarding Bruce Wayne's ability to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds. But Morrison, as he is prone to do, has been building on this idea for some time; in Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth; Bruce journeys through a hell while being assaulted both physically and psychologically. Eventually, he is pierced through the left side with a spear by a monstrous creature (Killer Croc), as well as having his palms cut resembling stigmata, and then reaches his destination worn and damaged. Bruce's struggle is juxtaposed with the agony Jesus Christ suffered (as is evident when a tired Bruce leans against a painting of Christ), and also the human temptations He encountered. Bruce is offered a reprieve from this Hell by the Joker, to accept madness and insanity and leave at home with the inmates of Arkham.
In this regard, Bruce is offered a place on a lower plane if he accepts an easier life of Insanity (taking the place of Sin as a concept for Jesus). Jesus could have remained unmolested on the Earthly plane had he not confessed himself as the Son of God and been without sin. Bruce is essentially offered freedom from pain and despair, if he renounces his ideals. But he does not do so, he continues as a Knight of Faith, much in the vain of Abraham of the Old Testament. He continues on in his quest, relying solely on his Faith in himself and the good inherent in humanity to see him through. His Faith is ultimately rewarded as Two-Face, despite all apparent reason to do the contrary, allows Bruce to leave. Bruce, much like Abraham, had his Faith rewarded.
"I have fouled Paradise beyond repair and broken in the mire the shining cities of the Gods! I have won! Is this vanity? Then I will remake the entire universe in the image of my soul, Desaad. And when at last I turn to look upon the eternal desolation I have wrought...I will see Darkseid, as in a mirror....and know what fear is." - Darkseid
This leads to the next area for examination; the Symbol of the Bat. Much as the crucifix is the symbol for the Christian Faith, the Bat has become the symbol for the philosophy of Bruce Wayne. With regard to this symbol, Bruce eventually uses it to destroy the embodiment of Sin himself; Darkseid. Much as Jesus died on the Cross for the
sins of humanity, the Bat strikes down the evil before him and is sentenced to "the life that is death". Darkseid had become all humanity, and it wallowed without a consciousness within his Unholy Church.
Batman, using the weapon fueled by the gods themselves, stands before Evil incarnate, and kills it, ultimately "dying" himself. Bruce sacrifices his own "life" in order to rid humanity and the world of Sin.
And much like Jesus himself, Bruce is "resurrected", and immediately expels the taint of the evil from his body; effectively returning to him to purity; a pure Bat. Bruce's resurrection is no small feat, he travels throughout human history; confronting evil and surviving as he is further solidified as the Ultimate Human; a being beyond regular humanity, as a being to aspire to.
"Did I finally reach the limits of reason? And find the Devil waiting? And was that fear in his eye?" - Batman.
Before encountering Sin/Evil, Bruce battled the "Devil", Doctor Hurt. Besting Hurt the first time, Bruce is cursed and destined to die the next time he adopts the symbol of the Bat. However, Hurt returns and wreaks havoc on Gotham "possessing" most of its citizens with a "plague". The Devil sends Gotham into Rapture, the Holy are safe in their Heaven (the Watchtower, where their Savior is risen again). Eventually, Hurt defeats Batman (Dick Grayson) and Robin (Damian Wayne), Emissaries of the Bat, only to lose when the seemingly immortal force of good conquers the Devil himself. Rising from the depths, not alone, with a soon-to-have Holy Army of Batmen (Inc), Bruce Wayne returns to combat evil and the Devil, and when he does so; what is he called?
The creator of a Symbol; the Commander of a Holy Army, a sacrificial being that destroyed Sin, the incorruptible warrior, the enemy of the Devil himself; Bruce Wayne has become more than the Batman, he is the Bat-God.
And what does the Bat say to the Devil?