BATMAN RIP DELUXE EDITION HC
What did the
'Death is not the worst that can happen to men' (Plato)
One of the things that struck me on re-reading RIP is this. This was never truely about the death of Batman. Oh but there is a death eventually of a character, but not the physical death by any means. This storyline, which has been building up since the very first issue by Morrison, is about the Death of Batman mentally.
Over the course of Morrison's run, he has made Bruce go threw all types of mental fatigue. Whether it by a focusing on a child, or by having three 'visions' of Batmen following him; all of these storylines end up here to RIP. The Black Glove did to Batman that not even the Joker could do; make a man so tired he can easily go insane. After a few surprise attacks and some minor drugging, Bruce ends up going into his Zurr-En-Arrh phase.
Here, this is where the confusion lies with many readers (including myself) on what the point of Zurr-En-Arrh Batman. To me, this phase of Batman is what could've been Bruce if he never trained to be more calm and professional. For a man who has faced many thugs, supervillains, and even aliens; it's amazing to think Bruce never got this far mentally in life. With no grasp of sanity, the title goes into a clusterfuck of fantasy. We cant trust in anything we read on paper and the only smart person in the room is Bat-mite....who doesnt even exist in the first place.
What this comic also provides is better insight to the villains. The Black Glove represents evil to the core. Gambling, murder, Victorian era garb....it's all around us on how evil they are. But once the Joker goes into the fray, then we realise that we know physical evil; but we dont know how mentally evil you can get. The Joker is the wild card, we dont know who he is siding with and by the end of the tale; Joker realises how much fate plays apart into everyone's life.
Why? Why after seeing all the Morrison haters, and all the negative reviews, and the basic confusion on the majority of the fans....Why do I love this story? Well it's simple for me at least; this is the most well written story I have read since Watchmen. Morrison from the start made sure all the factors from previous arcs would go into this storyline. He uses symbolism, intellectual insight, and just tries new things with storytelling in this arc. Every moment in this is important, even the stuff with Bat-mite and the homeless man early one is important to this story. All of this set-ups to the second biggest message in this run: Batman is, and always will be the World's Greatest Detective.
Even when Bruce Wayne dies mentally, Batman will never die. Sort of how Walter Kovacs says Rorschach is his true self, there is no Bruce Wayne only Batman. If anything, this arc shows how Bruce Wayne has to die in order for Batman to go on. Bruce Wayne might not be able to take the abuse the Black Glove gives him in this; but Batman is already two steps ahead of everyone else. That final issue where we see Batman dig himself out of the grave, to me, gives off that symbolism I was mentioning. Bruce Wayne, or at least the soul of Bruce Wayne, is gone....only Batman gets out.
So am I a Morrison apologist? Yes. But I only defend him because he provides a richer storytelling method then most writers. Maybe this is crazy to think, but after Watchmen and Kingdom Come....this might be my most favorite story I ever read in a comic. Although we get to see the true 'death' of Batman in Final Crisis....this is where you'll see the true death of Bruce Wayne, mind and body.
Art: 5 - Excellent