Morrison’s Batman lives. It runs, it hurts, it gets sick, it heals. You can see the birth there, in those bits of 52. You can find it learning how to breath, death becoming a second motion – little deaths becoming a pattern of the world they live in. Batman is dying again and again, little deaths until the end with the 13th issue of Inc. But Batman never dies. Batman and Robin never die. We’ve been graced with an unkillable mortal and he has graced up with his son and so we look at the future before us.
It began in a cave, it ended in a cave. Back when Batman sought to exercise his demons and cure himself through isolation. the end of a breath in that cave, a look back to another breath in the past.
We return to Gotham and Batman dies again. More Batman piling up. More breathes of this beast and then in the end we notice this cycle of breathing gets slower. This chain we had, this part of natural life – of holes being opened and closed vanishes. We lose Batman. Batman appears false again and again, his son and his clone and his ancestor all seeking to continue the nature of the bat breathing in and out on loop because Batman never dies. Batman and Robin never die.
The true sons take over and we are faced with the same world returning. Those villains who’d been dealt with in the beginning are gone, but replaced. New faces joined, new viruses attempting to kill the creature as it breathes and survives. A hiccup comes and then another and another. The virus turns to an antibody, the false breath ends but then the gasp and the system recorrects itself and the body seeks to become preventative.
Bigger gasps of air take over the creature. It taxes its lungs and organs til the learn to breath with it. It’s breathing more, moving more, living more and expanding and it stares out. It is struggling, caught within something deeper that we weren’t expecting and before we see this net the world ends.
The other breaths take place. The creature has to restart, beaten, forgetting what it is, as though there was only one beast. Only one spawn from the great ideal.
And then the hero returns lumbering, drugged, confused and uncertain of where it is. Patches of its fur have been torn, it’s hide no longer a tapestry but almost some moth eaten rug. But it continues to fight the chain and the pieces choke, unfeeling, till the points of contact that was there – that was always there, is lost. The beast falls to the ground and closes it’s eyes.
Breathing begins again for the final fight. The other beasts shudder over their lost breath and after a moment of respite it all ends. A cough, a virus lets the beast slip its chains and go gently into the night be be eaten by its brothers as it feasted before.
And so went Morrison’s Batman starting so long ago, a lumbering beast, intent with what it needed, hurting itself, letting itself get caught. a series of breaths that only served to let it live long enough to die.
It isn’t a puppy, trained for you to love, but it was more defined than some mad wolf. The beast was noble and wild with it’s own path and I doubt we’ll see one like it for a while.