Night: Batman #2
writer: Peter J. Tomasi
artists: Adrian Syaf and John Dell
Reading this issue brings home how cookie-cutter
superhero motivations have become. Better armchair psychologists
than I could explain Freudian or Jungian impulses that boil
down to, as Scott Kurtz once put it in an on-line Batman
story, "MY PARENTS ARE DEAD!"
Think I'm shooting in the dark here? Geoff
Johns reinvigorated/recreated the motivations of Hal Jordan
and Barry Allen by doing what? Retconning a dead parent.
In fact, Barry now carries the guilt of believing that his
father was wrongly incarcerated for the murder of his mother.
That beacon of hope and light has an even more screwed up
motivation than Bruce Wayne, if you think about it too much.
But if sales are any indication, we eat it up.
Yet it's kind of odd to process that every
single male member of the Batman Family has that drive.
Granted, we know that Damian Wayne will sooner or later
be reunited with his presumed dead father, but right now,
he's the only person who has worn the mantle of Robin with
a living parent. Even Jason Todd, not appearing in this
issue, lost both parents on his way to becoming Batman's
As for those who do appear here, we've
got a grotesque family reunion here. The Flying Graysons
take their name to a whole new level of meaning with their
Black Lantern rings, and though it doesn't seem that long
ago that Tim Drake would have done anything to see his parents
again, he's sorry he ever wished it.
Luckily at least one Batfamily member has
living parents; Barbara Gordon cannot be attacked by the
actualization of survivor's guilt. She and her father take
a lone stand against an onslaught of undead villains, one
of which again raises the question of what exactly the Black
Moreso than the main series, Blackest
Night: Batman keeps accidentally delving into their
nature. In the first issue, it becomes clear that no matter
what Geoff Johns thinks, at least one writer believes that
the Black Lanterns are not literally the resurrection
of dead DC characters. Boston Brand aka Deadman has
allied himself with the Batfamily, possessing characters
and helping them run from the Black Lanterns - which makes
for a great sequence with the Gordons. However, there's
also a Black Lantern version of Deadman running around.
Here, too, is a Black Lantern Ventriloquist,
with several avatars of Scarface. The thing sticking in
my craw here is that Scarface isn't quite dead and isn't
quite alive - and if you're arguing with me that he's just
a wooden dummy anyway, then you haven't been keeping up.
There's powerful magic in that doll, and even Zatanna doesn't
Lest anybody think I'm nitpicking, let
me get on the record that the Blackest Night crossovers
have so far been a surprise to me for not being a
waste of money. Tomasi is a good writer, solid with both
characterization and pacing. A lot happens here, and he
can get into the heads of his heroes in a way that the main
book, with its more epic scope, simply can't as a matter
That said, here's my final question raised
with this book - unlike other crossovers where reality just
sort of rights itself at the end of the Crisis, Blackest
Night sets up a disturbing status quo that just can't
be satisfyingly undone. Reading the main book, I thought
Black Lanterns were only going after superheroes and villains;
here, they're taking out cops. And if they're taking out
cops, they're really taking out everybody.
Zombie movies end without really exploring
the aftermath; what kind of world is left after the dead
rose and you got rid of them? It's hard to imagine that
after this event, you wouldn't have a severely depopulated
Earth with a majority of the population suffering from post-traumatic
stress disorder. At the LEAST.
You could wish it away - or perhaps hope
it away - but that seems more and more like a cheat as the
stakes get higher and higher. So what is DC going to do,
except perhaps create a lot more superheroes with so many
ordinary citizens suffering the devastating loss of their
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