Monday, December 22, 2008

Batman #683

Pg. 1:

This would have to be a lost moment from BATMAN: SON OF THE DEMON. As would the fourth panel on the next spread. Oh, Bruce, you hairy-chested love god.

Pp. 2-3:

"What The Butler Saw" is probably best known now as the title of a Joe Orton play, but it's a commonplace phrase dating to the early 20th century--one might have seen it, for instance, in this not-suitable-for-work machine. Appropriately enough for the salacious glimpse at the conception of Damian here.

This spread, in general, is a tribute to the Neal Adams-drawn period of Batman. The shirtless swordfight is a commonplace of Batman/Ra's stories--BATMAN #244, for instance. The wheelchair/shark/Joker bit is from "The Joker's Five-Way Revenge," in BATMAN #251. The werewolf/Batman fight happened in BATMAN #255.

Pg. 4:

We're back in the Black Mercy-style fantasy from the end of last issue. That first fight with Man-Bat happened in DETECTIVE COMICS #400. Anyone able to name an early-'70s story in which something particularly horrible almost happened to Gordon? Alfred's still relatively young here... and why would milquetoast-Bruce be looking at "case files"? (Answer, as a commenter suggested: because, like his father, he's become a doctor.)

Pg. 5:

"Unlikely tales," you say?

"Chemical racketeers" again--this time connected to Boss Zucco from Robin's origin. Those chemicals, man, gotta watch out for them.

"I can't seem to get it out of my head": even the Kirbytech brainwashing can't expunge something this deeply rooted in Bruce's psyche.

Pg. 6:

Catwoman called herself Elva Barr in BATMAN #15, in which she enters a beauty contest for beauticians (!!). (What do you mean Batman never uses a gun? Just look at that cover.) (R.I.P. Eartha Kitt, by the way.) The glasses, as Uzumeri noted, make Bruce look awfully Clark Kent-like, but since when does he need corrective lenses? Mokkari is visible in panel 3.

Pg. 7:

We saw Bruce's mom starting to be overprotective last issue.

Pg. 8:

Might as well mention that Ace, the Bat-Hound, created by Bill Finger and Sheldon Moldoff, first appeared in 1955's BATMAN #92.

Pg. 9:

I love the intimation that if Bruce's parents had never died, he'd have eventually become Batman anyway--!

Pg. 10:

Batman/Deadshot fight from DETECTIVE COMICS #474 (thanks for this and other issue references, David U.). For a good chunk of the '70s and '80s, Bruce Wayne lived in a penthouse at the top of the Wayne Foundation building, rather than at stately Wayne Manor; this was the period after Dick Grayson went off to college (and subsequently became Nightwing) and before Jason Todd became the second Robin. And that would be Jason in the final panel, from BATMAN #408. (Created by Gerry Conway and Don Newton, he had initially appeared in BATMAN #357 and became Robin as of BATMAN #368, but had his origin revised post-Crisis to be a tire-stealing punk.) (Wow--Morrison's really making a lot of references to "Batman Year One" and the issues immediately before and after it, isn't he?)

Pg. 12:

Batman and Jason fought the Scarecrow in DETECTIVE COMICS #571. The Joker killed Jason in BATMAN #427. "My watch has stopped": recalls Groucho Marx's line "either this man is dead or my watch has stopped."

Pg. 13:

The Batman Pieta, from BATMAN #428. (And now we know why Batman put his outfit up in the Batcave: to hurt more.) The Joker bit is from THE KILLING JOKE.

Pg. 15:

Tim Drake appears as Robin in BATMAN #442 in the top panel. (And apparently I was right about what tipped Batman off about Lump/Alfred.)

I'm guessing the fight with the Mad Hatter is the one that happened right near the beginning of "Knightfall," in BATMAN #492.

Pg. 16:

The backbreaking bit is from BATMAN #497; the Azrael fight is from BATMAN #510 or thereabouts. Yes, they've done the "Bruce can't be Batman any more" story before.

Pg. 17:

I think the first panel is just a generic image from the "No Man's Land" Bat-event of 1999; can anyone provide a specific reference? The Batman/Hush fight was from BATMAN #619; Batman comforted Tim after Jack Drake's death in IDENTITY CRISIS #6.

Pg. 18:

"What do you deserve?"--a riff on INFINITE CRISIS #7.

Pg. 19:

The payoff for all the chemical mentions we've seen.

Pg. 20:

"If you flinch" etc.: from 52 #30. We saw bits of Batman's Thogal experience in BATMAN #673 and elsewhere. Damian snarking is from BATMAN #656. The "zur-en-arrh" image here is from BATMAN #680.

Pg. 21:

Very shortly after the end of BATMAN #681, and a bridge to FINAL CRISIS #1. (Bruce is cowl-less here, as he appeared when he attacked the helicopter in #681; perhaps Alfred is bringing him a backup cowl.

"The bat-costume my father wore to the masquerade": the one that inspired Bruce's own costume, first seen in DETECTIVE COMICS #235.

Back to Alfred's narration--although this seems to be the real one, as opposed to the fake Alfred from the beginning of last issue. Weirdly not-quite solicitations for this issue and last, compared to the actual content: #682 was described as "In his last hours, Alfred the Butler tells the life story of the Batman as you've never seen it before...," and this one was supposed to be "narrated by Sir Alfred Pennyworth." Maybe the "his" had a misplaced antecedent, but "sir"?

Pg. 22:

There was another scene (on pg. 16 of last issue) in which Batman put something important in his utility belt... and I am quite sure that bullet is going to turn up again.


Dennis Culver said...

Casefiles: He's a doctor like his dad in the fantasy.

Jeff said...

Thanks for the early xmas present.

"unlikely tales" link seems to be down.

Mario di Giacomo said...

I was actually under the impression he'd replaced Gordon as Commissioner...

David Uzumeri said...

The best part of the entire preview was foppish pseudo-Clark-Kent Bruce still hardwired to say "hh." whenever he's thinking.

Frank said...

The second panel on page 17 seems to be a reference to the "War Games" storyline from 2004.

waderpants said...

At the top of page 15, when we first see Tim Drake as Robin, Batman's line - "Go home to your parents. I work alone." - is a direct quote from The Incredibles, when Mr. Incredible tells a young Syndrome who wants to be his sidekick Incrediboy, "Go home to your parents, Buddy. I work alone."

Jonesy said...

"either this man is dead or my watch has stopped."

What a perfectly golden way to deal with the Jason Todd, Infinite Crisis, Superboy-Prime retcon.