“Who Burns Who” Part One
Writer: Peter J. Tomasi
Penciller: Ardian Syaf
Inker: John Dell & Vicente Cifuentes
Editor: Adam Schlagman & Eddie Berganza
While the new Batman and Robin investigate the desecration of Bruce Wayne’s grave, Deadman deals with his body’s resurrection as a Black Lantern. Deadman turns to the Dynamic Duo for help, even as Dick Grayson and Tim Drake’s parents return from the dead. Meanwhile, a swarm of Black Lantern rings find new hosts – a group of Bat-foes who would like nothing less than revenge…
Page 1: Batman III, real name Richard “Dick” Grayson. First appeared in Detective Comics #38 (as Robin), assumed the Batman identity in Batman:
Page 2: Robin V, real name Damian Wayne. First appeared (as Damian) in Batman #655, assumed the Robin identity in Batman:
“This place looks like a damn battlefield.” It was. The Flash and Green Lantern battled Black Lantern Martian Manhunter here, as seen in Green Lantern (fourth series) #44.
Black Hand dug up Bruce Wayne’s body and stole his skull in Blackest Night #0.
Page 3: Why are the bodies of Thomas and Martha Wayne dug up? Black Hand didn’t dig them up, and, thus far, they haven’t been resurrected as Black Lanterns.
“Back to the Bunker, under
Pages 4-5: Deadman, real name Boston Brand. First appeared in Strange Adventures #205. He’s…well, dead.
This scene roughly corresponds to Blackest Night #2, page 7.
Page 6: And events on this page occur immediately after Blackest Night #2, page 7. Just trying to keep a sense of continuity around here, you know?
Vignettes on this page include scenes from Deadman’s life and death, as well as glimpses of other Black Lanterns, including (bottom left corner) Hawkman and Hawkgirl, (top right corner) Superman of Earth-Two, Martian Manhunter, Elongated Man, Sue Dibny and Tempest, and (bottom right corner) Black Hand, kissing Bruce Wayne’s skull.
I talked about this in my notes for Blackest Night #2, but it bears repeating -- even though Deadman is a wandering spirit, his body has still been taken over by the Black Lantern ring. This begs the question, what exactly are the rings taking control of? Boston Brand’s body is being used, but his soul/spirit is still free to act on its own. Does that mean that the souls of the other heroes and villains that have been resurrected have nothing to do with their bodies’ corruption? Or is Deadman a special case, because he never crossed over to the beyond?
Page 8: “Opal” refers to
As seen in Blackest Night #1, the Justice League of
Page 10: Okay, a whole bunch of formerly deceased Bat-foes, now transformed into Black Lanterns. Starting from the position, and working clockwise, we have…
King Snake, real name Sir Edmund Dorrance. First appeared in Robin (mini-series) #2. Killed in Batman:
Abattoir, real name Arnold Etchison. First appeared in Detective Comics #625. Killed in Batman #508. On page 8, he is referred to as “Arnold Etchinson,” which is an error. However, upon looking up the character on several websites, he is alternately called “Etchison” and “Etchinson,” usually on the same site, so I crawled through my long boxes in the closet to determine which name was correct. Also note that his family name was “Etchison,” but his last name was changed to “Ektar” to distance him from the family.
Magpie, real name Margaret Pye. First appeared in The Man of Steel #3. Killed in Batman #651.
The next two down are the Trigger Twins II, real names Tom and Tad Trigger. First appeared in Detective Comics #667. Both were killed in Infinite Crisis #7. As to which one is Tad and which one is Tom, your guess is as good as mine.
Deacon Blackfire, full name Deacon Joseph Blackfire. First appeared in Batman: The Cult #1. Killed in Batman: The Cult #4. As for how obscure and random this character is…kudos to you, Mr. Tomasi!
The KGBeast, real name Anatoli Knyanev. First appeared in Batman #417. Killed in Detective Comics #817.
Blockbuster II, real name Roland Desmond. First appeared in Detective Comics #345, transformed into Blockbuster in Starman #9. Killed in Nightwing #93.
The Ventriloquist and Scarface, real name Arnold Wesker and…well, Scarface. First appeared in Detective Comics #583. Killed in Detective Comics #818. Note that Scarface, the ventriloquist doll, has been reanimated as a being of Black Lantern energy as opposed to a wooden puppet, which would just be weird.
Page 11: “…like my mother said it would…” Damian’s mother is Talia al Ghul (or Talia Head), daughter of Ra’s al Ghul.
“…that I finally knew who my father was…” And Damian’s father is Bruce Wayne, formerly known as Batman.
Page 12: “Do you live at Wayne Manor and work out of the new Bunker under
Page 14: As he enters Dick Grayson’s body, Deadman sees flashes of the new Batman’s life, including (from top left and working clockwise), his swearing an oath by candlelight to fight crime; swinging through Gotham City with Batman, teaming with the New Teen Titans as Robin, confronting Two-Face as Nightwing, kissing Barbara Gordon, Superman cradling Batman’s lifeless body, donning the mantle of the Bat, posing with the Flying Graysons, mourning his parents as they die and arguing with Batman.
Page 15: Nice little plot summarization by Deadman here, for those of you who don’t know what Blackest Night is all about.
Page 16: Deadman sees flashes of Damian’s life as he enters Robin’s body, including his time in the womb, meeting Batman for the first time alongside Talia, decapitating the Spook and being captured by Ra’s al Ghul.
Page 20: John and Mary Grayson, also known as the Flying Graysons, parents of Richard “Dick” Grayson. First appeared in Detective Comics #38; they also died in that issue.
Page 21: Jack and Janet Drake, parents of Tim Drake. Jack first appeared in Batman #436, and was killed in Identity Crisis #5. Janet first appeared in Batman #441, and was killed in Detective Comics #621.
Page 23: Red Robin III, real name Timothy “Tim” Jackson Wayne (formerly Drake). First appeared in Batman #436, (as Robin III) in Batman #457, and as Red Robin in Red Robin #1.