Saturday, October 17, 2009

Blackest Night: Batman #3

“Who Burns Who”

Writer: Peter J. Tomasi

Penciller: Ardian Syaf

Inker: Vicente Cifuentes

Editor: Adam Schlagman & Eddie Berganza


Batman and Red Robin face unimaginable foes – their resurrected parents, and deal with the anger they have over their deaths. Deadman forcibly recruits Etrigan the Demon to their cause, but the heroes only succeed after they are able to mask their presence using one of Mr. Freeze’s cold guns. The Black Lanterns leave Gotham’s defenders behind, but more black rings race across the sky in search of hosts…


Page 1: Batman and Red Robin last appeared in Blackest Night: Batman #3.

Pages 2-3: I’m gonna take a wild guess here and say that the Black Lanterns used their power rings to create the circus big top and the Drake’s home as seen here.

Page 4: Robin, Barbara Gordon, Jim Gordon and Deadman last appeared in Blackest Night: Batman #2.

“Damian, is Barbara and Gordon okay?” Two things wrong here. First, I know that there are two Robin’s here, but Dick really shouldn’t be calling Damian by his first name while in the field. Sure, the only one there who doesn’t know Robin’s true identity is Jim Gordon, and he looks fairly unconscious, but let’s try to keep some secrets under wraps, okay?

Secondly, the sentence should read “Damian, are Barbara and Gordon okay?” Sorry, but I nitpick stuff like that.

“…muscles are aching…” Deadman took control of Barbara’s body last issue and was able to use her body to run and carry Jim Gordon to safety, thus her aches and pains now.

Page 5: Anyone know who “Archibald Stanton” is? I’m at a loss.

“And we’ll follow the yellow brick road back to under the Wayne Foundation Tower.” Hello? Gordon’s right there? Secret identities mean anything to you guys?

Look, I’ll allow that there’s been overwhelming evidence over the years that Jim Gordon probably had some clue that Bruce Wayne was the Batman. He’s no dummy. And I’m sure he didn’t want to openly admit it, because of his respect for the Dark Knight. However, until a story is published that explicitly states that Gordon knew Batman’s identity, I’m pretty much in favor of the new Dynamic Duo at least making an effort to keep their identities a secret, okay?

Of course, what does Dick Grayson know about secret identities? He spent years dating a seven foot tall alien model, who also happened to be a member of the Teen Titans, who was openly involved with Nightwing. Way to go, Grayson…

Page 6: Etrigan the Demon, real name Jason Blood. First appeared in The Demon (first series) #1. Has superhuman physical abilities, a command of magic, resistance to injury, and can project mystical hellfire. Blood has limited precognitive and telepathic abilities and is an expert on magic.

Is that supposed to be Alfred that Deadman is possessing to meet with Jason Blood? I assume so, but I’m not sure.

Page 7: Dead is experiencing Jason Blood’s life and times as he enters his body. Depicted here (going clockwise, from the center) are Etrigan the Demon himself; Morgaine Le Fay; Jason Blood (with the pipe); Harry Matthews (with the cigar); Randu Singh & Angeli; two depictions of Glenda Mark; and Merlin, as he bonds Etrigan to Jason Blood (in the medieval armor).

The full incantation to release Etrigan goes something like this…

Yarva Demonicus Etrigan.

Change, change the form of man.

Free the prince forever damned.

Free the might from fleshy mire.

Boil the blood in heart of fire.

Gone, gone the form of man,

Rise the demon Etrigan!

Page 8: Jack Drake and the Flying Graysons last appeared in Blackest Night: Batman #2.

Anyone else wonder about where Janet Drake wandered off to? I know that she was long dead before Jack Drake was killed, but couldn’t she have had her own little melodrama with which to influence and haunt Tim?

Jack Drake is reenacting the moments before his death at the hands of Captain Boomerang. His dialogue on this page is from Identity Crisis #5, page 20.

Page 9: Jack Drake’s dialogue is from Identity Crisis #5, page 22.

“…Anything and everything is possible – That’s why I know that somewhere out there even Bruce is alive.” Tim makes an incredibly good point here. In a world of New Gods, demons, aliens, and Multiverses, in a world where everyone and their cousin has come to back to life at one point or another, is it really so inconceivable that someone like Batman, who has a contingency plan for everything, would still be alive, despite the fact that he was seemingly obliterated by Darkseid? Really, no so much….

Page 10: Batman is expressing willpower and compassion, while Red Robin is feeling love and hope.

Jack Drake’s dialogue is from Identity Crisis #5, page 24.

Page 11: Batman’s compassion for Tim is now replaced by rage at having to burn the things posing as his parents.

Page 12: Jack Drake’s dialogue is from Identity Crisis #5, page 27.

“Tell Dick to take care of you.” In the original version, Jack said, “Tell Bruce to take care of you.”

Page 13: The events on this page correspond to Identity Crisis #5 pages 28 & 29.

I’m not sure if the Captain Boomerang that appears here is a Black Lantern or an energy construct generated by Jack Drake’s ring for the purposes of this little show. Presumably, Black Lantern Captain Boomerang is with the rest of the Rogues.

“Are you just going to stand there? Your father needs you!” A-ha! There’s Janet!

Page 14: Tim cradling his undead father resembles the pose of Batman holding a distraught Tim in Identity Crisis #6, page 4 (one of the most heart-breaking panels of all time, in my humble opinion).

Red Robin has given himself fully over to rage now.

Page 16: Anthony “Tony” Zucco, murderer of the Flying Graysons. First appeared in Detective Comics #38. Depending on which version of Zucco we’re dealing with, he’s died at different times. His most recent “death” was in Batman #438, Chapter Three of “Batman: Year Three.”

Page 17: Batman and Red Robin are both full of rage now, making them prime targets for the Black Lanterns.

Page 18: Yay! Etrigan to the rescue! Actually, it’s Deadman, utilizing Etrigan’s body. Same difference.

“Jacques Martin” can refer to one of three people – the head coach of the Montréal Canadiens, an artist of Le Journal de Tintin, or a French TV host and entertainer. Of these, only the last is actually deceased.

Page 19: “Mr. Freeze” refers to the classic Batman villain who uses cryo-technology in his crimes.

The “Wingers” to which Batman refers made their debut in Nightwing #141.

Not to beat this “secret identity” thing into the ground…but how does one explain what the Wayne family butler is doing in Batman’s bunker? Does it ever cross Gordon’s mind that it’s a little strange that Alfred Pennyworth is hanging out with Batman and Robin?

Page 21: Notice that while the Black Lanterns see that Red Robin is expressing will and rage, and Batman is feeling hope and fear, they can’t determine Etrigan’s emotional state. Black Lanterns have the same problem with Dove, as seen in Blackest Night: Titans #1 and 2.

Page 22: Black Lantern Blockbuster is unable to affect Etrigan because the demon lacks a heart.

Similarly, because Batman and Red Robin’s hearts are stopped due to their being frozen, the Black Lanterns seem unable to detect them.


Gary said...

Hey Andrew

Archibald Stanton is a reference to The Good, The Bad And The Ugly.

Arch Stanton was the name on the grave next to the one marked unknown in the film which is how Clint Eastwood's Man With No Name was able to find it.

Andrew Dowdell... said...

Holy unknown names, Batman...thanks for that!