The Best Batman Era Is One You'd Never Suspect

4. Morrison's Batman Reappraises A Forgotten Lifetime

Batman Black Glove
DC Comics

Grant Morrison's journey with Batman started in 2006, and would conclude seven years later in the pages of Batman Incorporated. Throughout, Morrison was dedicated to deconstructing the inner workings of the character, the legacy of the mantle, and the dichotomy between Batman and Robin. That last aspect is especially important, because while other writers often pushed the relationship between Bruce Wayne and his ward into the background, Morrison venerated it and made that partnership a guiding force in their overarching story, irrespective of who was donning the respective cape and cowls of the Dark Knight and the Boy Wonder.

It wasn't just a story about Batman - it was a story about the history of being Batman.

In part, Morrison's understanding of the character's history is what makes their interpretation so gripping. There are little flavours of all the past Batmen to have graced DC's pages throughout the years, whether that be what the writer referred to as the "hairy chested love god" of O'Neil and Adams' series, or the "snarling, paranoid soldier of the ‘90s." Morrison was motivated by that history to tell something grand, and it's what transformed what was initially meant to be a fifteen-issue mini series into the character-defining run we're talking about today.

batman rip zur en arrh
DC Comics

"I became fascinated by the idea that every Batman story was in some way true and biographical," Morrison said to DC in 2013. "By taking his entire publishing history as the story of his life, I was able to approach Batman from a different angle and the multifaceted character that was revealed became the subject of my story."

Indeed, it was this idea that made Morrison's Caped Crusader so captivating. Previously forgotten elements from the Silver Age were reintroduced and reappraised, and yet in a way that blended with the character's modern incarnation. It was inspired - at times a little discombobulating - but it distinguished Morrison's interpretation all the same.

Of course, as with any good Batman story, Morrison wove an engrossing mystery. Starting with the introduction of Damian Wayne and the Black Glove, before concluding in the seminal Batman RIP, Morrison brought Bruce Wayne to the brink of defeat... and then pushed him over. Never did the Dark Knight give up, and so it was fitting that his final sacrifice came in Final Crisis, firing the radion bullet that would ultimately fell Darkseid and save the universe from his dominion.

But this wasn't where the story would end. This was all merely the first chapter, and while what followed bore all the trappings of a new beginning, with Bruce dead and a Battle for the Cowl swiftly following, Morrison still took the opportunity to analyse what it meant to be Batman in a whole new way.

Content Producer/Presenter
Content Producer/Presenter

Resident movie guy at WhatCulture who used to be Comics Editor. Thinks John Carpenter is the best. Likes Hellboy a lot. Can usually be found talking about Dad Movies on his Twitter at @EwanRuinsThings.