| > Didn't read the series when it came out, but was curious about it. Can someone give me either a synopsis or a breakdown of the story? |
> Since it's Morrison, I'd expect it to be trippy, but was curious about the story. Also, what are the ramifications of the story? Does Bruce Wayne actually die? Or is that left unanswered?
> Battlin Jack
The story starts with Batman and Robin together, with Batman yelling "Batman and Robin will never die!". Then we go back six months to the gathering of the Club of Villains under Dr. Simon Hurt, who along with the mysterious Black Glove, are about to begin a Danse Macabre for Batman. Batman, meanwhile, is trying to find out who is out to take him down and it is proving to be a bit much for him as both Robin and Jim Gordon are concerned about Batman's mental facilities. After having dinner with on again, off again girlfriend Jezebel Jet, and revealing that she knows Bruce Wayne is Batman, the two decide to get engaged. Shortly after, Batman and Hush go at it over Catwoman, who had her heart removed and is on special life support. We also learn that Hush now has his face altered to look like Bruce as he is envious of him. This was a side story to the main one.
After this incident, Bruce brings Jezebel to the Batcave to show her around. Bruce acts more and more irrational and while looking at the crays, Jezebel notices a text that reads "Zur-en-Arrh" which causes Bruce to freak out and begin convulsing, not unlike the previous time a few issues earlier. At this point, Hurt and the Club enter the Batcave and take over. Hurt pumps Bruce full of drugs to wipe out his mind, then strip him of his suit and leave him out in the cold. Alfred returns to home where he is promptly captured and beaten. Nightwing is also captured, while Robin manages to escape with the infamous Black Casebook. A diary Bruce made years ago when he was undergoing isolation experiments, conducted by Hurt and following an encounter with Professor Milo. Bruce would have trouble separating fact from fiction for a period of time. This is in reference to the stories from the late 50's and early 60's, prior to Detective Comics #327. Tim wonders if Bruce will become a threat and if so, he believes that he might have to stop him.
Jim Gordon, meanwhile, is meeting with the mayor who claims to have proof that Thomas Wayne is not dead. That in fact he, Alfred, Martha and Hurt were all part of the Black Glove and involved in lewd activities, including films orgies. That Thomas had hooked Martha on heroin and that he faked his death, to get rid of his wife and son. Jim, however, doesn't buy it. Hurt has now taken to claiming that the Batcave is his and is wearing Thomas Wayne's old Halloween costume, the Bat-Man one. Alfred knows that this is not Thomas Wayne. Elsewhere, Bruce has regained consciousness and has lost his memory. Visited by a mysterious homeless person, Bruce begins to regain some semblence of himself. While talking to himself, he puts together a makeshift costume in the style of a hallucination from years ago known as the Batman of Zur-en-Arrh. Bruce had believed that he had taken a trip to another world with an individual who was the Batman of that world and needed Bruce's help. As a gift, Bruce was given the Bat Radia, which he now has in his posession. Also, Bat Mite returns and begins talking with Bruce as he's hunting down the leads on the Black Glove. At Arkham, the Joker is freed and invited to take part, though the Joker soon grows bored with the Club of Villains. Arkham is also taken over by the Black Glove and the Club, while Nightwing is being prepped for a labotomy after being drugged up pretty badly.
Bruce arrives at Arkham where he takes down most of the Club and encounters the Joker, who is trying to tell him what is going on as he wants to see how far Hurt will go with this. After bypassing the Joker, Bruce attempts to rescue Jezebel only to fall victim to a knockout gas as Jezebel stands revealed as a member of the Black Glove. Bruce awakens in a coffin, wearing his old suit and is buried alive. Bruce smiles at this. In Arkham, Nightwing comes to his senses and breaks free, while Robin is deals with the other Club members not at Arkham. The Joker wants to be a part of the Black Glove, but Hurt says that there can only be five fingers. Five couples who have great wealth and a desire to do what they've been doing. The Joker kills one member and then points out that this plan is going to fail. They didn't even examine the Bat Radia, which is revealed to be a transmitter sending a signal to the Batcave beneath the Wayne Foundation building. Bruce then shows up, having dug himself free as the Joker predicted. He knew that they would fail because if he hasn't been able to break Batman, what made Hurt think that he could. Batman also reveals that he knows who all of them are and had been playing them for fools for a while.
Throughout the confrontation, we learn that during "52", when Bruce was in Nanda Parbat, he was trying to conquer his fear of death. That is when he first learned of Hurt's plot, but not who Hurt was. Jezebel flees in a plane, which is promptly brought down by the Man-Bat Ninjas on the orders of Talia, since Jezebel had arrainged to have her and Daimen killed. Bruce, also reveals to Hurt that he knows he is not Thomas Wayne, but Monsgrove Pierce, who had been the killer during the "League Of Batmen" arc. Though Hurt claims that he is not him, that he is wearing his skin as he is this skin. Hurt attempts to flee with the one of the three Batmen that Hurt had created to possibly replace Bruce should something happened to him. Bruce loses his cape and cowl, as he is struggling on the helicopter. Hurt has been planning to release the false information about the Waynes and Alfred in order to ruin the family name. Hurt had discovered what Bruce himself had recently, that the death of his parents left a scar on his pysche which made it possible to manipulate him. Creating a trigger word using Zur-en-Arrh since Bruce had been muttering it during the isolation experiments. Bruce had used it to protect himself should something happen like it did. Finally, Bruce attempts to bring down the copter results in an explosion. Nightwing, Robin and Jim Gordon arrive too late. Daimen, meanwhile, rams the Batmobile into the ambulence that the Joker was using to escape, causing him to go crashing off a cliff and into the river. Six months later, the only Club member not locked is LeBossu who claims that the Dynamic Duo had not been seen in six months despite some rumors that one might here. At which point, the first page of "R.I.P." is implied to have taken place.
In the aftermath, Nightwing battles with Two-Face and the Outsiders try to figure out their future. Then, the events of "Final Crisis" begins. Bruce Wayne resurfaces to investigate the death of Orion of the New Gods, whose body is found in Metropolis by retired police officer Dan Turpin. John Stweart is attacked and hospitalized, while Hal Jordan is accused of the assualt. J'onn J'onzz is killed by Libra and the Daily Planet newsroom is destroyed in an explosion planted by Clayface. Batman realizes, while examining the autopsy of Orion that Hal couldn't have done it and that Alpha Lantern Kraken did it. Which is true, because she is controlled by Granny Goodness, who attacks Batman and captures him. Taken to Command D in Bludhaven, which is revealed to be the new Evil Factory, Batman is confined to a device. We learn that he is being used to create an army to use against Earth's heroes. A creature known as Lump, is going through his mind and trying to sort out his memories, which is quite difficult as Bruce is fighting it at every turn. The fate of Bruce Wayne will be decided in issue six of the main series, most likely as Darkseid has a bone to pick with Bruce.