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Comic Book / Batman (Grant Morrison)

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"Believe me, everything you've heard about The Black Glove is true... Call me Dr. Hurt."
"Batman and Robin will never die."

Detective Comics published the first story of "The Bat-Man" in May of 1939, written by Bill Finger and illustrated by Bob Kane. In the years since then, Batman has become one of DC's premier superheroes; along with Superman and Wonder Woman, Batman comprises a vital part of DC's Trinity. And in the decades that have followed his debut, the Caped Crusader has been influenced by a slew of great artists and writers; each having a unique interpretation of the character and a good number leaving a lasting impression on the Dark Knight and his world.

Yet being published in at least one, then two, book(s) continuously for 70 years presents two problems: (1) how to keep the character of Batman interesting and (2) how to keep the character from becoming too esoteric as time goes on. Batman, like most of the DCU, had at least two attempts to reconcile this, by first separating the Golden Age Batman from the Silver Age Batman and then later by partially rebooting Batman's history with the Crisis Crossovers of Crisis on Infinite Earths and Zero Hour: Crisis in Time!.

In the wake of Infinite Crisis, Batman's history was rebooted yet again. But as the readers would soon discover, this reboot would not remove anything from Batman's past this time around; in fact the exact opposite occurred.

After the end of "One Year Later" story, noted writer Grant Morrison became the head writer for the Batman (1940) monthly magazine. As Morrison's run went on, fans soon discovered that all of the previously removed portions of Batman's history had been restored to full Canon status in some way or another. ALL OF IT. (Even the bits that contradict the other bits!)

Morrison has stated that they intend their work to be part of a series, with "four [collected] volumes and, if the cards are right, a fifth volume, a final volume": Their complete Batman run includes the following:

Storylines in this run that have their own pages:

Previously, Morrison wrote a Batman story called Batman: Gothic, which explores some of the same themes as this run. See also Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, released in 1989 by the same author.

Tropes particular to Morrison's Batman:

    open/close all folders 

    A - F 
  • Adaptation Distillation: Inverted! This story takes everything that's ever happened to Batman in the mainstream continuity as canon and merges and reworks anything that doesn't work out.
  • All There in the Manual: The Black Casebook, a collection of older stories which Morrison used to build their Myth Arc and which are referred to several times throughout the story. While not necessary to understand the events on what is going on per se, it can provide the proper context to the backstory of what Morrison is writing.
  • And I Must Scream:
    • The Joker kills Simon Hurt's by breaking his neck with a banana peel, injecting him with a cocktail of Hurt's poisonous gas and his laughing toxic and burying him alive, knowing that since he is immortal, he will be forever trapped underground, laughing himself in agony to death but never quite achieving it.
    • Strangely enough, Batman inflicts one of these on Lord Death Man. Since the villain demonstrated he is immortal, indestructible and his lackeys can get him out of anywhere, he is locked in a very small case and shot to orbit in space.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The final issue ends on an unusually somber version of this. Talia is dead, Gotham is saved and Bruce sincerely wants to retire as Batman, but that fantasy is short-lived as Damian and Talia's graves have been robbed and Ra's Al Ghul seems to be mounting a new plan using Damian's clones. The last issue ends with the acknowledgement that Batman's mission will never end.
  • Apophenia Plot: The big truth behind the Joker's newly adopted black and red color scheme is it's all a plan just to troll Batman into thinking there is a plan. After Batman spent the lead up and most of Batman R.I.P. trying to determine what Joker's really saying with the black and red, the Joker confesses to the Black Glove there never was a plan. Because Batman obsesses over everything the Joker does with the assumption there's a hidden meaning to his action, Joker thought it'd be funny to gaslight him into thinking that was the case here.
  • Arc Welding: A particularly epic example, as everything from the origin of Vandal Savage to various wacky 1960s adventures are tied together as the work of Darkseid's Hyper-Adaptor and its eventual host, Simon Hurt/Thomas Wayne. Several ideas from Morrison's JLA run also make a return here, such as their interpretation of the fifth dimension and the Arc Words of "Batman and Robin will never die!" being from there as well.
  • Arc Words:
    • The sentence "Zur En Arrh" frequently shows up in graffiti form during the arcs leading up to Batman R.I.P. It's a trigger phrase designed by Simon Hurt to psychologically weaken and subdue Bruce. In the final issue of that arc, it's explained that the phrase is a corrupted form of "Zorro in Arkham", the last thing Thomas Wayne said to his son before being killed.
    • "Gotcha!" It's the last thing Batman says before being sent back in time by Darkseid's Omega Beams. He clutches to the word throughout his journey, as it enables him to unlock some of his lost memories.
    • "Hole in things", usually refering to great evil working behind the scenes, such as Dr. Hurt, Darkseid and Talia. It's implied it's related to Darkseid being the literal personification of evil, and every act of evil done through the series being indirectly caused by him.
    • "Batman and Robin will never die", which is meant to encapsulate that Batman is a larger than life idea, regardless of who is wearing the cape, as well as that Batman needs Robin. Sure enough, we see as much as four Batmans through the series (Bruce, Dick, Damian and Terry McGinis), not counting the Batmen of Many Nations and Batman Incorporated.
  • Arch-Enemy: As the leader of the Leviathan Organization, Talia Al Ghul is hoping to, through high grade enough evil, become Bruce's. Damian's death puts the individual as high in the running, alongside the Heretic.
  • Ax-Crazy:
    • Flamingo can give the Joker a run for his money in this department. He literally eats faces.
    • Professor Pyg was driven insane after being exposed to dangerous chemicals. Becoming obsessed with a twisted idea of perfection, he began kidnapping people to transform them into lobotomized servants.
  • Back from the Dead: The Resurrection of Ra's al Ghul, after Greg Rucka killed him off in Death and the Maidens.
  • Batman Gambit: There are a few, but the one from Return of Bruce Wayne stands out. Essentially everything after Bruce says "Trust me" to Superman in the second chapter and has his memory wiped is a scheme to confuse Darkseid's Omega Adaptor into fixating on the wrong entity (one of the archivists from Vanishing Point who impersonates Bruce) so it can be brought back to the 21st century to be separated from him and dealt with by the Justice League. It's a Batman Gambit as Bruce has no idea how the JLA will deal with the adaptor, he just knows that they'll figure it out somehow.
  • Batter Up!: The main weapon of the Bat-Man of Zur-en-Arrh is an ordinary wooden baseball bat. And his loony enthusiasm.
  • Bat Deduction: Occurs in "The Butler Did It," where a flashback shows Batman and Robin figuring out that the Joker is going to attack a sea plane display...based on the Joker leaving them a playing card.
  • Becoming the Mask: Alfred observes that as his crimefighting continued, Bruce eventually stops referring to Batman as his disguise.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Talia, Dr. Dedalus, the Heretic, and Leviathan as a whole have been destroyed, but Damian and Knight died in the process. Ra's al-Ghul has been freed from his prison and is setting to work reforming the League of Assassins, The Joker has reinvented himself and will continue to do so as long as he lives. Batman attempts to investigate Spyral, which will most likely result in nothing of real note, meaning that they'll all get away with their crimesnote . Dr. Hurt and the Black Glove have been defeated, Jason has redeemed himself in the eyes of the Bat-Family by temporarily acting as the new Wingman, and Squire takes on Knight's mantle. Kathy Kane is actually alive but she and Batman will never be together again. Batman Incorporated go their separate ways having saved the world, but all feeling that the cost was too great. In the end Batman himself, though devastated by Damian's death, refuses to give up and sets to work protecting Gotham and the world once more being ready, willing, and able to save everyone... except himself.
  • Body Horror: The process through which Professor Pyg transforms his victims into Dollotrons. First you get a mask that bonds irrevocably to your skin. Then, Pyg does... something to you (implied to be a form of lobotomy/genital mutilation), leaving you looking and acting like a melted Kewpie doll. And Pyg thinks this is an improvement.
    • The Joker's new red-and-black toxin works by making the victim laugh so hard they vomit up their intestines. Thankfully the art in the comic doesn't show the process in action, but "The Clown at Midnight" describes it in horrifically lurid Purple Prose.
  • Book Ends: The first issue of the run begins with Batman trying to get back to normal as Bruce Wayne after an impostor Batman shoots the Joker in the face. The final issue of Morrison's run ends with Bruce realizing he will never be able to stop being Batman after Kathy Kane shoots Talia in the head.
  • Break the Haughty: Jason believed that his lethal brand of vigilante justice brought results and made him better than less ruthless crimefighters. In reality, all it did was convince the surviving criminals that he is a threat that must be dealt with by any means. This culminates in them hiring the Flamingo, a completely deranged psychopath, who not only beats Jason to near-death, but also ends up wreaking even more havoc in Gotham.
  • Brick Joke: Odd, reverse example - Dick occassionally complains how difficult crime fighting with a cape is. Guess what article of the original Batsuit Damian didn't include in the previously published 666th Batman issue?
  • Broad Strokes: A necessity as Morrison's run was concurrently running with the Flashpoint and New 52 reboot. Much of the new developments and re-establishment of old Batman comic history had to be done away with or quietly ignored in order to line up with the New 52 timeline, resulting in Oracle disappearing, Dick Grayson suddenly becoming Nightwing again, and all references to Final Crisis being incredibly vague.
  • Call-Back: The intro sequence of Batman and Robin #16 is one to Peter Milligan's Dark Knight, Dark City story.
  • Canon Immigrant:
    • Terry McGinnis, at least in a 'future' continuity of New Earth that may never be.
    • Zig-Zagged with Lord Death Man, a villain from Japan in Batman Incorporated While he is identified with the earlier villain "Death Man," he's far more closely based on the version who appeared in the 1960s licensed Batman manga, but had become a Breakout Villain in the US fandom when selections of the manga were translated into English and published in the US in 2008. At the end of the second issue, after Jiro has become Batman Japan, we also see Professor Gorilla, another one of the original villains from the manga. (Who was also loosely based on a one-off villain from an earlier American comic.)
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Dr. Hurt and the rest of the Club of Villains. As the former put it, "What we are about to do will be a work of art."
  • Cerebus Retcon: Applied to the Silver Age stories. Although they are brought back from Canon Discontinuity status, they are done so in a darker light as they are associated with drug influence or resulting from Batman's containment experiment. Many scenes from the Silver Age comics are redone in darker and creepier ways (particularly the "Robin Dies at Dawn!" and the altered version of the Joe Chill story). It's especially evident in the revised origin and backstory for the 1950s Batwoman, now revealed to be a master spy whose entire heroic career was an assignment to learn all of Batman's secrets and possibly the daughter of an unrepentant Nazi war criminal It's a far cry from the early Silver Age innocence that the character usually signifies.
  • Character Development:
    • Damian Wayne, who goes from being a whiny snot to a boy doing his best to live up to his father's legacy.
    • Done more subtly and depressingly with Batman himself. Towards the end of Batman R.I.P. he seems exhilarated by the idea that he can confront the "ultimate evil" himself, and he openly acknowledges that he's often attracted to the evil in his more morally ambivalent or outright criminal lovers, confident in his ability to detach himself when he needs to as he does with Jezebel Jet.. After the Fate Worse than Death he escapes in battle with Darkseid and the horrifying personal and general Collateral Damage from his conflict with Talia, who sets out to be the ultimate villain specifically to win his affections, as well as learning the Awful Truth about his previous romantic partner Kathy Kane, he seems to be more sadly resigned to his endless battle with evil and troubled by his romantic interest in "bad girls" by the end of Batman Incorporated.
    • Jason Todd begins as an arrogant, trigger-happy Anti-Hero Black Sheep of the Bat-family and ends the series as still an aloof asshole who likes to push buttons, but is generally overwhelmed by Bruce's continuing kindness towards him to finally try to leave behind his Red Hood days and prove himself a worthy addition to Batman Incorporated as the new Wingman.
  • Characterization Marches On: In another example of Cerebus Retcon, this trope as it applies to the Joker is reworked into another element of his insanity, where he completely changes his personality every few years.
  • Chekhov's Armory: Pretty much everything in his run, no matter how strange, comes into play/is tied together during or after Batman R.I.P., among the most significant being the "Zur-En-Arrh" graffiti and the Bat-Radia. The Silver Age stories also could count as Chekhovs Guns that come into play when he brings them up.
  • The Comically Serious: As usual Batman is stern, stoic, and unmoving contrasting him nicely with the more colorful members of Batman Incorporated.
  • Confronting Your Imposter: In the third issue of the Return of Bruce Wayne miniseries, a time-displaced character washes up on a beach in 1718, and is taken for the notorious masked pirate whose ship has just been sunk. One of the characters gathered around narrates:
    As for the stranger, of him I knew one sure thing only. He could not possibly be the Black Pirate.
  • Continuity Porn:
    • Hey, remember all those old Silver Age stories where Batman visited other worlds? Well, it turns out those were all true (albeit actually hallucinations brought on by sensory deprivation).
    • Morrison manages to bring back the entire International Club of Heroes (sometimes known as the Batmen of All Nations).
  • Continuity Snarl: All of which seem to stem from Morrison's apparent uncertainty of whether or not their run has connections to the wider DC Universe.
    • In Blackest Night, Bruce Wayne's skull is dug up and transformed into a Black Lantern to invoke an emotional response in all of Batman's allies while Dick Grayson is busy attempting to ward off all the undead villains that are attacking Gotham. Meanwhile, in Morrison's run, the Blackest Night is apparently not happening in Gotham or in London as Grayson had transported Wayne's body (which is kept under Wayne Tower as opposed to the unmarked grave Blackest Night claims it is buried in) to the latter in an attempt to resurrect Batman using a Lazarus Pit. There's a throwaway Continuity Nod in which Batwoman expresses dismay that Grayson is "talking about raising the dead...after what the whole world's just been through." This still doesn't explain the Batman skull from the Blackest Knight tie-in miniseries, though and there are some complications with Damian being temporarily paralyzed in Morrison's series and running around with Batman in the Blackest Night tie-in.
    • Batman #700, "Time and the Batman" features Chief O'Hara alongside Commissioner Gordon when they come to the aid of Batman, Robin, and Professor Nichols. The problem? Post-Crisis, the death of Chief O'Hara kicked off the events of Dark Victory, his death being a full year before Dick became Robin. Granted, they weren't the only one as Mark Waid similarly ignored O'Hara's death in Dark Victory during the Silver Age event that served as a lead-in to JLA: Tower of Babel — and was the bigger offender of the two as that was published at the same time as Dark Victory.
    • By the New 52, Jason Todd is simultaneously running around as both the redeemed Red Hood and the working-to-be-redeemed Wingman II. Overall, Morrison seems to pretend that Red Hood and the Outlaws didn't happen.
  • Covers Always Lie: The "Bat-Pilgrim", "Bat-Pirate", and "Bat-Detective" outfits that appear on the covers to The Return of Bruce Wayne #2, 3, and 5 don't actually appear in the story.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Batman has a backup personality in case of psychological attacks. Yes, a backup personality. Not wholly unheard of however: there was an earlier 00's Batman story where Bruce's brain responded with a pre-set trigger to forget he was Batman when Professor Strange tried to Mind Rape him into outing his secret identity.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Deathstroke vs. Batman, with Deathstroke on the receiving end. Twice. In the same issue.
  • Dead Man's Hand: In the prologue, Batman speaks to The Joker in Arkham Asylum. The Joker taunts Batman with his upcoming destruction while dealing out aces and eights.
  • Decoy Antagonist: Otto Netz, aka Doctor Daedalus, had a lot of build up as the final boss of Morrison's run. He's not only a Nazi scientist, but has connections to El Gaucho, Professor Pyg (he was their superior) and Kathy Kane (he's her father) in the form of Leviathan's parent organization Spyral. He's also shown to be quite The Dreaded, several international heroes dying just to imprison him on an island, only for said island's entire environment to be under his control as well as having escaped long before Batman and his allies ever set foot on it. In spite of his age, his criminal genius has shown to nearly best Batman in terms of physicality and mentality, with only a blade through his eye by Damian to truly end his threat once and for all. However, it would eventually turn out that he's not the true threat, as Talia al Ghul would be revealed as the series' final Big Bad as well as the one aiding Netz with his endeavors.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: The reason Hurt wants to destroy Thomas and Martha Wayne's legacies - they dared to try to help him.
  • Doomed Predecessor: In the backstory, the British government sent a superhero team to the Maldives back during the Falkland War to try and prevent one of their former agents from using the war as a cover for his escape from prison. It didn't go well. Years later, Batman, Batwoman, El Gaucho, and the Hood travel to the same place to find the same operative, and come across the corpse of the Iron Lady, one of the members of the British team.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • In Batman 673, this seems to be established as Joe Chill's latest canon fate; after stalking/tormenting Chill, Batman finally reveals his identity and then gives the depressed Chill the same handgun that he had used to kill Bruce's parents. The next page shows Batman stoically staring on with two gunshots being fired.
    • Winds up being Professor Carter Nichols' fate in Batman 700.
  • Eldritch Abomination:
    • Darkseid in Final Crisis, whose very presence is enough to bring about Earth's Darkest Hour and potentially send all of reality into a dark oblivion.
    • Darkseid's pet Hyper-Adapter. A time-travelling tentacled monster that torments Bruce Wayne in The Return of Bruce Wayne. It's implied that the Hyper-Adapter is the reason Dr. Hurt and Vandal Savage were able to live beyond their mortal lifespans, simply by coming into contact with it.
  • Enemy Mime: Pierrot Lunaire is a villain who dressed like a mime and even remains silent.
  • Enfant Terrible: Damian, initially. Although both Bruce and Alfred can tell that most of his erratic initial behavior is pure bluster born of uncertainty, fear, and a desire to impress the father he never knew with how tough he is.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: Batman concludes that the Joker's playing card suits were a reference to the red and black poisoned flower petals used against Batman during the climax. They weren't. The Joker was addressing Batman's skill at solving these kinds of things by providing a riddle with no answer. The Joker's crazy, you can't expect him to be honest all the time.
  • The Epic: A massive storyline that spans across the globe and across time; starting from the Dawn of Man to the heat death of the universe. And if we were to completely count all of Final Crisis, the story also spans the entire multiverse. Meta-wise, it grows in scale by incorporating all of Batman's history. Including Final Crisis in the metameaning, grows to encompass the nature of comic books themselves.
  • Eviler than Thou: Oberon Sexton, a new vigilante who had earned Batman's (both of them) trust and been allowed into the batcave, a man known to the common man as the Joker is the one to take down Dr Hurt, whilst telling him why he's pathetic all with a line of Dominoes and a smile. This was why Dr. Hurt told Oberon that he had a tendancy to engage foes he could not hope to defeat.
  • Evil Versus Evil: The Joker of all people ends up helping Batman take down Dr. Hurt and the Black Glove.
  • Face–Heel Turn:
    • Wingman and John Mayhew used to be Batman's allies, with the former being personally trained by Batman, and the latter desiring to create a club for Badass Normal superheroes. Both grow unsatisfied with their lives and end up joining the criminal organization Black Glove.
    • Subverted with El Gaucho, who pretends to betray Batman to Dr. Dedalus in order to sneak Batman an antidote for the poisonous gas Dedalus was hitting him with.
  • Fake Brit: In-Universe. Robin can tell that Oberon Sexton is pretending to be British, as his accent is flawed. He speculates that the detective is actually Bruce Wayne in disguise. He is wrong; Oberon is the Joker.
  • Femme Fatale:
    • Talia al Ghul, the ruthless leader of the League of Assassins, drugs and seduces Bruce Wayne to conceive "the perfect heir".
    • Jezebel Jet becomes Bruce's love interest, but only so she can break him psychologically. She was working for the Black Glove all along.
    • Scorpiana is a supervillain who antagonizes El Gaucho. She courts Bruce by teaching him the Tango of Death.
    • St Hadrian's Finishing School For Girls is designed to turn girls into remorseless killers.
  • Flying Car: Foreshadowed in one panel of Batman and Son when Damian pulls the tarp off an unfinished chassis; Used in Batman and Robin as Dick and Damian's main vehicle; and, based on interior art from the Batman Incorporated reboot, remains the main vehicle for the Dynamic Duo.
  • Forced Addiction: During the Batman: Reborn arc, Professor Pyg creates an aerosol-based narcotic that he has his "Dollotrons" spread across Gotham by sneezing on people. Dick Grayson describes it as "addiction you can catch".
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The creation of Batman Incorporated is foreshadowed from the beginning of the story, with Batman encountering multiple impostors to his name and wondering if there's a better way to strike terror into criminals.
    • Much of the later Batman R.I.P. arc is foreshadowed with with the Joker prose story, "The Clown at Midnight," as are some elements of the Batman and Robin arc.
    • Batman #666 introduced Professor Pyg and Flamingo long before their present-day debuts in Batman: Reborn. Also in the same issue, Damian claims he was never as good as Bruce or Dick, implying that Dick would also become Batman.
    • Damian's description of Oberon Sexton: There's something funny about him. Additionally, there's Commissioner Gordon's introduction of him: "His face was scarred by criminals who killed his wife, which is inadvertently Metaphorically True. And Sexton's own first on-panel dialogue: "It seems we have a mutual interest in crime.
    • Cassandra Cain's cameo in Fabian Nicieza's Red Robin #17 heavily foreshadowed her eventual involvement in Batman Incorporated, where Morrison made her into the Batman of Hong Kong in issue #6.
    • There was a portrait of Mordecai Wayne in Wayne Manor during Batman R.I.P., which was actually a portrait of an amnesiac and time-lost Bruce.
    • The minor reveal that El Penitente is Simon Hurt is foreshadowed by his use of inverted religious motifs, just as he did with his "Antichrist Batman" the last time out. After all, he is a former Puritan turned pseudo-devil-worshipper.
    • Batman's description of the "ultimate villain" in Batman #674 mentions this hypothetical foe possessing "access to allies, weapons, and tactics [Batman] couldn't imagine" as well as being "[a]n adversary whose plots and grand designs were so vast, so elaborate, that they went unnoticed." While this sets up the Black Glove and Dr. Hurt, it also sounds suspiciously like a description of Darkseid, who turns out to be the Greater Scope Villain of Batman R.I.P. and The Return of Bruce Wayne. Likewise, the devil imagery effectively sets up the Religion of Crime, as well as Darkseid's traditional role as the archfiend of the DC Universe.
    • At the end of Batman R.I.P., the Joker bets against the Black Glove and on Batman, even making an argument that he fits the membership criteria for the organization and killing one of the five members to free up a slot for himself. Much later in Batman and Robin, it's revealed that the Joker, as Oberon Sexton, is essentially playing a murderous game of dominoes against Hurt from the first issue. And killing the remaining Black Glove members, making him the only person Hurt can play against.
    • In Batman R.I.P., Bruce notes that he was attracted to "the bad in" Jezebel Jet much as he was in women like Catwoman and Talia; this not only sets up Talia's motivation in Batman Incorporated, but also foreshadows the Retcon of Kathy Kane in the same series.
  • For Want Of A Nail: "Last Rites" includes a scene where Alfred tells Bruce about his brief ponder about what could happen if it wasn't a bat that inspired him to become Batman. Possibilities included a moth, a snake, a curtain, and apparently just a skeleton because Alfred lost track of his thought process.

    G - L 
  • Gaslighting: The Joker's use of black and red. Batman is certain there has to be something the Joker's saying as part of some bigger, more diabolical scheme. He's not, but he's making Batman think he is.
  • Gayngster: Flamingo is an assassin with a pink outfit and flamboyant personality.
    Damian: I was expecting scary, not gay!
  • Genre Shift: The Return Of Bruce Wayne sees Bruce go through various settings and disguises as he emulates the tone and trappings of the pulp predecessors of the superhero genre (cavemen, pirates, cowboys, etc.) as he is punted through time by the Hyper-Adapter.
  • Gilded Cage: After Talia usurps control of the League of Assassins and absorbs it into Leviathan, she puts her father under house arrest, locking him in a room that at very least is well stocked on books, has a chess set, and a panoramic view of the surrounding mountains. Ra's himself even admits it's not that bad.
  • Grand Theft Me: Since Batman cremated Ra's al Ghul's body after his death in Death and the Maiden, when his spirit comes back, he takes over a few bodies before settling on Dusan, the son he disowned.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Darkseid. The Hyper Adapter which corrupted Thomas Wayne, Jr. and turned him into Dr. Hurt is Darkseid's creation.
  • Green-Eyed Monster:
    • Wingman is extremely jealous of both Batman and the international superhero groups like the Justice League. It ends up driving him into betraying Batman Incorporated
    • Bat-Mite makes fun of Batman hallucinating that he had superpowers in his imaginary Zurr-En-Arrh adventure, citing that his fantasy was probably due to repressed feelings of jealousy towards Superman's abilities.
  • Healing Spring: Not only are the Lazarus Pits featured, but so is the Fountain of Life, a fountain in Nanda Parbat that Ra's al Ghul believes to be a prototype version of the Pits. It also helps restore Batman after the Sensei breaks him arm and blinds him.
  • Hijacked by Ganon:
    • Doctor Hurt and Doctor Dedalus have both claimed credit for Professor Pyg's current status as a mad scientist villain.
    • In Batman Incorporated (vol. 1), there are clues to suggest that the Big Bad is Jezebel Jet, a villain created by Morrison. The final issue reveals the true mastermind behind Leviathan is actually Talia Al Ghul.
  • Hollywood Psych: Lobotomies are a (now thoroughly disfavored) treatment for psychosis. A lobotomy will not turn a law-abiding family man into a cannibalistic assassin. That's actually just about the opposite of what it would do.
  • Humanoid Abomination:
    • Dr. Hurt and Talia both fancy themselves as avatars to Satanic deities who exist only to plunge humanity into ruin for the sake of it. In Hurt's case, he really is an abomination, since his body has been infested by an alien monster called Hyper Adapter. When Bruce's father, a doctor, examines him, he comes to the conclusion Hurt is barely human.
    • Lord Death Man is a man with a skull for a face who only wishes to bring about death and destruction to Japan. He is absolutely immortal and indestructible, which makes him so unbeatable that Batman needs to apply lethal force against him and later lock him in a case and shoot him to space, since it's the only way he won't escape and continue his massacres.
    • The Joker treads into this territory after recovering from his injuries. His bodily fluids are now toxic.
  • I Coulda Been a Contender!: Played straight and subverted with the different members of the Batmen of All Nations; the team-up that could have propelled them to international repute ended up sputtering out after only two meetings. The members ended up reacting quite differently, running the spectrum of this trope; some, like El Gaucho and Man Of Bats, ended up thriving and being quite content operating within their local spheres of influence rather than as an international JLA-style powerhouse (and Man Of Bats actually prefers being a defender of the little guy). On the flip side of the coin, we have Wingman, who for all his over-compensating clearly suffers from this trope worst of all. It's what prompts his Face–Heel Turn.
  • Injun Country: The stomping grounds of Man-Of-Bats and Raven Red, described by the latter as "America's own third world."
  • Internal Homage:
    • Near the end of "The Revenge of the Red Hood", Jason Todd finds himself shot, unmasked, beaten and at the total mercy of a gaudily dressed psychopath with a characteristic Slasher Smile, just like in A Death in the Family.
    • Morrison has stated that they intended to leave as many Joker shout-outs in Batman and Robin as they could without being too obvious. At the end of the Pyg arc, Batman and Gordon meet to arrest the gang and Gordon states he wishes he could burn the circus base down to the ground. That's when you realize that the base Pyg used was the Joker Circus from The Killing Joke.
  • It's a Wonderful Plot: In "Last Rites", Bruce hallucinates a reality where his parents never died, and he grows up to be a bumbling mama's boy.
  • Judge, Jury, and Executioner: Red Hood's run as an Anti-Villain is this, with him killing criminals left and right without any remorse. Unnervingly, half of Gotham citizens support his view, considering that their city is a Wretched Hive filled with the criminally insane. Thanks to this, the cartel sent the Flamingo to deal with him.
  • Karma Houdini: Doctor Hurt and the Black Glove are convinced that they can escape punishment for their crimes, having enough power and influence to blackmail, bribe and threaten their way out of any possible punishment for their deeds. They didn't count on Batman, the Joker and Talia Al Ghul working together, though.
    Jezebel Jet: There's nothing you can do, Bruce — no court on the planet we can't buy, no judge or jury beyond threatening or bribing. There's you rich, down here. [Gestures] And then there's Black Glove rich. Oh! I'm just not tall enough.
  • Lampshade Hanging:
    • The "The Butler Did It" two-parter pretty much has Bruce talk about how goddamn weird his Silver Age adventures with Dick were.
    • Dick whines about the chore of having to fight in the flowing cape of the Batman costume.
  • Large Ham: Professor Pyg was explicitly designed as loud, theatrical and obnoxious, to contrast with the never-speaking Flamingo.
  • Legacy Character: Knight and Squire. The current Knight is the original Squire and the son of the original Knight. History repeats itself after Knight dies fighting the Heretic, with Squire taking over as the new Knight.
  • Louis Cypher: Doctor Hurt claims to be an avatar of the bat-demon Barbatos. He is not. What really happened is the Hyper Adapter coincidentally showed up during one of his satanic rituals. Mistaking the alien for the demon he worshipped, Hurt allowed the entity to infest him, mutating him into what he is today.

    M - R 
  • Mad Artist: Professor Pyg considers the process through which he disfigures and lobotomizes his victims to be a form of art.
    "I'm an artist! I can't be expected to work on antipsychotics!"
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Oberon Sexton, "The Gravedigger." Not only are Shakespearean Gravediggers also referred to as "Clowns", but Oberon's the King of the Fairies, or, alternately, King of the Fey. Fey-king = Faking. It's all a reference to his true identity as The Joker.
    • Harley Quinn breaks into Arkham Asylum to break the Joker by pretending to be a psychiatrist named "Jane Wisakedjak". As Batman points immediately points out, Wisakedjak is an Algonquin trickster spirit. The joke is rather spoiled by the fact that there was a real psychiatrist of that name, and Harley simply killed her and stole her credentials.
  • The Mole: Bruce initially suspects that Talia only sent Damain to live with him at the start of the run to disrupts his work. He really isn't one, and is just desperate to please and know his father.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • There are numerous references to the famous scene of Batman: Year One where Bruce decides on whether or not to call Alfred for help when the bat crashes in the window, implying that was the moment that man became legend. The tale of Barbatos and Hurt originated from the "Dark Knight, Dark City" arc in Batman.
    • The Batcave West features mementos from past adventures of the Outsiders, including Black Lightning's afro mask and the costume of Dad from the Nuclear Family. There's also a giant penny with Simon Stagg's face on it, a gag on Joe Coyne's giant penny in the original Batcave.
    • Mutants make an appearance in Batman Incorporated #1, indecipherable slang and all.
    • Referring to the 1989 Batman movie, Bruce publicly announces his "Batman Incorporated" program by saying, "A lot of people has asked, 'Where does Batman get all those wonderful toys?'..."
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: One of the hints to Jezebel's evil nature is the fact their name is derived from a Biblical queen who has been historically considered to be a symbol of wickedness.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Jason's violent and lethal methods of crime fighting causes the crime lord El Penitente to send up Flamingo, a nigh-unstoppable assassin who is known to eat human faces. For once, Jason is brutally beaten for his actions, and is arrested for murder and effectively bringing the gaudy lunatic to Gotham.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Dr. Hurt and the Black Glove end up bringing the Joker down on their heads. They don't last much longer after that.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Three teachers at St. Hadrian's Finishing School for Girls, which is a school for female super villains and super spies, are unnamed expies of Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and Rihanna. The principal Ms. Hexley is an expy of Madonna.
  • Not Disabled in VR: Barbara Gordon gets to be Batgirl again... through an avatar in cyberspace.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Reinvigorated by his walkabout Post-Infinite Crisis, Batman proceeded to utterly curb stomp crime in Gotham, both super and otherwise. It's never shown on-panel, which might be just as well since a lot of it was facilitated by the Black Glove trying to lull him into a false sense of security.
    • Stephanie Brown vs. an entire school of assassins? Never shown.
  • Oh, Crap!: Hurt knows he's completely and utterly FUCKED when he sees the trail of dominoes the Joker has set for him, because he knows death awaits at the other end.
  • Only the Pure of Heart: The Fountaion of Life, which Ra's considers to be the source of the Lazarus Pit is one such artifact, as despite the Sensei being warned that he can't touch it and his intention to taint it, when he ends up in it during his fight with Batman, he's destroyed while Batman is healed of the injuries the Sensei inflicted on him.
  • Pet the Dog: The first thing we see Damian do as Batman in the Bad Future? Save a little girl from one of Professor Pyg's acid-spewing dollotrons.
  • Pocket Protector: In Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne, an amnesiac Bruce Wayne wakes up in hospital; his life apparently having been saved from a bullet by Mordecai Wayne's journal he was carrying in his pocket.
  • Properly Paranoid: Man-Of-Bats has multiple run-ins with Sam Black-Elk, the son of his old archenemy, and is totally convinced that he's running the drug trade in the area and following in his father's footsteps. The truth is, if anything, even worse than that; Sam's an agent of Leviathan, sent to kill off Man-Of-Bats and Red Raven.
  • Pure Is Not Good: The drug lord El Penitente goes through severe scourging to absolve himself of sin, cleansing his soul to pointedly free him to commit further atrocities. Subverted when it turns out it's just another alias of Simon Hurt, a devil-worshipper.
  • Put on a Bus: Up until Batman Incorporated, Morrison's run excludes a portion of Batman's supporting cast (particularly Oracle, Huntress, the police other than Gordon) as well as most of his rogues gallery (with the main exceptions being The Joker and Talia, as well as brief appearances by Harley, Deathstroke and Langstrom) in favor of new characters as well as the characters being brought back from obscurity. Although on the flipside, most of the characters he ignores are covered in Paul Dini's Bat-books. This is a Justified Trope in that most of the Rogues Gallery is in either Arkham or prison
  • Race Lift: There is a trio of obscure female Batman villains from back in the 1960's named Tiger Moth, Silken Spider, and Dragon Fly. In their first (and for several decades, ONLY) appearance, all three women were white. When they finally reappeared 40 years later during The Resurrection of Ra's Al Ghul storyline, Silken Spider was now shown to be black, while Dragon Fly was Asian-American.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Flamingo can take a lot of punishment in that flamboyant ensemble.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: The Joker gleefully gives one to the Black Glove.
    "I'll bet that you have no idea who you're dealing with."
  • Reconstruction: A common theme of Morrison's. This is essentially meant to show that all of the goofier stuff (such as Silver Age stories and plot devices) can still be awesome if done right, and that Batman can be cool and entertaining even if he isn't a brooding grimdark Anti-Hero.
  • Redeeming Replacement: The new Wingman has to make up for the original one's betrayal of Batman. Turns out he's Jason Todd, the Back from the Dead second Robin, who is simultaneously redeeming himself too.
  • Retraux: Batman #668 (from The Black Glove) flashes back to a Silver Age art style, shoddy newsprint ink and all.
  • The Reveal:
    • The Resurrection of Ra's al Ghul revealed that the Sensei was Ra's's father.
    • You know what Gravediggers are also referred to in Shakespearean literature? Clowns. Now what is old Oberon's real name again?
    • After the Black Glove's escape from Arkham, it had been revealed that almost all of the core members were murdered over the course of several months. At first, we are lead to believe that it was due to the League of Assassins. As it turns out, not only was the League not responsible, all the murders had a striking similarity to them: they were murdered in such a way that only the Joker would find them funny.
    • Doctor Hurt is a result of Darkseid's fall through space and time prior to Final Crisis. More specifically, Doctor Hurt was "Thomas Wayne", an 18th century ancestor of Bruce Wayne's who worshipped a Bat Devil known as "Barbatos". However, "Barbatos" turned out to be Darkseid's Omega Adaptor, which turned Thomas immortal and insane (moreso). Bruce's parents tried to help Hurt by putting him in Willowood Asylum (a reference to an old Silver Age story where Bruce has a brother, Thomas Wayne Jr, who went insane and had to be put in an asylum), but he didn't want their pity, so (after they were dead) Hurt arranged to tarnish their names and summon "Barbatos" again using a secret box that's said to bring about the end of the world when opened. What's inside the box, though? A batarang and a note that says "Gotcha".
    • The Heretic, Talia's Elite Mook in Batman Incorporated, is a clone of Damian birthed inside of a whale.
  • Revival Loophole: Used in the final issue of The Return of Bruce Wayne — Bruce Wayne has been imbued with dangerous Omega energies that are destroying the fabric of reality and will cling to him until he dies. The solution the Justice League finds is to medically stop Bruce's heart, which allows the Omega Energy to dissipate harmlessly, after which they manage to resuscitate him.
  • Rewatch Bonus: Once you know that Oberon Sexton is really the Joker and that he's been working against Simon Hurt from the start of Batman and Robin, nearly all of his dialogue and the "dominoes" theme take on additional meaning, providing considerable Foreshadowing.

    S - Z 
  • Sequel Hook:
    • After Knight is killed in action, a government official reminds the British Prime Minister that there's still a Lazarus Pit laying around somewhere in England as shown in Batman And Robin, hinting that Knight has a chance to resurrect as well as Morrison giving future writers a backdoor if they aren't in the mood to use Beryl Hutchinson as the new Knight.
    • In the finale, Ra's al Ghul recovers Damian and Talia's bodies and begins cloning an army of Damians.
  • Ship Tease: Dark Ranger II and Squire get really flirty with each other and are mentioned to have been inseparable after their first exchange of communication. If they got together, Batman Incorporated doesn't show it.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns:
    • Occurs in-universe; Batman is so embarrassed by many of his sillier adventures that he hides away all evidence of them, only saying they occurred in the Black Casebook.
    • Bat-Mite (even though he's more creepy than comic relief in this depiction) leaves Batman before he enters Arkham for the big confrontation with Dr. Hurt.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Swagman's armour is very clearly modelled on that of Ned Kelly.
    • In Batman Incorporated (vol. 2) #11, a Japanese villainess refers to a schoolgirl as "Sailor Pizza Face".
    • Batman Japan's post-New 52 costume was explicitly inspired by that of the original Kamen Rider, according to the artist.
    • The crime boss Small Fry, and his heavy Bully, are visually based on The Dandy characters Bully Beef and Chips.
  • Shrouded in Myth: One of the aspects of Batman Incorporated is bringing this facet of the Batman mythos to the fore — Batman is now everywhere. He's black, he's white, he's a woman, he can fly, he's Bruce Wayne, he was never any one person... Bruce actually spreads these rumors himself on various chatrooms and message boards.
  • Smug Super:
    • Wingman and El Gaucho practically duel to see who gets to embody this trope; Wingman insists he came up with the "dark knight" persona before Batman did, while El Gaucho thinks Wingman is a scrub because he's never been mind controlled by a gorilla.
    • Red Hood believed his was the next epoch in crime fighting. Then he got shot in the face.
  • Superman Stays Out of Gotham:
    • The events of Batman Incorporated has worldwide ramifications that sends Gotham into a state of anarchy and chaos that has deteriorated to the point of Batman becoming a wanted vigilante for the first time since his inception. Despite this, none of the Justice League, which Batman is a member of both before and during the New 52, seem to take notice and lend a hand.
    • The Return of Bruce Wayne averts this, as it deals with the Justice League trying to figure out how to prevent Batman from destroying the universe. However, come Batman And Robin's "Batman and Robin Must Die!" arc (which happens simultaneously as Return) and the Justice League don't join Batman in taking back Gotham. After this, Morrison's run separates itself completely from the larger DC universe.
  • Take That!:
    • The Red Hood is laughably self-conscious about his branding as a Nineties Antihero. The Wingman plays this role earlier, making it especially appropriate that Jason Todd eventually atones by adopting and redeeming the Wingman identity as part of Batman Incorporated
    • The later issues of Batman Incorporated contain a heavy stream of Take Thats at DC, the New 52, and the very concept of Status Quo Is God, finally culminating in Talia telling Batman to just go back to beating up mental patients before Kathy Kane, a character who hadn't appeared for decades, shoots her in the head.
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: Red Hood poisons Blackgate Prison this way, with 82 confirmed dead and hundreds more in critical condition as part of his gambit to kill every inmate.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: The Hood and el Gaucho really don't like each other, due in no small part to the lasting enmity between Britain and Argentina. They still manage to work as a team when both join Batman Incorporated.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • The Batmen of All Nations started out as a bunch of superhero wannabes. By the time the Black Glove arc starts, most of them had successfully established themselves as competent crime-fighters.
      • The Gaucho is considered an A-List superhero in Argentina and one of the most competent people at Mayhew's get-together. To drive this further home, the Gaucho saves Batman at one point, and Batman thanks him.
      • Inverted with the Legionary, who let his city fall into the hands of Charlie Caligula and has let himself go badly. Instead he spends his time regaling himself on past victories when not stuffing his face or wallowing in misery. Though he does go out heroically.
    • Morrison's reworking of Kathy Kane, the first Batwoman, in Batman Incorporated #4. Originally a circus stuntwoman who inherited money from a dead uncle and later became a token "girlfriend figure" for Batman, Kathy Kane (nee Web) is reimagined as a stuntwoman, an underground film director, and an author before she married Nathan Kane. After he died, Kathy was approached by a representative of the spy organization called Spyral, and joined as part of an investigation into the life of Batman. Kathy legitimately fell in love with Batman and decided to quit Spyral after learning the organization was run by Otto Netz, a.k.a. Doctor Daedalus. She then becomes the Headmistress of Spyral/Agent Zero and has been acting as a mole in Leviathan along with her young operatives. She ends up shooting Talia in the head.
  • Verbal Tic: Bruce's "hh" carries over from Morrison's previous works, and Damian is shown to have a similar "tt".
  • Victory by Endurance: During The Resurrection of Ra's al Ghul, Batman fought the Sensei, who had centuries more experience. Despite not landing a blow during the fight, the damage the Sensei did, and Sensei's taunt that he wouldn't last a minute, Batman manages to make the Sensei sweat and outlast him.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Though they start out hating each other, Hood and El Gaucho develop mutual respect after working together.
  • Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?: In the final issue of Batman and Robin, Bruce speaks to a large crowd and asks them if they have ever wondered how Batman has access to all his advanced equipment. He responds that it's because he has been funding Batman all along. This ties in to the beginning of Batman Incorporated.
  • Word-Salad Horror: Professor Pyg is a somewhat more realistic depiction of insanity than most of Batman's foes in that most of what he says is complete gibberish.
    "On Mondays it's Tiamat this and Tiamat that. Tohu va Bohu and boo-hoo-hoo. On Tuesdays the Gorgon Queen comes to visit, a thousand writhing snakes for hair. That's what it's like to grow upside down in a world where a hug is a crucifixion..."

Alternative Title(s): Grant Morrisons Batman