- In the cave, in Nanda Parbat, I hunted down and killed and ate the last traces of fear and doubt in my mind. Tell your "dark master," whoever he is, to make his move soon, before I come looking for him. Tell him, he was wrong to wait until I was ready. Tell him... I look forward to facing him.
Batman R.I.P. is a Batman storyline written by Grant Morrison with illustrations by Tony S. Daniel. It's published in the Batman series as part of the larger Morrison's Batman saga. This is preceded by Morrison's The Black Glove arc, and is followed by Last Rites. The story does not involve Batman's death, but leads up to his supposed death in Final Crisis.
There were several companion storylines in related series'. Paul Dini wrote Heart of Hush in Detective Comics, published between Private Casebook and Last Days of Gotham. Peter Tomasi wrote The Great Leap in Nightwing, published following Freefall and concluding the series. Frank Tieri wrote Outsiders No More in Batman and the Outsiders, published between The Snare and The Deep. Fabian Nicieza wrote Scattered Pieces in Robin, published between Violent Tendencies and Search for a Hero.
In a private meeting, Batman talks to the Joker and asks him about the Black Glove. Joker explains that some very bad men are coming to hurt him, and uses playing cards to deal a dead man's hand. Batman notices the Joker making a pattern of red and black, which he takes to symbolize good and evil, life and death, the joke and the punchline. He is unable to get information, but remarks that if he was scared he wouldn't be Batman.
Doctor Hurt prepares his organization The Black Glove for a "Danse Macabre," assembling the Club of Villains and Le Bossu. Batman and Robin take the new Batmobile out for a test drive, dealing with a new villain called the Green Vulture. Bruce begins spending more time with his girlfriend Jezebel Jet, who receives a "Danse Macabre" invitation. Tim worries about Bruce's mental health since the Thögal Ritual, as he has become obsessed with the Black Glove conspiracy. Alfred insists they must never underestimate Bruce's mind. Tim is still upset that no one has told him the results of Damian Wayne's paternity test. The Black Glove invite Joker to be part of their plan.
Batman fights Bossu's gargoyle henchmen, who secretly dose him with librium. Jim Gordon is approached by a reporter who's received scandalous pictures of Thomas and Martha Wayne, indicating that they were perverted drug addicts. He learns that "The Black Glove" is one of John Mayhew's movies, about two innocent lovers corrupted and destroyed by a group of super-rich gamblers. Bruce shows Jezebel the Batcave, and she expresses concern that he's not mentally well. He explains that the Black Glove seems to know everything about him, and he's using the Batcomputer to look for patterns. Jezebel suggests that Bruce might be the Black Glove. The test results show the phrase "Zur En Arrh" all over Gotham, but Bruce sees only static. Jezebel says the phrase out loud and his mind completely shuts. Hurt's minions enter the Batcave, and Bossu beats Alfred with a club.
They drug Bruce with heroin and crystal meth, then dump him into the streets without his mind. Hurt puts on Thomas Wayne's Batman Costume and toasts to crime. The Club of Villains are sent to kill Batman's allies. Robin is attacked by Pierrot Lunaire and Swagman while reading the Black Casebook, but he escapes. Nightwing is captured by Scorpiana, who bring him to Arkham Asylum as a patient. Bruce is woken by the homeless drug-addict Honor Jackson, who he'd given money to the previous night. Bruce and Honor travel the city in Honor's pursuit for drugs, while Bruce slowly puts himself back together. Honor gives Bruce a broken radio he calls the Bat-Radia, then tells him to talk to the drug dealer Lone-Eye Lincoln and disappears. Lincoln is located on Crime Alley, and he explains that Honor died the previous day after overdosing with the money Bruce gave him. Bat-Mite appears and Bruce sews himself a brightly-colored new costume, announcing himself as the Batman of Zur-En-Arrh.
Batman runs around in his new costume talking to Bat-Mite and the city itself. Bat-Mite explains that Hurt developed Zur-En-Arrh as a trigger phrase to switch off Batman. Batman thinks of everything, and he created the "Batman of Zur-En-Arrh" as a back-up personality to protect himself from such an attack. This streamlines his mind by removing Bruce so that only a crazed Batman is left. Robin escapes from Swagman to alert Knight and Squire that Batman is in trouble. Gordon arrives at Wayne Manor, and finds it booby-trapped by El Sombrero. Batman takes down Charlie Caligula and King Kraken, then interrogates Caligula by beating him with a bat. Hurt claims to Alfred that he is actually Thomas Wayne, and accuses Alfred of fathering Bruce in an affair with Martha. Le Bossu has Jeremiah Arkham beaten and takes control of Arkham Asylum, where they intend to hold the Danse Macabre. Jezebel is dragged inside, and Sombrero greets the Joker who is finishing his color theme of red and black.
Hurt assembles a group of extremely wealthy gamblers to bet on whether Batman will live or die. Bossu tells the Joker he idolizes him, and Joker disfigures his face so he doesn't need a mask. Joker takes out El Sombrero, and Hurt tells him that it's now his turn in the plan. Batman enters Arkham, but Bat-Mite insists he must stay outside. Bat-Mite explains that he is Bruce's fading echo of reason, and reason won't fit through those doors. Batman asks if Bat-Mite is a hyper-imp from the 5th Dimension or a figment of his imagination, and Bat-Mite replies that the 5th Dimension is imagination. Gordon is rescued from Wayne Manor by Damian and Talia al Ghul, who explain that they are looking for Batman. Batman fights his way through henchmen looking for the Joker, as the Joker taunts him over the intercom. Batman yells that he figured out the red and black pattern, but Joker explains the real joke is that there never was a pattern. He bursts in on the Joker, demanding to see Jezebel. They fight and Joker taunts him for trying to understand his madness, having made an even more brutal evolution. Bruce takes his hood off and sees Jezebel about to be killed with toxin through a window. He bursts through and succumbs to the poison, while Jezebel puts a black glove on and reveals that she was the villain all along.
Batman wakes up wearing a straitjacket and buried inside a coffin. In flashback he remembers the Thögal ritual, and his conversation with a monk afterward about a "hole" he saw in his mind. The monk he spoke to about this was an assassin, who poisoned his cup and delivered a message from his "dark master." Bruce had instinctively switched the cups while his killer blinked, and saved the man's life with an improvised antidote. Robin is finally cornered by Pierrot and Swagman, but Knight and Squire arrive with the Club of Heroes to rescue him. Hurt and Jet explain to their guests that Batman will be raised when he's brain-damaged from oxygen deprivation. Joker kills one member of the Glove, and places a bet that Batman will rise up and destroy them. Joker handles the Bat-Radia, and they're horrified to realize Batman converted it to override Arkham's security system. Bossu attempts to lobotomize the comatose Nightwing, but Nightwing wakes up and punches him in the face. Batman easily escapes from his straitjacket, breaks his way through the coffin and climbs up through the soil. Joker laughts at the Glove's misfortune and leaves, while Batman finally arrives to take them down. He explains that he suspected Jet all along, and played along to discover her plan. Joker escapes in an ambulance, but Damian runs him off the road in the Batmobile. Batman chases Hurt outside and confronts him on the roof. Hurt shoots him, still claiming to be his father. He describes himself as the "hole in things" and threatens to expose Bruce's parents as perverts and drug addicts unless he serves the Black Glove. Bruce refuses and Hurt escapes into a helicopter piloted by the Bat-Devil. Bruce jumps on and punches through the windshield, causing the helicopter to explode over the river. Nightwing stands over the river holding Batman's cowl. Jezebel flies away in her plane swearing revenge, but the flight is destroyed by Talia's Man-Bat Commandos. In a flash-forward, six months later Batman and Robin are seen taking down Bossu. In flashback, Bruce remembers seeing The Mark of Zorro on the night his parents were killed. He idolized Zorro, but his father explained "they'd probably throw someone like Zorro in Arkham."
The Great Leap
Published under the Batman R.I.P. banner, but set after it, this story deals with Nightwing fighting against Batman's rogues gallery. Two-Face tasks Nightwing to protect an old flame of Harvey Dent's, Carol Bermingham, a witness in a high profile mob trial. While Nightwing manages to save her, escort her to court, and lock her safely in one of Batman's safe houses, he's shot by bullets coated in the Scarecrow's fear toxin. Temporarily incapacitated, Nightwing's unable to save Bermingham from her killer: Two-Face himself, in a completely uncharacteristic portrayal of Harvey Dent and Two-face as two beings inside one body, each unaware of the other's actions. While Nightwing still blames himself for the happening, Two-Face blames the entire Gotham City for being able to act unstopped, and plans vengeance on the whole city. In the end, Nightwing saves the city from Two-Face's plan to attack the city with airship loaded with the acid that scarred Harvey Dent's face.
Heart of Hush
Having heard that the Black Glove plans to kill Batman, Hush returns to Gotham City to destroy Batman before they can strike. Hush seeks revenge on Bruce Wayne's loved ones, and after targeting Zatanna and Catwoman, he manages to capture the latter and removes her heart from her body. He leaves her hooked to a cardiopulmonary machine, keeping Batman distracted with the help of the Scarecrow. Batman is able to follow the clues leading to Hush's whereabouts, but Elliot, revealing how being discovered was another part of the plan, douses Batman with a muscle relaxant gas while showing him the complex machinery keeping Selina's heart alive and pumping. While Batman is paralyzed, Elliot reveals to have given himself, by plastic surgery, an exact replica of Bruce Wayne's face. He plans to kill and disfigure Bruce, and using his resemblance to him to inflitrate the Batcave, kill Alfred, Dick Grayson and Tim Drake, convince the Justice League about his intention of retiring the Batman identity, resign from the Wayne Enterprise and escape.
However, Batman is able to stave off the effects of the paralysis gas, recover Selina's heart, and warn Alfred Pennyworth of Thomas' deception. Hush manages to get into the Batcave where he nearly kills Batman, but Alfred's continuing interference and the arrival of Nightwing and Robin turn the tide. Hush retreats on the Whirly-Bat (a one man helicopter), but his bandages become tangled in the rotor and it explodes.
Batman, Nightwing, and Robin can find no trace of Hush save some bloody bandages, and count him dead. Catwoman, not taking chances and seeking some form of closure for her predicament and her current condition (Doctor Mid-Nite made clear that it is unlikely she'll be ever able to regain her physical prowess), has Oracle, Holly Robinson, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn and Slam Bradley track down Hush's secret bank accounts and stashes of cash and cut them off. Hush, wounded but alive, limps off to plot his next move.
Posing as Bruce Wayne, Hush travels to Australia and Vietnam looting Wayne's cash accounts in the companies he owns there. He is captured by Catwoman who knows perfectly well he is not the real Wayne. He's then given in custody to Nightwing and Robin who, rather than bring him into police custody, keep him contained in a secret safehouse. Elliot, still wearing Bruce's appearance, decides to fake his surrender, waiting for the right moment to escape.
Outsiders No More
After the events of Batman RIP, the Outsiders have been depleted. Batgirl embarks in an unsuccessful mission to find and retrieve Batman, witnessing how the past events tipped the scales in the Gotham microcosm, as the Penguin no longer controls Gotham Underworld, given to Intergang by Libra, Nightwing is still readjusting after the traumatic ordeal of his imprisonment, and crime runs rampant in the streets. When Batgirl surrenders, a message from Batman arrives to the Outsiders' HQ, asking for his former teammates help. Batgirl, tapping into her ability to read body language, identifies the message as a fake, but the other Outsiders don't believe her, and accordingly to instructions from "Batman", they feed a secret code into ReMAC's cybernetic mind. The code is revealed a creation of Simon Hurt, that makes ReMAC, with Miandad's mind still trapped into, explode. Salah Miandad dies, Metamorpho is discorporated and Thunder falls into a deep coma from which she can never emerge. As the other members blame Batman for having abandoned them in the moment of need, and Batgirl from keeping her loyalty to him intact, the now disgraced Cassandra, after discovering an encrypted message in which Simon Hurt takes credit for the ruse costing her the team, vows to assemble a new team of Outsiders and avenge Batman and her fallen teammates. Doctor Kirk Langstrom leaves her his calling card, promising to help.
As she goes about her plan, she is stopped by Nightwing, still reeling from his own adventures but determined to take control of the Outsiders. As the two heroes fight for Batman's legacy, Intergang moves into Gotham under the control of a capo named Johnny Stitches.
Robin reflects on his activities with Nightwing during the Thögal Ritual. He reads through the Black Casebook and worries that Batman has really gone crazy. Tim asks Jamie Harper to check GCPD files, explaining that he needs someone he can trust as much as Batman trusts Jim Gordon. Spoiler joins him fighting his way across Gotham to find Bruce, and they take down the Sprang Bridge Soldiers together. After paying the Penguin to help him find Batman, he swears that he will save him or take him down. Jason Bard insists he hasn't seen Batman in weeks. Harper is targeted by corrupt cops in her department Marcus Wise and Roman Cavallo. Tim takes down Swagman and steals his bike when he's ambushed. Spoiler sabotages Tim's attempts to find Batman, and eventually he realizes she is doing this. She explains that Batman told her to. Batman believes Tim will one day have to carry on in his absence, so he instructed Stephanie to prevent Tim from intervening. Tim is furious at Stephanie, but swears he will protect Gotham even if Batman has truly gone.
Items: None known.
Vehicles: None known.
Weapons: None known.
- No special notes.
- No trivia.
- Batman (Volume 1)
- Batman (Volume 2)
- Batman and Robin (Volume 1)
- Batman and Robin (Volume 2)
- Batman Confidential
- Batman: Gotham Knights
- Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight
- Batman: Shadow of the Bat
- Batman: Streets of Gotham
- Batman Incorporated
- Batman: The Dark Knight (Volume 1)
- Batman: The Dark Knight (Volume 2)
- Detective Comics (Volume 1)
- Detective Comics (Volume 2)
- Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (Volume )
Links and References
- Batman R.I.P. at Wikipedia.org
- "Dan DiDio on Batman R.I.P." at Newsarama
- Decoding Batman RIP and Final Crisis
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