It’s a significant moment in a comic book’s history when it reaches #666 (though; not that a lot have). Not only because it represents a milestone in the publication’s history but also because of the preconceived link between “666″ and the biblical “Number of the Beast” which has given the number it’s own special haunting, similar to Friday the 13th. So…slap together an unholy issue number along with Grant Morrison’s twisted mind and what you do you get?
You get a [possible] future for Batman unlike anything we’ve ever seen before; with clues and hints littered everywhere into the forthcoming of Grant’s run. Looking back this issue has a lot more significance now than when first published, and so I’m going to point out some of the clues and see if we can’t get a tiny peak into the future of Batman.
Ironically enough the issue starts with Batman’s origin, but not the origin were accustomed to, the Damian-Batman origin (all of which we haven’t seen yet), and if you read too fast several things could be overlooked. Right off the bat Grant is throwing some major clues to us. Here are two quotes from the story…
“In an artificial womb, Damian was engineered to kill and replace his famous father.”
“Now, driven by guilt and haunted by his legacy Damian Wayne walks a lonely path…” (the panel attached to this narration shows a young Damian screaming over what appears to be a dead Batman. Click below or scroll down to see panel.)
“Engineered to kill and replace his famous father”? Could this be Talia or Ra’s ultimate goal? Have Bruce train the person that eventually will turn on him? This would certainly make sense given Ra’s respect for Bruce and ever mission to become more powerful. And what better way than to have Batman and one of the biggest companies in the world in your pocket? And we know who Talia is always more loyal to. Morrison has dealt with mental triggers being turned on in Batman RIP, is there a mental trigger for Damian? And in that panel with the dead Batman, now that Dick Grayson has taken over the role we can’t be sure who’s behind the cowl. Does Damian feel guilty for killing Batman? Perhaps he does so unknowingly or is forced (CLICK HERE to see origin story).
So many questions.
The story springs into action and right away we are set into a future that only now can we more fully appreciate. Batman is fighting one of Professor Pyg’s Dollotron’s and after taking it down (in an extremely violent manner) he’s approached by the commissioner of police, Barbara Gordon. Who by the way, is still in a wheelchair (no thanks to The Cure). They banter back and forth and Batman pulls his typical flashbang-and-I’m-out routine. The only real takeaway from this dialogue is that Commissioner Gordon is dead and Barbara is clearly not in the loop with Batman anymore. Things get a little gritty though when a guard notes, “Sir. Professor Pyg…” and revealed to us is a most gruesome upside down crucifixion of Professor Pyg with an added steak through the back of the throat. Now, at the time of Batman #666′s first publication we had no idea who Professor Pyg was but now we know more than we wish to.
As Batman gets to his cave we learn more details of Pyg’s death and get an interesting peak into Damian’s version of being Batman (the tiny details I’ll leave for you to discover on your own). Turns out that all of Morrison’s new villains were murdered by the devil, “or at least something exists which might as well be the devil.” As Damian says. But he goes on to give us another clue into the death of Batman…
“But I wonder if his royal highness, the Anti-Christ, knows anything about the bargain I made at the crossroads on the night The Batman died.”
Veeeeery interesting. It’s only moments later, during the confrontation between Lane-Batman and Batman, it’s revealed that Damian and Lane both made ‘bargains’ of their own and apparently to the same man. They then go into an all-out brawl which ends with more blood than a Tarantino film. The end of this story is so monumentally awesome that I’ll reserve from trying to explain it in text, I wouldn’t do it any justice, but despite being the end of an awesome story and possibly Morrison’s story there aren’t any more clues into how we got there. I would encourage you to check it out for yourself if you haven’t already. And if your lazy and don’t mind some squinting, just CLICK HERE and HERE for some panels from the end.
So in a nutshell here are the most major clues into the future of Morrison’s run in Batman #666…
- Damian was engineered to kill and replace his father
- Batman dies when Damian is 14, we don’t know which Batman. He also feels guilty about it.
- Damian makes a “bargain” with someone the night of Batman’s death
- Lane-Batman makes a “bargain” of his own with the same person as Damian does and apparently wasnt faking the anit-christ thing.
- All 4 of the new major Batman crime lords, Candyman, Professor Pyg, Phosphorus Rex, and Loveless die at the hands of Lane-Batman
What does all this mean? Is Grant Morrison just using the significance of the issue’s number to throw out an alternate take on Batman’s future using his story as a catalyst or is this a possible reality? Is this what could happen if some people don’t make some different decisions? Does Damian kill Bruce or Dick? Does he make a deal with Devil? Or is all this a smoke screen, or should we be taking notes?…No matter what you have to tip your hat to Grant Morrison. He takes a lot of heat for his run on Batman but looking back it’s obvious that he was setting things in motion for some GREAT story telling. This issue, whether it’s story turns out to be canon or not, is littered with hints towards his future work and in itself is one heck of a story. Going back and giving this a second read is like watching the Sixth Sense for the second time and having all those, “Ooooh” moments.
If Batman #666 shows us anything it’s that Grant gets Batman and he’s going to deliver badassery in spades.
If you haven’t already go back to this issue. It’s worth it.