Batman gets taken on a apperception cruise in this week's Batman Lost, a one-shot by writers Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, and Joshua Williamson that explains some of the beyond questions from the Aphotic Nights: Metal event.
Spoilers advanced for this week's Batman Lost.
At the affection of the chance is the affirmation by Barbatos that he was the bat alfresco the window who started Bruce Wayne on his chance to become Batman. In fact, Barbatos claims to acquire been manipulating Batman's absolute history so he would one day become the barge Barbatos bare to cantankerous into the DCU.
Featuring art by Doug Mahnke, Yanick Paquette, and Jorge Jimenez, the affair shows what is accident to Bruce Wayne in the Aphotic Multiverse, area he was transported at the end of Aphotic Nights: Metal #2.
The aboriginal three issues of Metal (by Snyder and Greg Capullo) appear that Batman had been apparent to bristles metals so he would become a animal aperture for the angry Barbatos to access the DCU.
Now, while the animal (and added evils from the Aphotic Multiverse) are wreaking calamity on the capital DC earth, Batman is trapped in Barbatos' home world, the Aphotic Multiverse, area fears become real.
What did we apprentice in Batman Absent that's so important?
And although the issue's scene-jumping is a little disorienting, it manages to pay admiration to Batman belief of the accomplished - decidedly those by Grant Morrison and the Peter Milligan chance that aboriginal alien the abstraction of Barbatos - while assuming the animal accuracy of both Batman's accomplished and his fears about the future.
So how did this apperception cruise awning all those bases?
The affair opens with a Bruce Wayne who is 78-years-old and is presumedly retired from actuality Batman. On the issue's aboriginal page, he's sitting in an armchair in his mansion's library.
He looks anon into the "camera"/fourth bank and says, "I see you" (mimicking Morrison's allegorical Animal Man breaking-the-fourth-wall story).
But the actuality he sees is his granddaughter Janet (one of abounding Wayne grandchildren, apparently), who walks through the aperture to the allowance and asks her grandpa to apprehend her a chance - specifically, a "Batman adventure."
With a nod to DC's alteration continuity, Bruce says he wrote bottomward all of his adventures and that "half of them belie the other, but they still all happened - I affiance you that."
After that alarmist moment - they all still happened! - Janet chooses from the shelf "The Case of the Chemical Syndicate," which Bruce says was his aboriginal case. (This chance is, indeed, the name of the aboriginal Batman chance by Bill Finger and Bob Kane from Detective Comics #27.) Readers are apparent a shelf featuring books that acquire the titles of several added acclaimed Batman stories.
Batman says he doesn't appetite to apprehend that story. He suggests article added exciting, from aback he was added accomplished at actuality Batman - "maybe the case of the Long Halloween?" he says - but Janet claims that this chance is her favorite.
So aged Bruce starts account the story...
Windows and Stairs
The aboriginal folio of the Batman chance is a window, which Bruce initially thinks is the amiss beginning, but is assertive by Janet that it's accurate. "It all started with a window…." Bruce says.
(Sidenote here: It all absolutely did alpha with a window, as this affair reminds readers. In Batman's banana book continuity, although the arena is sometimes different, Bruce Wayne absitively to become Batman afterwards a bat appeared alfresco his window. Added on that later….)
In the chance that aged Bruce is account to Janet, Batman is investigating the afterlife of Mr. Lambert, and the prime doubtable is his son, who says he saw a "shape at the window." But adolescent Lambert says it's a "curious window - it's consistently covered in blood" because birds run into it.
Batman goes to the window to investigate.
Again, aged Bruce Wayne stops the chance to catechism whether this is the way the chance happened, but Janet assures him that this is the story. "There was consistently blood," she says.
Batman Absent allotment to this chance afresh and afresh during the issue. Eventually, abreast Batman (who's aggravating to escape the Aphotic Multiverse) realizes that the birds who run into the window and aching themselves represent the "birds" in his own activity who are aggravating to advice him (like Robin, Nightwing, Superman, etc.). "I beleaguer myself with them, to admonish me who I am," he says.
This Batman Absent adaptation of the "Chemical Syndicate" chance additionally implies that the villain was absolutely controlled by Barbatos. It was all allotment of a artifice to accomplish Batman into what he would become, the "wagon" for Barbatos to escape the Aphotic Multiverse.
The blood-splattered window is additionally important because, as the affair all-overs to added scenes, abounding of them absorb windows or bottle that can be burst (apparently apery Batman breaking out of the Aphotic Multiverse).
Several additionally affection stairs or ladders that booty Batman bottomward (apparently emblematic Batman affective added into the darkness).
In the issue's narration, Janet consistently encourages Batman to go deeper, bottomward the ladder or stairs, but Bruce's chat has him absent to breach free, through the window, or the "get higher, get out of this abuse place."
More on windows at the end of the issue, but for now, let's analyze some of the added scenes apparent in Batman Lost.
Readers are apparent a pre-historic action amid the Bat-Tribe and the Bird-Tribe. These moments acquire aback to the Acknowledgment of Bruce Wayne storyline by Morrison that beatific Bruce Wayne aback in time.
Bruce is overlooking an ancient, caveman-type action amid a association of the "birds" and one of the "bats," and he's told that the baton of the Bat-Tribe eventually becomes Hath-Set (the Hawkman villain) and the leaders of the Bird-Tribe eventually become Hawkman and Hawkgirl.
The affair reiterates that Bruce's cruise to the pre-historic accomplished is what bent the absorption of Barbatos. He acclimated the Bat-Tribe to access the world, but Barbatos was pushed aback to the Aphotic Multiverse by the Bird-Tribe.
But again he accomplished he could accomplish Bruce Wayne his "ultimate vessel."
In the Aphotic Multiverse, your affliction fears materialize, if alone for a moment. And in this issue, Batman adventures several of his fears for the future, presumedly apparent to him somehow by Barbatos. Batman is acquainted that none of it is real, but it's difficult for the hero nonetheless.
The aboriginal approaching shows what happened aback Damian and added heroes fought with Batman's "codes" - "we fought your way," Damian tells him, "and this is what happened." It appears that this aphotic approaching has rebels who dress themselves with Batman symbols and alike adoration Batman. Damian leads a "Hawk Patrol" that eliminates these Batman followers on sight.
In the abutting future, a adaptation of the Joker is ambassador of Gotham and there are "no rules." In this timeline, Batman "went all in," causing bodies to insubordinate and acquire the bad guys. A approaching adaptation of Green Arrow and Batgirl are actuality pursued by citizens who are dressed like Batman rogues and appetite to annihilate the costumed heroes.
In the third future, the heroes acquire gone to amplitude to "avoid the Justice Wars." In this timeline, the heroes "tried angry with abstemiousness and without," but they concluded up aloof abandoning Earth.
So in added words, these manifestations of Batman's fears of the approaching are appealing hopeless.
Another chance cilia in the affair pays admiration to the "Dark Night, Aphotic City" chance by Peter Milligan and Kieron Dwyer which aboriginal came up with the abstraction of a bat god alleged Barbatos actuality allotment of Batman's history.
Bruce is experiencing the arena aural the alertness of Thomas Wayne, the Revolutionary War-era antecedent of Bruce who has apparent up in antecedent Batman belief (with one chance adage he eventually became Dr. Hurt).
In this scene, a accumulation of Barbatos worshippers are commutual the 'Ceremony of the Bat,' planning to cede a adolescent woman to arouse the bat god. But the plan goes awry, and the men leave and lock the door, accoutrement the adolescent woman to bake to afterlife in the room. The god was summoned, it seems, but he was bound in the ablaze arena beneath Gotham City.
But in this Aphotic Multiverse eyes of the scene, Bruce/Thomas is still in the allowance with the woman, as she tells him the accent of the story.
The nude woman (who looks a lot like Selina Kyle, by the way) speaks anon into the "camera" and tells the chance as if in third-person.
The accumulation who approved to arouse Barbatos was the Judas Tribe, she says. And the men were traitors to the Bird Tribe. (Reminder from antecedent issues: The Judas Association becomes the Court of Owls.)
She says Barbatos sees Bruce as a window, and the Judas Tribe's accomplishments in Gotham's history created him.
"I see you, aloof as he did," she says, alveolate the "I see you" affair from the aboriginal page.
Just as in "Dark Night, Aphotic City," the woman's articulation implies that her cede in the base of Gotham, beneath area the burghal was built, angry the burghal into a behemothic apparatus for Barbatos to eventually return.
Down the Manhole
In addition scene, Bruce takes the alertness of addition Wayne ancestor, Alan Wayne. In the moment Bruce is experiencing, Alan looked through an owl-shaped telescope at the burghal he'd built, but he saw that the metals in the barrio of Gotham were "laced with article terrible" by the Bat-Tribe. And he was attacked by the Court of Owls aloft this realization.
Alan/Bruce ends up on the streets of Gotham, agreeable to anybody that the walls and stones in the barrio "call to the aphotic horned god! The bat!"
He sees Wonder Woman, and it's allegedly in this moment that he determines that maybe he can "call to them" (as apparent in Metal #3). But he avalanche into a manhole - oops - and ancillary note: dying by falling in a manhole was the closing fate of Alan Wayne accustomed in antecedent Batman stories.
OK, so we're starting to get the abstraction that, admitting Bruce aggravating to get out the window to college arena (and out of the Aphotic Multiverse), he keeps falling bottomward lower.
Back to that Window
After all these belief are affectionate of broadcast through the issue, we acknowledgment to the framing chance - the one area grandpa Bruce Wayne is account a chance to Janet.
But this time, Janet's not too blessed with her grandfather. He has afflicted the story. And - yikes - she morphs into some blazon of demon.
Bruce calls out to Barbatos: "Where are you?"
A articulation instructs him to attending abaft it all and see:
This is the dark, abandoned accuracy of Batman, the articulation says.
The aged Bruce looks into the window of his library and sees that the articulation is advancing from a absorption there - a adolescent adaptation of himself. But Bruce recognizes the absorption to be Barbatos.
The animal calls himself the "father," and he says, "I fabricated your story. I've consistently been appropriate actuality at the window."
Then the young-Bruce absorption turns into a bat, aerial aloof alfresco the glass.
"I am the bat," Barbatos says, analytical through the window - apropos to the bat alfresco the window that aggressive Bruce to "become a bat" in banana book continuities.
Bruce refuses to acquire it. He can't acquire that his absolute activity was crafted to aloof accompany Barbatos to Earth. He wants to escape. He all-overs through the window and...
In a two-page spread, Bruce floats afore the abundant Barbatos and he's appearance that there are absolute possibilities for the approaching of Batman - all dark. "This place, my realm," Barbatos says, "is abounding of worlds created from fears and failings, and you acquire added than any added hero, my son."
Barbatos says there are bags of worlds that are "built by the bond terrors in your heart." Readers see assorted planets and altered versions of Batman. None of them, frankly, attending all that inviting.
"This is who you are after my help," Barbatos says. "They are the absolute you."
He shows Batman that, appropriate now, there are aphotic versions of Batman angry on Apple - scenes from Aphotic Nights: Metal #3 and added amalgamation belief - and tells Bruce that "they are you, and they acquire won."
A bat animal yells at Batman, "Look at me! Attending at me!"
Bruce assuredly snaps. "No, please! I don't appetite to apperceive anymore!"
Batman badly screams, "I accord up."
Back in the Library
Sweet Janet is aback on grandpa Bruce Wayne's lap, and he starts the chance over.
But as after panels focus in on Bruce's eye, account the book, it again backs abroad to reveal…
The elderly, aging Bruce Wayne is trapped in a befuddlement on that ability belfry area Superman begin him at the end of Aphotic Nights: Metal #3. (Reminder: There are building like this all over Apple appropriate now, and readers were told that the bodies who are ample aural the belfry are reliving horrors aural their minds - article both Superman and Wonder Woman experienced.)
The affair ends with Batman acutely absent to the dark, with the chance slated to abide December 20 with Aphotic Nights: Metal #4.