Only one comic for me this week: the latest Metal from DC. And it’s oh, so scary!
Another “Dark Multiverse” alternate Earth, another twisted!fusion!Batman. I am impressed with how each of these is unique in its own way; it would be easy to simply fuse Batman with a different superhero and let that be its uniqueness, but these origins (so far!) are more than that. In The Red Death and The Murder Machine, Bruce Wayne has been Batman for some time before he fuses with, respectively, Flash and Cyborg. In The Dawnbreaker, Bruce becomes a Green Lantern first, and only later takes on the Bat mantle.
And, oh boy, it works!
(Here is where I must confess that I am fairly ignorant when it comes to the Green Lantern Corps. Almost everything I know is gleaned from the movie that everyone hates and from The Big Bang Theory. So this is just my response to the comic.)
Everyone knows Batman’s origin story. The boy who witnesses his parents die in an alley, who trained himself to fight crime. The details change, Bruce’s motives fluctuate, but everyone knows the basic scene. So it’s powerful here to see that origin scene twisted into something new. Young Bruce Wayne, afraid during the robbery, his feelings shut down with the shock when his parents die. It’s a natural reaction that would have given way to the normal reactions of grief, except that in that moment a Green Lantern ring appears before him and Bruce accepts it.
But he uses the ring to chase down his parents’ killer. Who wouldn’t, if offered that kind of power moments after a trauma like that? It’s not supposed to be possible to kill using the ring’s power, but this is Bruce Wayne and he pours everything he has into forcing the power to obey him. If it were any other character it would seem implausible but that steely determination and strength of will are, in a sense, Bruce’s superpower. In breaking the ring to his will, Bruce makes both it and himself into something else.
And the tale gets darker from there. The Murder Machine was heartbreaking. Though this origin is similarly rooted in loss, it doesn’t touch me the same way. No, this one scares me, I mean it’s really terrifying. That much power in the hands of a man with the strength and intelligence of Bruce Wayne, but the psychopathy of his worst villains. Yeah, that’s scary.