Grant Morrison is easily one of the most influential and unique comic book creators in the history of the medium. Combining powerful stories with a focus on out-of-the-box thinking, Morrison has created some of the weirdest and most high concept comic book storylines ever. While the author has shown his ability to take psychedelic thinking and push the comic book medium in new directions in stories such as The Invisibles and Flex Mentallo, Morrison also showed a flair for new forms of superhero storytelling through his work on Justice League, Superman, and more.
When Morrison returned to the world of Batman in 2006 with Batman #655, his first solo Batman story since Arkham Asylum in 1989, the author kicked off a story that would span almost a decade. His new take on the character of Batman and the creation of an engrossing storyline that would wrap around the world and centuries of human history became a defining saga. Including international heroes, time travelling, murder mysteries, the apocalypse, and more, Morrison’s Batman tale shows the unmatched power of comic books.
A Deep Dive into Batman’s History
From the very beginning, Morrison had one unique aspect to his take on Batman that previous authors had not considered: everything in the nearly 75-year history of The Caped Crusader was cannon. This means brooding vigilante tales of the 1940s, trippy 1960s cosmic adventures, psychotic 1980s detective stories, and more all truly happened to The Dark Knight featured in modern DC Comics. How did all of this happen? According to Morrison, each decade could be taken as a year or two in the hero’s superhero career.
Starting off as a dark and deadly vigilante powered by his anger and hate, Batman eventually became a hero in need of the levity brought by Robin. The many chemical exposures caused by Joker, Scarecrow, and more led to lengthy hallucinations, explaining the trippy tales of the ‘50s and ‘60s. Of course, all this took a toll, leading to a much darker Batman represented in later stories. Together, they form a diverse and highly-prepared modern Batman.
This also means that characters and story developments long ignored by authors and editors were now up for grabs once again. Faced with a reunion of The Club of Heroes, Batman and Robin are pulled into a classic murder mystery that leads to the death of many colorful and strangely dated adventurers. A hallucination of Robin’s death from 1963’s “Robin Dies at Dawn” leads to the inclusion of Dr. Hurt, a megalomaniac who is devoted to the destruction of Batman. These many different elements create a dynamic take on Batman that allowed Morrison to spread his wings and keep from being stagnant.
The colorful and wild result was nothing short of brilliant.