It's a big time for the revival of characters not initially created by Grant Morrison, but who they are much associated with, to make a return to Batman comic books. As if there is a concurrent Morrison tribute act going pon across titles. Big final page spoilers for today's Batman #126 below. As well as for last week's Detective Comics #1063.
Barbatos is the 8th spirit named among the list of 72 demons in The Lesser Key of Solomon, an anonymous grimoire on demonology compiled in the mid-17th century, from 15th-century originals.
In the eighties, Grant Morrison and Dave McKean created the concept of a bat demon behind atrocities in Gotham in their Arkham Asylum graphic novel. In the nineties, Peter Milligan and Kieron Dwyer told the story of Dark Knight, Dark City, in which a Bat demon called Barbathos was summoned by eighteenth-century Gothamites, infects the city and is behind the murder of Bruce Wayne's parents and the creation of Batman.
In the noughties, Morrison and Tony S Daniel returned to the idea in Batman R.I.P with a secret society headed by Dr. Simon Hurt, a worshipper of the Bat God now named Barbatos., looking to replace Batman with more easily controlled substitutes. Morrison would later reveal that the concept of Barbatos was the creation of Bruce Wayne being flung back through time creating bat echoes which were built upon.
Later, in the teens, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo would join the Court of Owls to Barbatos, and then make the Bat god real as a central figure in the Dark Multiverse Metal storylines, as a god of the Dark Multiverse and creator of the Dark Knights such as the Batman Who Laughs as his soldiers.
But Barbatos, as a concept, remains linked most to Grant Morrison.
And in last week's Detective Comics #1063, Barbatos made a reappearance, by Si Spurrier – often seen as a modern-day Grant Morrison – and Dani.
The return, in dreams perhaps, but that is where all gods are real, in the minds of men. Or Batmen.
While today's Batman #126 by Chip Zdarsky and Jorge Jimenez sees Batman fighting Failsafe, a robotic foes who seems to know all his moves and then some besides.
Who may have some Amazo tech, from the sixties' Amazo robot that could absorb super powers and abilities of its foes. So while in Detective Comics #1063, Bruce Wayne wakes from the nightmare of Barbatos…
In Batman #126 he stares at what he once unleashed and is now unleashing again.
"A failsafe for a failsafe".
Zur-En-Arrh. The Batman of Zur-En-Arrh was originally created in the sixties as an alien who decided to become a Batman for their own planet. But when revived by Grant Morrison and Tony S Daniel in the noughties, again in Batman RIP, Zur-En-Arrh is revealed as a person created by Bruce Wayne in the event he was ever mentally compromised. More violent than Batman, his costume made out of red, yellow, and purple rags referencing the one from the sixties character.
Recently in Batman, the news has reported – erroneously – that Batman murdered the Penguin. Might the Failsafe robot have been created by the Batman's Zur-En-Arrh personality if ever the main personality was compromised by becoming a murderer of Gotham's villains? Might it have no room to acknowledge fake news?
And is everyone in the Batman office wanting to do a revival of Batman R.I.P right now? Does no one talk to each other? Or is everyone talking together and this is all building up to something? Could Grant Morrison themselves be returning to Batman? Just a thought, happy to plant it… Batman #126 is published today, and Detective Comics #1063 last week.
BATMAN #126 CVR A JORGE JIMENEZ
(W) Chip Zdarsky (A) Jorge Jimenez, Belen Ortega (CA) Jorge Jimenez
Batman has battled all manner of criminals, monsters, and super-villains, but nothing could have prepared him for what's coming with Failsafe, an unstoppable foe that can outfight and outthink the Dark Knight—but could a dark connection to Batman's past be the answer? In the backup, Catwoman is piecing together the lineage of one of Gotham's most notorious criminal families…and it's not for the faint of heart!
Retail: $4.99 In-Store Date: 08/02/2022