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Batman struggles with spiritual/religious concepts
after Jason Todd (the second Robin) returns from the dead
(from the "Under the Hood" storyline from Batman #s 635-341)
The "Under the Hood" storyline from Batman #s 635-641 (2005) provides an excellent example of how Batman struggles with spiritual and religious concepts, typically refusing to accept such realities even in the face of overwhelming evidence.
This issues of Batman were written by Judd Winick, pencilled by Doug Mahnke and Paul Lee, and inked by Tom Nguyen and Cam Smith.
In this mult-part story, Batman encounters the mysterious "Red Hood," who unmasks to reveal that he is Jason Todd, who was previously Batman's sidekick, the second "Robin." Batman knows that Robin died at the hands of their arch-enemy, the Joker. So Batman wants to get to the bottom of this new mystery: Who is this person who claims to be Jason Todd? The last thing that Batman wants to do is accept the reality that this person is indeed the original Jason Todd, now resurrected and back from the dead. Such a thing flies in the face of Batman's typically materialist/non-religious beliefs.
Batman consults with mystics and asks them about the possibilities of people returning from the dead. To this end, he consults with his fellow Justice League teammate, Zatanna and world-renowned occult specialist Jason Blood (counterpart to Etrigan, the Demon).
Batman next visits his fellow Justice Leager the Green Arrow, who really did die, go to Heaven, and return. Batman knows this happened, and he was there for some of these events, but he seems completely incapable of grasping these facts.
Batman then visits his old friend Superman, who also "died," in a way, although Superman says that what happened to him was only a semblance of death. Still, Superman points out that they both know other people who really have died and returned: the aforementioned Green Arrow, as well as Metamorpho and Hal Jordan (Green Lantern).
Superman points out that this "isn't science."
Batman responds, "It has been for me.
Batman struggles with what to think about these events. He simply must be able to categorize even these extraordinary events in a scientific way. He tells Superman, "I've always had answers. The facts, for every one of them we lost, whether they thought it was about Heaven, or God, or even magic . . . Magic, mysticism . . . is just another realm's science. I know that, but . . . now . . .
Batman is at a loss for words. Regardless of how he categorizes it, Batman does not want to accept the reality of such an ostensibly "religious" concept as life after death, resurrection, or an eternal spirit or soul. He seems desperate to avoid considering the possibility that "religious doctrines" such as this may have some basis in empirical reality.
Left: Batman stands before the grave marker of Jason Todd, the second Robin. After Jason died, Batman chose an Episcopalian-style Christian cross for the grave marker.
[Source: cover of Batman #639, published by DC Comics (2005), written by Judd Winick, cover art by Matt Wagner; reprinted in Batman: Under the Hood trade paperback (2005).]
Below: Batman cradles the lifeless body of Jason Todd, the second Robin. The Joker murdered Jason. Batman wonders: At the end of his life, was Jason praying that Batman would come save him?
[Source: Batman #641, published by DC Comics (2005), page 1; written by Judd Winick, pencilled by Doug Mahnke and Paul Lee, inked by Tom Nguyen and Cam Smith; reprinted in Batman: Under the Hood trade paperback (2005).]
Webpage created 16 June 2007. Last modified 16 June 2007.
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