Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Interlude: DC Universe 0

Morrison capitalizes on the sampler book format by flooding these teaser pages with info and even themes that a n00b might find edifying before he tears into RIP. Unfortunately, it doesn't exactly work as no one who hasn't read the run could really grasp what the fuck is going on here - Morrison's work is generally unforgiving to newcomers - but it does serve as a handy recap for those who actually have been keeping up with the past 20 or so issues.

Page 1: The page itself is split red and black. This looks nothing like Tony Daniel's other work, but I'm sure the red and black motif was dictated by Morrison, so that might have masked his style.

Page 3: Morrison/Daniel lays out the page as a red and black checkerboard.

The Dead Man's Hand earned its name when Crooked Nose Jack McCall put a bullet in the back of Wild Bill Hickcok's head, while his attention was focused on a poker game, in particular his two-pair Aces and Eights. Maybe this means that the only purpose of black and red is to distract Batman from what's really going on.

In the second panel, the word "Hurt" is emphasized and repeated. At this point, Bruce does not know about Dr. Hurt's connection to the Black Glove.

"The Dead Man's Hand is missing a finger. The last fatal card." In 681, the Joker replaces a "finger" in the Black Glove organization.

The Joker pantomimes a bullet to the brain, like the one delivered to Wild Bill Hickok. Actually, this tenth panel might alternately be interpreted as the Joker looping his finger in a "cuckoo" motion to imply that Batman will lose his sanity before dying. Morrison is playing up the near-prescient, Hannibal Lecter quality of the Joker.

Although creepy, the blood on the Joker card actually bodes well for Batman. Without the blood, black dominates the hand, portending victory for the Black Glove. With blood, "life," represented by red, may have a shot.

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