Grant Morrison loves to start out arcs with people getting shot. Especially Batman arcs, since Batman is never supposed to use a gun.
In this arc, Morrison concludes his story of Dick Grayson and Damian Wayne. He wraps up the Joker’s arc, too. Joker explains why he became Oberon Sexton, how he needed to earn the trust of Batman and Robin–and why. It makes sense in the context of the classic Joker stories, especially The Killing Joke, in the sense that Joker has always defined himself in terms of his conflict with Batman so that, without Batman, Joker has no meaning.
This really sums up Morrison’s run: Batman’s identity matters because of what it means to others, not to himself. Even lost in time, redefining himself as an historical presence–an immortal–he still has a direct effect on the present day.
Or, Joker’s lying. Dick has to recognize that possibility.
This story reexamines the death of Tim Drake–with Damian reenacting the crowbar blugeoning, but doing it to Joker, until Joker wrests it away from Damian and says he likes this new Robin because he “brings his own crowbar.” Great line. But not as great as this one:
And then, finally, in the end, Batman returns…