Batman has managed to acquire supherhuman speed courtesy the Dark Multiverse. However, the story behind his getting this power is a nasty one.
Warning: The article contains Batman: The Red Death #1 spoilers and be cautioned if you haven’t read the comic yet.
The story opens with the panels showing the Flash fighting a mysterious attacker who has been assaulting the super fast guy with various forces such as fire infernos, wind funnels, ice, and even lightning bolts. All these elements are not difficult to recognize for the Flash fans as these are the trademarks of popular Flash villains such as Captain Cold, Heatwave, Weather Wizard and Mirror Master.
The breaking news is that, this time around all the mayhem is being unleashed by one single attackers who has all these powers and guess what, he is none other than the Dark Knight. In fact, he has put on Captain Cold’s signature eyewear and most of those well-known weapons are dangling from his waistbelt. As per the conversation between the two, we come to know that Batman had earlier sought Flash’s help to access Speed Force and that’s a request which was turned down by Barry Allen.
Flash gave his own example and said, “You know the things I’ve done. The mistakes I’ve made with these powers in the past. It’s impossible to be everywhere at once!” It’s here that Batman reveals the reason for wanting the Speed Force, saying, “Unlike you, I tried to be…and it cost me my family.”
This is followed by the visual of the four gravestones inside Wayne Manor, captured from the back. The first one has the Nightwing symbol and another one shows a Robin perched on a branch. The other two are not that easy to identify, but, could either be Batgirl and Batwomanor Duke and either Tim or Damian. Whatever be the case, Batman won’t be backing off without a fight and his next move displays the extreme to which he is ready to go.
The Speed Force
Batman’s preparations and inventiveness is legendary and his inventions coupled with a Mr. Freeze formula gives Batman superiority over The Flash and he knocks the speedy guy down cold.
It is just that breathing time whih Batman needed and by the time Flash regains his consciousness, he finds himself bound to the front of the giant Tumblr Batmobile. In fact this Batmobile also looks weird and Batman explained why. He tells Flash that he had a detailed analysis of the Cosmic Treadmill design and remodelled the Batmobile’s engine to exploit the connection between Flash and the Speed Force. His aim is to gain access to it and then steal it from the Flash. He then proceeds to rev up the engine so that enough speed is generated to get himself an opening.
Barry requests Bruce not to do that, saying he “can’t access the Speed Force this way! You can’t force it! It will rip us both apart!”
Turns out that Bruce is not only aware of the danger, but, okay with it, saying, “I know. I’m sorry Barry, but now we can save the world..together.”
Soon the skin starts tearing off from their bodies and Flash makes one last ditch request, “You can’t give up like this Bruce…there’s hope…there is always…”
The words trailed off and the page is filled with a bright white and the heroes disappear.
The Red Death
The absence of these two heroes leaves a vacuum and chaos reign all over the world, before The Scarecrow comes to know about the existence of a new “hero”, someone who has a familiar symbol, but, doesn’t subscribe to the good old rules and practices of justice.
Just when Scarecrow is ready with his plans to assault the civilians, a hybrid of Batman/Flash in a red armor appears on the scene and he tears his longtime enemy in two. This new creature is Red Death and the narrative explains that he is none other than Bruce Wayne. There is another speech bubble in that panel with fainter text. This new entity is challenging the ways and ideas of Bruce and it is also clarified that while Bruce Wayne and Barry Allen managed to cross over to the Force side, they morphed into one body which inhabits two minds now.
This hybrid existence is dominated by Bruce Wayne as he goes on tearing through his iconic enemies such as The Riddler, The Penguin and Man-Bat, all of whom are destroyed in a matter of seconds. Barry is in a continuous conflict with Wayne throughout his murderous streak and things come to a head when Bruce meets the messenger of Barbatos. When Bruce attentively listened to the speaker, Barry’s face is shown to shape out of Bruce’s and exhorting him to ignore the speaker and keep distance from him.
Apparently, Bruce didn’t pay any attention to the advice as we see him emerge as one of the many nightmare Batmen in DC Metal #2. Let’s wait and watch if Barry finally manages to force his way out, however, the chances are slim by the look of it.
Batman: The Red Death #1 is available in stores now.