Bruce Wayne Finally Regains His Memories as The Dark Knight in Batman #49

Thursday, 11 February 2016 - 9:05PM
DC Comics
Batman
Thursday, 11 February 2016 - 9:05PM
Bruce Wayne Finally Regains His Memories as The Dark Knight in Batman #49
Those who've been following Scott Snyder's 'Superheavy' arc know that there's a lot of really exciting things going on in the world of Batman right now. Jim Gordon has taken over as the GCPD's official Dark Knight, Bruce Wayne was found alive but with no memories of who he was after his "death" in Endgame, the Joker has appeared after his "death" as well in a similar situation to Bruce's, and the list goes on and on.

Things have been picking up speed even more as of late, with Bruce finally coming to the realization of who he used to be in Batman #47 and his decision to become the Dark Knight once again in Batman #48. Now, Bruce has come to his big transition back into the Caped Crusader in this week's issue #49.

This issue of 'Superheavy' ties back into one of the earlier ones, where a machine was referenced that was intended to give Bruce Wayne's future clones all of his memories so that when the original Batman died, another Batman with the same genetics, psychology, and, well, pretty much everything, could take over. Those who picked up one of the free copies of Detective Comics #27 for the 75th anniversary of Batman might remember this machine from one of the short stories in the issue. The story shows a future where a Bruce Wayne clone has come to the end of his usefulness, and so he awakens the next clone in line. Every clone is given the exact same memories up to one specific moment - the moment from Frank Miller's 'Year One' and Snyder and Capullo's 'Zero Year' where Bruce says, "Yes father…I will become a bat."  

Anyway, the earlier issues explained that the machine didn't accomplish what Alfred and Bruce had hoped it would. Yet that doesn't stop Bruce from wanting to try it out anyway. Almost forcing Alfred, who's still agonizing over the fact that the boy he loved is going to go back to his life of obsession and pain, to lead him to the Batcave, they connect Bruce to the machine and attempt restoring his original memories to him.

It doesn't work. He keeps getting the wrong memories. Memories of him working with the Court of Owls. Memories of him as Detective Wayne, not Batman. Memories that are simply false. They finally realize that in order for it to work, they have to let Bruce experience brain death - something that he grows closer and closer to with each new batch of false memories that they try to upload in his brain. Bruce Wayne has to die in order for Batman to live.  

Alfred refuses to do that - he likens himself to Joe Chill, except instead of pulling the trigger twice, he'd be doing it three times. He'd be personally killing Bruce Wayne. However, Bruce's recent girlfriend Julie Madison shows up, and she knows what has to be done. Evidently she pieced together the puzzle of her boyfriend's identity on her own a long time ago, and now she steps in to kill him. So symbolically pulls the trigger, making Bruce disappear forever so that Batman can live.  

After a moment, Bruce awakens. Alfred begins to try to explain how it is he got where he was, but Batman cuts him short. Once he knows Gotham needs him, he simply says "Save it for the car. Let's go to work." 

This issue went a lot deeper than one would initially expect, as it delved into the core of who Batman is. The only reason Batman exists is because Bruce Wayne's life ended that day in Crime Alley. Alfred and the rest of the family truly believed that his amnesia after the fight with the Joker was his reward - he could finally be happy. This time, Batman died so that Bruce Wayne could live. He didn't have to be the brooding, pained, obsessed vigilante anymore. He could be a happy man who simply found joy in being with his loved ones and helping others.

This issue showed that that could never really be. Initially, Bruce says that by regaining the memories, he could be a Batman without the trauma. Yet when they learn that Bruce would have to go brain dead before being able to receive the memories, the truth comes out. He could never be both. He could never be the happy, well adjusted man that he was during his amnesia and the same watchful protector of Gotham that the city needs him to be. And so he willingly traded his happiness for obsession to once again save his city.  

Next month's issue is the one everyone's been waiting for, as Bruce Wayne finally puts on the cape and cowl for the first time in ten months. Issue #50 marks Bruce's official reinstatement as Batman as well as the conclusion of Snyder and Capullo's 'Superheavy' arc. After that, there's one more issue left, in which the creative team will say goodbye to the series as they leave the main Batman title after five years on the job. It's been a great ride, and the Snyder and Capullo run will undoubtedly go down in Batman history. It's not over just quite yet though, and it looks like the two are set to go out with one big bang as they near their final issue.
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