The Personal Mythology of Batman: Creature of Night 3

by Michael DeLaney

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Whether we realize it or not, Americans like to mythologize our lives. Exposure to different forms of fiction and historical accounts feed into our egos, ascribing significance and meaning where otherwise there is none. Kurt Busiek and John Paul Leon’s Batman: Creature of Night 3 mythologizes it’s protagonist’s life literally and figuratively.

For three issues now we have followed the life of Batman fan Bruce Wainwright, whose life parallels Bruce Wayne’s in too many ways to ignore. This is the first issue where Bruce starts getting some answers (?) about his own personal Batman — the demonic avenger who fights crime on his behalf.

Bruce discovers that he has a twin brother Thomas, who was stillborn. With this knowledge he concludes that his Batman creature is in fact Thomas. To gain a better understanding on what might drive Thomas, Bruce consults with a professor of parapsychology and occult studies. He compares his Batman to similar spirits and totems through folklore. Bruce believes he is doing research but really he’s just confirming his own bias.

It’s possible that Batman is actually Thomas, but we don’t have any evidence to prove for or against it. In Bruce Wainwright, Busiek has created a protagonist who is likely recognizable to the average comic book reader.

With his own personal dark knight avenger  Bruce’s life has the excitement and action of a comic book world, but not its justice. Bruce can ascribe all the meaning he wants to his Batman — it’s his creation in a way — but he can’t do the same with real people.

As an adult Bruce is learning what most of us learn at an early age: life’s not fair. He discovers that Officer Gordon is not the hero that Jim Gordon is, which makes him embrace his dark alter ego — perhaps for good?

The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?

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