Heroes in Crisis #2 (Spoilers)
If you watched our episode about Batman’s grief you know that I don’t think that PTSD is a great diagnosis for Bruce Wayne, however some of the symptoms; hyper-vigilance and paranoia are absolutely accurate, and this can come about through trauma in general, even without the diagnosis of PTSD. We know that Bruce Wayne has experience probably countless traumatic events in his life, and those who know Batman best know how he plans for things, how he sets up contingencies upon contingencies.
ASIDE - I have a really hard time when writers create weak tension in their stories: in this book Harley Quinn grabs hold of Wonder Woman’s lasso, grabs hold of Batman and puts him in a choke hold with the lasso, and Wonder Woman says “She’ll break his neck before you break the lasso” to Superman (who apparently was just standing idly by the past few seconds). I seriously doubt this to be true, and why would Superman need to break the lasso, can’t he do a plethora of other things to Harley to free Batman, or couldn’t Batman do a plethora of things to escape himself? Whatever. In any case, this moment leads to a really interesting moment where Batman reveals, under the compulsion of the lasso of truth that he does in fact have Kryptonite in his bat-belt. This is something he outright denied to Superman and Wonder Woman only a short while earlier, thus showing how little he actually trusts his allies and how little his allies can trust him.
There is a very interesting conversation between “the trinity” (Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman) where they are discussing Sanctuaries confidentiality protocols. Both Wonder Woman and Superman discuss the immediate erasing of data from Sanctuary to ensure confidentiality and their absolute confidence that Batman has spyware in Sanctuary to discern the vulnerabilities. This is quite a dysfunctional aspect of the relationship Batman has with everyone, where it is simply understood that Bruce Wayne does not trust anyone and actively works to know the quickest and more efficient ways to eliminate even his closest allies. We ultimately find out that the only reason Batman kept Sanctuary anonymous was because he frequented the robot-therapists often. It is touching to me to see in the following panels Batman overcome with grief and regret at the loss of his family, both manufactured and biological.
Wonder Woman’s interview with Sanctuary reveals a traumatic event in her life, in which she found her mother screaming and bleeding from an arrow wound. Dianna returns to her bedroom and bites her lip and keeps quiet. She later says to Sanctuary that she prefers to bite her lip and walks out of the room. This is a method of working through our own pain that so many people choose; it is the “suck it up and ignore it” method, and what I suspect to see in this series is that we will see that this method of coping no longer works for the “strongest” superheroes.
Harley Quinn hinted at the start of the first part of this series that she has some pretty substantial walls built around her heart and mind to protect her. (Which should be a big surprise to no one.) I honestly wouldn’t be surprised to see that Harley’s insanity has really been her way of coping with the pain all along. As we’ve seen during her progression from true villain to kind-of-sort-of an antihero she is beginning to let some of her walls down. There is a slightly touching moment where Harley talks to the now-dead Poison Ivy about all of her regrets; from loving Poison Ivy to loving the Joker to letting anyone hurt her to begin with.
Clark Kent wins “most interesting interview with Sanctuary” this issue. His interview made me look at his character differently than I ever had before: as an adopted child. The identity crisis (no pun intended) for him is between the being he was born as, the boy he was raised as, and the two men he’s become. He asks himself pointedly, “Is Clark Superman trying to be flawed? Or is Superman Clark trying to be better?”