by Jeremy DeFatta
I hope you all had a nerdtastic weekend, what with Free Comic Book Day and Star Wars Day happening and all. In this week’s installment of my Batman column, I’d like to drum up some excitement for my upcoming spoilery review of Sinestro #1.
Who remembers that time Batman was judged worthy of joining the Sinestro Corps?
Early on in his war against the Green Lantern Corps, Sinestro sent many, many rings out into the universe to find worthy hosts that he could field as soldiers. In our own little corner of the universe (Sector 2814), the person who inspired the greatest amount of fear in others was none other than our old friend Bruce Wayne. This—the ability to instill great fear—is the chief trait sought by the yellow power, and stands in opposition to the green power of will, whose chief trait is (as fans know all too well) the ability to overcome great fear.
In this way, the green and yellow portions of the emotional spectrum have always been antagonistic toward one another, though they also share a few traits. For example, every Sinestro Corps member must face and learn how to harness his or her own greatest fear as a strength. Since each color of the emotional spectrum feeds on and draws power from its associated feeling, the ability to produce fear in others and also draw upon one’s own fears makes any one of Sinestro’s followers a fiercely self-sufficient warrior. This certainly describes Batman.
And much like Sinestro, Batman has also been shown to be worthy of a green ring in several canonical and non-canonical stories. Though fans may argue in circles about how exactly it was possible, Batman does briefly wield Hal Jordan’s ring in issue #9 of Geoff Johns’s pre-New 52 run on Green Lantern. Further, there is an entire Elseworlds story called Batman: In Darkest Knight wherein Bruce Wayne is selected over Hal Jordan to become Earth’s first Green Lantern during a moment poignantly familiar to anyone who has read or watched Batman: Year One.
On the topic of Batman’s own greatest fear, we were never granted a glimpse of it during the few seconds he was a member of the Sinestro Corps, but other, semi-canonical stories may shed some light on the mystery.
In issue #6 of the current run of Legends of the Dark Knight, there is a short story called “Look Inside.” In this story, a ghostly-pale, (mostly) silent hitman who apparently has some sort of supernatural power is rolling around Gotham in an ornate, mist-shrouded truck. He forces his targets to stare into the back of the truck and face their greatest fear, which, without fail, drives every one of them insane. After learning of the man’s existence, the Penguin decides it is a good idea to send him after Batman, and after the necessary lead-up, Batman ends up gazing into the darkened truck bed like so many others had before him.
Unlike everyone else in that position, however, Batman’s fear immediately transforms into white-hot rage and he nearly beats the hitman to death before regaining control. The story ends with the Penguin’s own frightened postulation that the truck (whatever it really was) had no power over Batman because he had long ago faced and risen above what terrified him most, which (in a way) is certainly valid. Though it may seem simplistic to outright say it, my interpretation of this moment points directly at Batman’s actions after he is confronted with his apparent fear. I believe Batman really was consumed with his greatest fear, which is losing control and killing someone, and he very nearly did.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments.
My comic picks for this week:
Batman Eternal #5
Earth 2 #23
Futures End #1
Rat Queens #6
Original Sin #1
Don’t forget to keep supporting your local comic shops. Come back soon for my promised review of Sinestro #1, which now has this post as a partial backdrop. Tweet me @quaintjeremy.
Image via Seekers of the Bat.