Batman of Zur-En-Arrh
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|Batman of Zur-En-Arrh|
The first appearance of the Batman of Zur-En-Arrh. Illustrated by Dick Sprang.
|First appearance||Batman #113 (August 1958)|
|Created by||France Herron (writer)
Dick Sprang (artist)
|Place of origin||Zur-En-Arrh|
The Batman of Zur-En-Arrh is a fictional character in the DC Comics universe. The character first appeared in Batman #113 (February 1958), in a story titled Batman - The Superman of Planet-X by writer France Herron and artist Dick Sprang. In this story, the character is the alien Tlano from the planet Zur-En-Arrh.
In 2008, writer Grant Morrison resurrected the concept, this time as a backup personality of Bruce Wayne's. The persona was stored in Bruce's subconscious in case his mind was overwhelmed by psychological trauma. It surfaced in Batman #678, shortly before Wayne's apparent death. This version was psychotic, seeing images of Bat-Mite (called "Might") and other apparitions.
Zur-En-Arrh was first used as the name of a planet in France Herron and Dick Sprang's 1958 story Batman - The Superman of Planet-X featured in Batman #113. In the story, a Batman from Zur-En-Arrh brings what would become Earth-One Batman to his planet to help him battle giant robots piloted by an unidentified alien race. While on the planet, Earth's Batman found he developed "Superman-like" powers through similar means of the Superman of his world.
When Grant Morrison took over the Batman series in September 2006, he began referencing classic moments from the character's career, including utilizing a version of Bat-Mite and reusing a costume and dialogue from the then fifty-year-old Batman #156. Among the references was the Zur En Arrh phrase, which appeared very nearly covering an alley and again on a dumpster in Batman #655 and continued to appear, usually as a background element graffiti, until the Batman R.I.P. story arc began, at which point it was brought to the forefront. The persona was re-imagined as a back up personality manufactured by Bruce himself to keep Batman able to fight in case he was mindwiped, or driven to insanity.
Fictional character biography
One night, Bruce Wayne finds himself in a daze and dresses as Batman and takes off in the Batplane while remaining unclear of his own actions. He soon finds that he has been teleported to another planet called Zur-En-Arrh. There, he meets the scientist Tlano monitoring his activities on Earth and has decided to become a version of Batman for his own planet. On this planet, the Batman of Earth has enhanced abilities due to the different elements of the alien planet. The two Batmen join forces to defeat giant invading robots piloted by an unidentified alien race. After the robots are destroyed, the Batman of Zur-En-Arrh gives Batman (Bruce Wayne) his Bat-Radia device as a keepsake and returns to Earth.
In the past, the psychiatrist Simon Hurt was hired to oversee an isolation experiment, for which Batman volunteered. During this process, he gave Bruce Wayne a post-hypnotic trigger connected to the phrase "Zur-En-Arrh", young Bruce Wayne's mishearing of his father's last words ("the sad thing is they'd probably throw someone like Zorro in Arkham"). Many years later, Doctor Hurt was working with the Black Glove when they decided to target Batman and his allies, first spreading information to the effect that Batman's father somehow survived his murder by Joe Chill. Then, using the Zur-En-Arrh trigger in conjunction with drugs, he sent a dazed and confused Bruce Wayne onto the streets of Gotham with no memory of his life. In Batman #678, Bruce assembles a makeshift Batman costume of similar style to that worn by Tlano and declares himself "the Batman of Zur-En-Arrh". The character "Bat-Mite" appears on the last page with him, commenting "uh-oh" over Batman's increasing delusions. Bat-Mite then counsels the Zur-En-Arrh Batman, revealed over the course of the story to be a back-up personality created after a hallucination Batman suffered when exposed to Professor Milo's gas. It was intended to take over for Bruce Wayne if he was ever psychologically attacked in such a manner as to render Batman out of action. The colorful costume expresses a greater confidence and demonstrates a greater willingness to torture and possibly kill his opponents; on one occasion, the Zur-En-Arrh Batman describes himself as being Batman "when you take Bruce out of the equation". Batman #680 reveals that Bat-Mite is actually a product of Batman's imagination, being Batman's rational side to prevent the unstable Zur-En-Arrh persona from going too far, although he comments that he is from the 5th dimension because "the fifth dimension is imagination".
The costumes of the two incarnations of the Batman of Zur-En-Arrh are the same, consisting of gaudy, outlandish colours. In the modern continuity, the crazed Bruce Wayne comments that despite the ostentatiousness of the costume, Robin had dressed this way for years, implying that it reflects the "total confidence" of the Zur-En-Arrh Batman in his ability to attract the attention of his enemies where the Earth Batman dresses in dark colours to attack his foes in the shadows.
Skills, abilities, and resources
Tlano possessed much high-tech equipment, owing to his residence on a futuristic planet. His version of the Batmobile had an "atomic-powered" motor, and he flew a rocket-shaped Batplane. His main weapon was the "Bat-radia", with which he could "jam atmospheric molecules", affecting the equipment of his enemies. At the end of the story, Tlano leaves Bruce with the device, which becomes inoperable in Earth's environment..
The Bruce Wayne incarnation also possesses a Bat-radia. This may or may not reflect a continuity between the two stories, as Grant Morrison has made efforts to treat Batman's entire publication history as his backstory. This version of the device scrambled security systems, for instance overriding and confusing Arkham Asylum's, as well as serving as a tracking device to allow Batman's allies to find him. To add a note of humour to the story, the radia is presented as a "cheap-ass radio" instead of the object seen in the imaginary story, and members of the Black Glove dismiss it as such until they discover its true purpose.
In other media
- The Silver Age version of Batman of Zur-En-Arrh appears in Batman: The Brave and the Bold, voiced by Kevin Conroy. Debuting in the episode "The Super Batman of Planet X", this version is the protector of the city of Gothtropolis (the amalgam of Gotham City and Metropolis). He is also shown to be inspired by the Zur-En-Arrh version of 'bats' (brightly colored demonic winged creatures) which explains his garish costume and was raised by his robot butler Alpha-Red. When Batman of Earth crash lands on Zur-En-Arrh, Batman of Zur-En-Arrh and his doppelgänger stop a mugger (voiced by Clancy Brown). After being asked for help by Chancellor Gor-Zonn (Zur-En-Arrh's version of James Gordon), both Batmen battle the giant robots (which are based on robots that both fought in the comics) of the mad genius Rothul (Zur-En-Arrh's version of Lex Luthor). During the fight, Batman of Zur-En-Arrh learns that Batman gets Superman-like powers while on Zur-En-Arrh due to the alien element Rodon and locked Rohtul away. While Tlano uses his Clark Kent-like identity to work at the Solar Cycle Newspaper Company with Vilsi Vaylar (an amalgam of Lois Lane and Vicki Vale), Batman fought Zur-En-Arrh's various threats. In prison, Rohtul deduces that Batman is from Earth and figures a weakness upon learning that the Dark Knight is exposed to Rodon. When Batman fights Rohtul upon escape from prison, the Dark Knight finds himself weakened by the Quartz that are within the chest compartment of Rohtul's giant robots (exposing Rodon to Quartz creates the same weakening properties as Kryptonite). After Rohtul corners Batman, Batman of Zur-En-Arrh comes to Batman's rescue and they defeat Rohtul after attempting to take Visli hostage. Batman of Zur-En-Arrh gives both Earth's Batman and later Green Arrow an antidote for the Rodon and the two leave for Earth. Batman of Zur-En-Arrh later makes a cameo appearance in the episode "Night of the Batmen" alongside other versions of Batman that appear at the end to assist Batman.
- Batman of Zur-En-Arrh appears as a playable character in Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham, voiced by Troy Baker.
- Batman of Zur-En-Arrh appears as an unlockable alternate costume for Batman in Batman: Arkham Knight (2015). It can be unlocked by using a WB Play account to sign up to the Batman: Arkham Knight community at http://community.wbgames.com/t5/Batman-Arkham/ct-p/Batman and then signing in the WB Play Account via Batman: Arkham Knight in-game menu.
- "GCD :: Issue :: Batman #113". Comics.org. Retrieved 2014-06-04.
- "Fansite For Batman Comics, Toys, Figures, News and more! - The Three Ghosts of Batman". Batman YTB. 2010-11-19. Retrieved 2010-12-30.
- Batman #681
- Dan Phillips (2008-05-23). "Grant Morrison's Master Plan For Batman - Comics Feature at IGN". Au.comics.ign.com. Retrieved 2010-12-30.
- "Kate Jewell interviews Michael Jelenic". Comics Continuum. Retrieved 2010-12-30.