|First appearance||Unnamed: Batman #156 (June 1963)
As Simon Hurt: Batman #673 (June 2008)
|Created by||Grant Morrison|
|Alter ego||Simon Hurt|
|Notable aliases||The Hole in Things, Mangrove Pierce, Dr. Hurt, El Penitente, Old Thomas Wayne, Barbatos|
Master of psychology
Expert strategist and tactician
Dr. Simon Hurt, commonly known simply as Doctor Hurt, is a fictional character from the DC Comics universe. Hurt was retro-actively revived in 2008 by writer Grant Morrison after first appearing as an unnamed character in Batman #156 (June 1963).
Visually, Doctor Hurt is based on an unnamed scientist who first appeared in Batman #156 (June 1963), in a story titled "Robin Dies at Dawn". In that story Batman participated in an experiment for NASA that caused him to hallucinate that Robin (Dick Grayson) was in constant danger; the story itself is referenced many times in Morrison's run on Batman. The character made behind-the-scenes appearances throughout Morrison's run  before actually appearing fully in the first chapter of "Batman R.I.P."
The character was first called "Doctor Simon Hurt" in Batman #674. He is a brilliant psychologist whose true identity and nature is an enigma; over the course of Morrison's run he has been strongly implied at times to be the Devil, the demon Barbatos, a supernaturally-empowered ancestor of Bruce Wayne, Bruce Wayne's long-lost evil twin, Bruce Wayne's father, an instrument of Darkseid, and perhaps even Darkseid himself. Hurt is dedicated to completely destroying Batman in body, mind, and soul, and replacing him with a corrupted, evil counterpart.
Doctor Hurt led both the Black Glove and the Club of Villains against Batman in "Batman R.I.P." Hurt was the main antagonist of Morrison's run on Batman titles from 2007 to 2011, appearing in Batman, The Return of Bruce Wayne, and Batman and Robin, as well as behind-the-scenes in Final Crisis.
Fictional character biography
A psychiatrist, Doctor Hurt was involved in a program which created three "replacement Batmen" with the participation of the Gotham City Police Department. Sometime after the three replacements had been trained, Hurt was hired by Defense Department to oversee an isolation experiment. During this process, he gave Batman a post-hypnotic trigger connected to the phrase "Zur-En-Arrh". He also arranged for the replacements to fight the dazed Batman, but they were defeated. Batman suspected nothing of this.
Going over his notes on Batman's psychology, he realized that Batman was "powered by tragedy" and set about traumatizing the three replacements, ostensibly to make them better crimefighters.
Many years later, Doctor Hurt was working with the Black Glove when they decided to target Batman and his allies. Their first attack consisted of character assassination on the Wayne family, by spreading information to suggest that Batman's father somehow survived his murder by Joe Chill (to the point that he had arranged for the 'attack' himself in order to conceal his own debauchery). Hurt then, using the Zur-En-Arrh trigger in conjunction with drugs, sent a dazed and confused Bruce Wayne onto the streets of Gotham with no memory of his life. Furthering this attack, he claimed to Alfred Pennyworth that he was actually Thomas Wayne himself, although Alfred denied this.
However, Batman survived thanks to years of preparation, culminating in him confronting Hurt on the roof of Arkham Asylum. He accused Hurt of being Mangrove Pierce, an actor, acquaintance and occasional impersonator of Thomas Wayne, but Hurt claimed that he had actually "skinned Mangrove Pierce alive and wore him to Mayhew's party".
Hurt was believed to be dead after a helicopter explosion, but somehow survived and reappeared approximately six months later in Mexico, disguised as the drug lord El Penitente, but left to return to Gotham City. With the Joker working as an unreliable ally, Hurt used the Circus of Crime to release a drug into Gotham's air with the intention of driving the city mad, subsequently making a public return as Thomas Wayne with the intention of setting up his headquarters in the Batcave. Hurt shot Dick Grayson in the back of the head and attempted to force Damian Wayne to swear allegiance to him in order to save Grayson's life. However, Grayson and Damian had already anticipated his attack; the attempts to open the box that Bruce Wayne left in the past revealing nothing but a Batarang and a note saying "Gotcha!", the room subsequently filling with smoke as another Batman appears, marking Bruce Wayne's return to the fold. It is revealed that Hurt is a relative of the Waynes from the 17th century, whose true identity is Thomas Wayne, known as a black sheep of the family for his devil worshippings. Hurt prolonged his life through a series of occult rituals. In a story immediately previous, Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #6, Batman states that Darkseid is attempting to "incarnate . . . in Hurt . . . in the Doctor". In the subsequent confrontation, Hurt attempts — and fails — to trap Bruce Wayne in a prison in the Batcave, but nevertheless escapes through the cave's water access while Bruce is busy rescuing Alfred. Having escaped to a graveyard, Hurt is confronted and defeated by the Joker, when he slips on a banana peel and breaks his neck. The Joker doses Hurt with Joker venom and buries him alive, claiming that he proved to be a disappointment as a 'new' arch-enemy. It is revealed Dick Grayson has survived his injuries, the intent was to eventually render him comatose and nearly brain dead. He is saved from this fate off-panel. The Joker claims that he has "taken care" of Hurt, but Bruce Wayne is not quite willing to believe that the Doctor is truly dead.
He appears in the Convergence limited series, where a group of pre-Flashpoint Batman villains; including the Riddler and Professor Pyg attempt to confront Thomas Wayne, the Batman of the modern, reimagined Earth-Two (who is commonly mistaken for the deceased Flashpoint Batman due to a similar costume). These villains, seeing him as simply an obstacle, attack en masse. This version of Hurt is eventually slain; when Thomas Wayne blows himself up, as a delaying tactic.
He makes a notable appearance in an alternate future where Damian Wayne became Batman. In Batman Incorporated #5 (vol.2), Damian fails to stop a "Joker Virus" from devastating Gotham City. Dr. Hurt having become personal adviser to the President of the United States, convinces the President to destroy Gotham with a nuclear weapon.
Hurt himself claims to be Bruce Wayne's father, Dr. Thomas Wayne, the name being shared with a devil-worshiping ancestor back in the 18th century. Batman initially suspects him to be the actor Mangrove Pierce, dismissing the belief of the third Batman replacement and the Joker that Hurt is the Devil himself; Hurt alludes to this possibility several times using metaphor only, claiming "I am the hole in things..."the enemy", "the piece that can never fit, there since the beginning," all cryptic statements that relate to the mythology of a satanic figure. Near the end of "Batman R.I.P.", however, Batman begins to wonder whether Hurt is really the Devil.
In Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #6, Batman states that Darkseid is attempting to "incarnate" in Hurt.
Following numerous hints and plot threads throughout Batman and Robin and Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne, the mystery of Hurt's identity was seemingly resolved in Batman and Robin #16, in which he was identified as a devil-worshipping ancestor of Bruce Wayne's named Thomas Wayne (first mentioned in Batman and Robin #10 and appearing in Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #4). The issue reveals that centuries beforehand Hurt attempted to summon the demon Barbatos, but instead was confronted by the Hyper-Adapter, the hyper-dimensional creature tasked by Darkseid with overseeing Batman's voyage through history after he was struck by the villain's Omega Effect. Corrupted — or perhaps possessed — by the Hyper-Adapter's energies, this Thomas Wayne became extremely long-lived (potentially immortal), living through until the present day, when he was taken in by Batman's parents, Thomas and Martha Wayne. Wishing to help him the Waynes send him to Willowood Asylum, a reference to a pre-Crisis story in which Bruce had a mentally damaged brother who was sent to the same facility. This had previously been referenced in Morrison's Batman #702, which showed the Asylum as the same hospital Thomas Wayne Jr. was sent to. Batman and Dick Grayson conclude this reading of events to be the truth, and impartial flashbacks in the issue appear to confirm it as accurate, though the insane Hurt continues to claim throughout the issue that he is both Thomas Wayne and the Devil. However, since Hurt was already an adult man when the Waynes met him, it seems unlikely that they would have claimed him to be their son, Thomas Jr. As Bruce Wayne travels through time as a result of the Omega Effect, Hurt is seen as a doctor in Willowood, rather than a patient. Grant Morrison explains the ambiguity during an interview in Wizard Magazine:
"There's a doctor who's got some good lines in the original story Robin Dies At Dawn, and he's never named. I thought, "What if he's a bad guy?" That became Dr. Hurt. I thought, "Wow...there was a guy who had access to Batman's psychology for 10 days. That's my villain!" I also thought it was a way to sort of reinvigorate those old stories, as a service to DC, to sell some more of the older books and collections.
The minute I say who he is...it will stop people talking. I was trying to do a definitive Batman story. Batman's stories tend to pit Batman against a diabolical mastermind. I thought, "Who's the ultimate diabolical mastermind?" This is a story about Batman's Black Casebook which is all the mysterious cases, the ones that are supernatural or bizarre. So for me, this is the ultimate supernatural Batman story. There are clues, there are places in fact, where they actually state who's he up against in the story. But people don't want to accept the supernatural explanation. But yes: This is the story of how Batman cheats The Devil."— Grant Morrison, "Batman: RIP Director's Commentary", Wizard #211 (May, 2009)
- "The Stories That Informed 'Batman R.I.P.' - ComicMix news". Comicmix.com. Retrieved 2010-12-30.
- Batman #665, 667, 669, 673, 674
- Batman #676
- Batman #667-669
- Batman and Robin #11
- Batman and Robin #15
- Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #6
- Batman and Robin #16
- Convergence #3 (April 2015)
- Batman Incorporated (vol. 2) #5
- Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #6
- World's Finest Comics #223 by Bob Haney
- Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #5 by Grant Morrison
- "THE BAT SIGNAL: Grant Morrison". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2010-12-30.