|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|
Batman of Zur-En-Arrh first appeared in Batman #113 (February 1958), in a story titled "Batman—The Superman of Planet-X!". It was written by France Herron and drawn by Dick Sprang. In the story, Tlano, the Batman from Zur-En-Arrh, brings Earth's Batman to his planet to help him battle giant robots piloted by an unidentified alien race. While on the planet, Earth's Batman discovers he has "Superman-like" powers through similar means of the Superman of his world. The end of the story leaves it ambiguous to the reader whether Batman's adventure was real or a dream.
When Grant Morrison took over the Batman series in September 2006, he began referencing classic moments from the character's career, including using 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 appears on an alley wall and again on a dumpster in Batman #655 and continues to appear, usually as a background element graffiti, until the Batman R.I.P. story arc begins. The story reveals that the "Zur-En-Arrh" persona is a backup personality created by Bruce Wayne in the event he was ever mentally compromised. The Zur-En-Arrh personality is shown to be more violent and unhinged than Batman's normal persona and is dressed in a costume out of red, yellow, and purple rags referencing the one worn by Tlano.
One night, Bruce Wayne finds himself in a daze. He dresses as Batman and takes off in the Batplane while remaining unclear of his own actions. Batman 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 backup 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 colors. 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 whereas the Earth Batman dresses in dark colors to attack his foes in the shadows.
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 humor 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.
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