Disclaimer: Grant Morrison’s Batman arc has caused a lot of changes to the DCU, the introduction of Damian, Batman’s “death” and Dick Grayson becoming Batman for a year all stem from his massive storyline. Since the New 52 Reboot it has not been confirmed or denied whether these events happened, and if theyd did, how they happened. We will assume that DC has given Grant editorial leniancy to assume his continuity is unbroken.
Grant Morrison is several years into a Batman Mega Arc, incuding Final Crisis and 52, not to mention the threads laced all throughout his line of DC work, including DC One Million and Animal Man. Released about a year into his work, Batman #666 tells the story of a future Damian Wayne who has taken the mantle of the bat, a hard-boiled death machine in a Gotham infiltrated with pure evil.
Read over and over, the book takes on the role of a prophecy, mapping out hints and clues to what will happen as Morrison’s story comes to a head. I think I’ve cracked a clue relating to the upcoming December finale to Batman Inc., or possibly next years Batman: Leviathon, the capper to 7 years of comic book genius. The Rosetta Stone speaks...
To start we open with a history of Batman which includes this panel, which shows Damian on his knees with a dead Batman, this is the moment his life changes for good, we are led to believe.
The dead Batman referenced in the opening could be Dick or Bruce, and until the New 52 put Dick back in Nightwing's boots, I was convinced it was Dick, especially with what the wheelchair-bound police commissioner Barbara Gordon has to say later on concerning her hatred for this Batman.
It'd be easy to assume she is taking about Dick, but the death of Bruce would likely haunt Barbara in the same way. We can be sure of one thing, Damian is at least HELD responsible for the death of a Batman, likely Bruce Wayne, which led Damian to dedicate his life to defending Gotham.
The plot builds to Damian fighting Michael Lane, who would turn out to be a GCPD officer who was chosen to participate in a forced recreation of the Batman psyche, all under the hands of Dr. Hurt, who would reveal himself to be the Devil, at least in his own head, but Damian's thoughts seem pretty sure.
Michael Lane would go on to be Azrael, to little consequence, but more importantly was shown to be an integral part in driving Bruce Wayne insane in R.I.P. Michael Lane flashes weapons about a socialite dinner in our future wasteland Gotham before Damian crashes the party. Lane prepares his guests for their future.
This is right in line with Hurt's goals towards the end of Batman and Robin several years later.
Lane goes on to mention his Batman lineage to Damian, as we reach the apex of our analyses.
So at this point we can assume this is the same Ghost of Batman, Michael Lane, as the one from R.I.P. Now we know how he became Batman, but who guides this character?
Michael Lane has sold his soul to the devil, obviously, in exchange for the powers and privelage to inflict punishment on Gotham. He even goes so far as to try and recruit Damian...
Not unlike what Dr. Hurt would try to do with Damian in Batman and Robin.
The big twist is that Damian may have beaten Lane to the punch.
There is a lot of assuming to go around, but Damian directly mentions the death of Batman, his father, Bruce Wayne, was such a horrible event it "paved the way" for a murdering Batman like himself, not to mention that when he was 14, we can assume this is his age when Batman was murdered, he was given powers to ensure Gotham's survival...
God I love that page. The comic ends with Damian taking a shotgun blast that barely knocks him down, so he sold his soul for some type of invulnerability powers.
We arrive at our conclusion section.
Though we can never know the future, with this analyses of Batman 666, along with general knowledge of what has been going on in the Batman titles for the past year, such as this scene from Batman: The Return where Damian comes face to face with a mysterious, desert themed supernatural villian...
And don't forget about Damian's twin brother...
The future is clearly spelled out: These dangling plot threads are waiting in the wings to be crammed together, but I bet we'll see a final confrontation where Damian must make the ultimate sacrifice, and although it's easy to say these future issues hardly ever last long and are thrown aside once continuity gets in the way, take a look at this little Easter Egg...
Published several years before Batman and Robin #16. The man has a plan.
P.S. Forgot to mention it but I don't need to remind anyone that in general religious affiliation Leviathan =The Great Serpent=The Devil