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‘Return of Bruce Wayne’ Preview Pages Envision Shirtless Caveman Batman

This morning, the DC Universe blog released two black-and-white pages by the always-amazing Chris Sprouse from their upcoming “Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne” series, and as ComicsAlliance’s resident Batmanologist, it’s fallen to me to interpret them.

On the first page, Batman emerges from the cave in which we see him at the end of “Final Crisis,” and is confronted by cavemen. Given the presence of the bats and the way Grant Morrison’s been tying things together in the pages of “Batman and Robin,” this may actually be the paleolithic version of the Batcave that sits beneath Wayne Manor, but that’s just speculation on my part.

What’s important here is that while being stranded in the stone age would present a pretty huge obstacle to virtually anyone else, Batman just sees it as another opportunity to take his shirt off.If there’s one thing I’ve learned in two decades plus of reading Batman comics, it’s that that dude loves to take his shirt off and fight some crime. He’s like the Matthew McConaughey of the Justice League, and really, can you blame him? I mean, look at this guy:

If I had a set of rock-hard Neal Adams abs, you couldn’t pay me to wear a shirt.

Which leads to the next interesting point: Sprouse’s version of Batman, like Adams’s, rocks the chest-hair that sets what Morrison has referred to as “hairy-chested love-god” Batman apart from other versions. So basically, as of this first page, Batman has been spending the months since “Final Crisis” just sitting in a cave being GQ as hell.

And obviously, this has not sat well with the locals, as we find on page 2:

Here we see that Batman–or Bruce, rather–has been beaten up by cavemen and staked out in the rain, and already this has caused some consternation among readers who don’t buy how the scene’s going down, raising the obvious question “Couldn’t Batman take out a bunch of cavemen?”

Of course he could. He’s Batman and they don’t know what fire is. But as with all of Morrison’s works, there’s a deeper meaning here: Even if you set aside the obvious time-travel paradox (you jack up the wrong caveman and all the sudden humanity dies out a couple million years too early, which isn’t really much of a concern since Batman could easily take them out non-lethally), we’ve already seen that he’s having a disastrously sexy effect on the past.

Imagine you’re a caveman lady: Are you going to want to mate with the filthy, bearded guy who has no concept of hygiene and who just found out that you can hit stuff with a log and maybe eat it–thus ensuring the survival and evolution of the species–or are you going to spend your time pining for the handsome stranger who just showed up in tight pants and who smells like apples? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Batman’s very presence in the past is ensuring that caveladies will no longer desire their mates. THAT is the Omega Sanction: Darkseid poisoned the past by exposing them to Batman’s ruthlessly sculpted abs, and the only way for him to save the future of life on planet Earth itself is to take a beating from a couple of guys who just now figured out that it hurts to eat rocks.

And that’s how shirtless Batman saved humanity again.

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