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Do you like the idea of Bruce being Jewish?
Mmmm… I guess? Maybe?
See, here’s the thing: Bruce will never, ever be written as culturally Jewish in any way. Even small ways. Even like that one issue where Kate lit a Chanukah menorah or whatever. It’s not gonna happen. I don’t even mean any kind of religious observance, I’m talking any kind of observable Jewish identity. Bruce might be Jewish ethnically, but culturally he comes across as the WASP-iest of WASPs. And frankly, after 75 years of history, it’s too late to write him any other way. If Bruce started talking about what his Jewish identity meant to him at this point in the game, it would come across as tacked-on and fake to me.
Maybe I’m wrong there. Maybe there’s actually a writer out there who could write a story exploring Bruce being Jewish in a way that would feel organic and natural to the character. And maybe it would be fantastic. But even if there was, I don’t think DC would let them tell that story.
I think it’s quite likely, especially in light of the New 52 canon that Bruce and Kate are cousins, that Martha Kane was Jewish, and therefore Bruce is too. But I don’t think DC would ever let him be visibly Jewish, so as far as representation goes he’s kind of meaningless.
That’s just how I feel about it, though. I’m sure there are a lot of Jews out there who would be delighted for Bruce to be canonically Jewish, even if nothing was ever really done with it.
Bruce Wayne has made a lot of stupid decisions in his life, but adopting and training Dick Grayson isn’t one of them
Dick vs. Bruce
Bruce wins, no doubt. I think Dick would give Bruce a closer fight than 99% of humanity would be able to, but Bruce is simply the better fighter. Dick’s fighting skills are consistently described as being almost as good as Bruce’s, rivaling Bruce’s, but there’s always the implication that he’s just a smidge less good.
Therefore, much as I love him, Dick would lose the fight.
[ This was originally my reply to this analysis, but I feel compelled to make it it’s own post as people were, of course, running for pitchforks thanks to further misconceptions (thanks Grant) about Talia. I’m hoping this way more people will see it. ]
This is why I loathe how Grant Morrison has written Talia, starting all the way back with Batman and Son. His horrible characterization of Talia wasn’t unique to the Batman Inc. Not only does it make no sense for Talia to go through the trouble of getting Bruce’s essence the natural way (ie. having sex) if she always intended to grow Damian in a test tube. There are easier, less messy ways to get the job done; but it instated the notion that Talia was heir-crazy (she’s wasn’t until Batman and Son) and retconned her giving Bruce an antidote for a scorpion sting into a daterape drug.
And Talia would never, ever do that to Bruce. Why?
- Talia has always shown concern for Bruce’s well-being; physically and emotionally.
We see this in Son of the Demon (where she tends to Bruce’s wounds in Alfred’s stead.
And again in Batman 333, where she tends to his wounds. And her very first appearance, Detective Comics 411, she also helps Bruce recover from injury (a scene also in BTAS, albeit altered in storyline).
Even as recently as Red Hood Lost Days (2010!) Talia was seen asking after Bruce’s mental and emotional well-being.
In fact, she’s so distraught over Jason’s death on Bruce’s behalf that we actually see her weeping and mourning in front of a photo of Bruce and Robin on her laptop.
It’s not the picture of a woman who doesn’t give a damn about Bruce’s needs and his agency. Grant Morrison is the only writer to paint that picture of Talia, and it completely contradicts her character.
- It’s implied in Bane of the Demon and Legacy that Bane sexually assaulted and/or raped Talia. A victim isn’t going to callously commit the same crime. It’s not, here, a cycle of abuse because she wasn’t raised to think this was normal and okay.
I’ve flipped back and forth between my opinion on this for a long time, but the closer I look at the dialogue and panels, the more certain I am that Bane abused Talia sexually. I find it unlikely that a victim of rape would, in turn, do the same to someone else.
Here, Bane is essentially threatening to make Talia his sex slave for as long as she lives. It’s make very clear that it’s a lustful sentiment, as Talia apparently awakened that in Bane. He follows up with tying her up and essentially make her wait and dread his return.
That’s the last of Talia we see until the end of Bane of the Demon, when Ra’s has declared Bane her new betrothed. Throughout Bane of the Demon, Bane manhandles Talia (their first meeting, he holds her and threatens to kill her, he kisses her forcibly (hold her hand behind her back until she reciprocates), but because Talia consented to sex with him once he finds himself entitled to her even when her feelings turn.
She orders him to be killed after a more violent altercation, and when he escapes, the above happens.
In Legacy, which continues this storyline, we see a Talia that has completely given up, which for me gives the strong implication that Bane has sapped her will to live and fight with abuse, likely sexual.
Her second panel in Legacy is when she’s with her father and in front of Batman. She looks absolutely ashamed - hiding her face and turning away from Bruce, as if hoping he won’t see her.
When Bane touches her by surprise, Talia looks absolutely terrified.
He continues to grab and manhandle her and remind her that there’s no escape for her. She’s trapped, and he’s going to do what he wants to her.
And this is a woman who, in the past, asserted herself very well in her desires and went after them. But Legacy, especially in this issue (Detective Comics 700) we see Talia completely broken down. She argues with her father about Bane, but dully accepts her father’s wishes - likely feeling to much shame to bring up his treatment of her (whereas she wouldn’t stand for it otherwise.)
Given that evidence and 40-something years of Talia’s character history, Grant Morrison wrote an abhorrent Talia who did awful, awful things. He truncated and perverted Talia’s romance with Bruce. This is a character who gave up her home, her life, her father’s trust (and eventually, her family) for Bruce. She was prepared to do anything for him just to be by his side.
That’s the Talia I love.
What Morrison had her do to Bruce is absolutely disgusting and I hate his writing in her raping Bruce more than anything else he’s done to her character in recent years.
“For a long time, [DC] said [Son of the Demon] was out of continuity. Now it’s just kind of out of continuity. I didn’t actually read it before I started writing this. I messed up a lot of details, like Batman wasn’t drugged when he was having sex with Talia and it didn’t take place in the desert. I was relying on shaky memories. But now we have this new “Superboy punch” continuity [after Superboy Prime attacked the fabric of the universe during Infinite Crisis]. People still don’t realize how important that single punch was to cover everyone’s ass.” - Grant Morrison
Of course, then he brought drugged sex back in Batman Inc Vol 2 #2.
SIGH. It was completely unnecessary and a butchering of a great antiheroine.
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