Fight With Suicide Squad gives Batman’s darkest mirror shot at redemption

In War For Earth-3 #1, the darker version of Batman experiences the Dark Knight’s most chilling moment, suggesting an impending redemption arc.

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for War for Earth-3 #1, now on sale from DC Comics.

As the morally inverted counterpart of Prime Earth, Earth-3 is inhabited by villainous analogues of iconic DC heroes who use their abilities to rule the world as the Crime Syndicate, a twisted reflection of the Justice League. However, while the pre-Crisis incarnations of the various members of the Crime Syndicate were pure evil, the more recent versions of the characters are much more morally complex individuals who have been driven towards evil by the twisted nature of their world. . Perhaps the most notable example of this more nuanced take on the Crime Syndicate is Owlman, Batman’s Earth-Three counterpart.

Since his introduction, Owlman has always been described as one of the most morally conflicted members of the Crime Syndicate, and War for Earth-3 Number 1 (of Robbie Thompson, Dennis Hopeless, Steve Pugh, Dexter Soy, Brent Peeples, Matt Herms, Josh Reed, Travis Lanham and Simon Boland) gave him a unique opportunity to redeem himself. During a battle against Amanda Waller’s new Suicide Squad, Owlman is placed in an eerily similar position to that his heroic Prime Earth counterpart found himself during the “Knightfall” storyline, and his contact with the death might give him a chance to become a more heroic character.

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While previous versions of Owlman were ruthless criminals willing to do anything to gain wealth and power, the Infinite Frontier version of the character was originally a heroic figure who devoted his life to fighting crime after his parents and his younger brother were killed by Harvey Bullock. . Unfortunately, Owlman’s belief in justice was shattered after discovering his parents were criminals themselves, and things only got worse for him after he joined the Crime Syndicate and got pulled into a triangle. toxic lovers with Ultraman and Superwoman. When the Suicide Squad launched an invasion of Earth-3, Owlman was forced to lead the Crime Syndicate’s counterattack, and his battered mindset led to his swift defeat at the hands of Siren and Superboy. After the Suicide Squad’s victory, Waller convinced Ultraman to concede control of Earth-3 to him, ordering Talon to break Owlman’s back to prove she had what it takes to rule the villainous world.

Talon’s brutal paralysis of Owlman is a direct reference to the infamous “Knightfall” storyline, which saw Bane do the same to Batman. Like Owlman, Batman had been reduced to a deeply fragile state of mind long before Bane landed the crippling blow that led him to temporarily hand over the mantle of the bat to Jean-Paul Valley. Unfortunately, Valley proved unfit to be Gotham’s protector, and the increasingly violent methods he used against the city’s criminals eventually caused Batman to hasten his recovery by entering a Lazarus Pit, which who cured his paralysis and allowed him to regain his heroic identity.

Although Bane’s attack on Batman became one of the lowest points in Batman’s life, he eventually found a way to turn this tragedy into a triumph, coming back even better than he had been before. While Owlman’s paralysis is cured at the end of War for Earth-3 #1 thanks to a small dose of Lazarus Resin, the experience still has the potential to be just as transformative for him as a person. Since joining the Crime Syndicate, Owlman has been manipulated and psychologically abused by Ultraman and Superwoman, shaking his self-confidence and causing him to resort to increasingly outlandish acts of violence and wickedness to prove his worth to himself and his teammates. Unfortunately, these actions only put him in an even worse frame of mind, and his encounter with Talon might finally convince him to give up villainy altogether and return to his more heroic roots.

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Before discovering the terrible truth about his parents, Owlman spent nearly a decade protecting the people of Gotham, proving that there is at least some degree of good in him. Having seen how little Ultraman and Superwoman care about him when negotiating with Waller, the changes the Suicide Squad Director plans to make to Earth-Three could give Owlman a chance to cut ties with the Crime Syndicate. and rebuild his confidence.

While a member of the Crime Syndicate, Owlman committed many gruesome crimes, but his new alliance with the Suicide Squad may allow him to atone for his crimes and become a hero again. Like his counterpart on Prime Earth, Owlman’s injury had the potential to ruin his life, but he could follow in the footsteps of his heroic counterparts by using this traumatic experience to rebuild his body and mind and become a better person than he was. was not before.

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