Recently read a Facebook note by Lloydie about missing certain things. Lloydie is presently in Malaysia or Singapore or somewhere searching for himself, training in the various modes of Asian self-defense. He is travelling the world for all sorts of spiritual fulfillment and discovering his chakras or something, like what Batman did after the events of Infinite Crisis. You would think that after 70 years of existence there is nothing left for Bruce Wayne to learn, but he leaves Gotham nevertheless in the hands of the reformed Two-Face, the Birds of Prey, and such. And now he is gone again. Why? Because he is dead. Or trapped in the past after being hit by the beams of Darkseid in Final Crisis. Or something. For sure he doesn’t appreciate The Black Hand licking his skull.
In Infinite Crisis #4 Batman torments himself in the Bat Cave as he watches his own creation the Brother Eye wreak havoc in the universe. He hits his giant computer screen with a chair, keels over, and cries in anguish. He remembers the pivotal events in his life—the death of Jason Todd at the hands of the Joker, the shooting of Barbara Gordon at the hands of the Joker, the death of his parents. He cries “I wish I could go back”, at which point the Superman of Earth 2, Kal-L, shows up and says that indeed he can.
Been recently finding—or losing—myselves in such a state, the desire to go back. Memory can indeed be confounded. Obviously I wouldn’t want to rotate in OB again, but memory works in such a way that the past always seems much simpler, much funnier, much more comfortable, such that I only have fond memories of being with Ditz the Titz, Mrs. T, Smoketh, Ol, and the rest in the backdrop of a strong lochia stench. Or the memories of childhood. We would always get annoyed when the then-adults would tell us that we were lucky that we don’t have worries, that we shouldn’t rush to adulthood. They were right. The bullies, the boredom, the annoying Hanabishi family computer cartridge that wouldn’t work—they are fleeting, they go away after a while, they are inconsequential. But not the confusing crossroads of career or non-career. Or being in a genuine financial rut. Or the torments of relationship or non-relationship. Or the diseases and the deaths. Or the intangible yet very real crisis of self-discovery. And we are not Bruce or the thousands of DC heroes and villains who would die, become Black Lanterns, and somehow manage to live again to be in new ongoing story arcs once more. We wish we could go back, but we don’t have the Flux Capacitor, do we.