How Did Batman Survive Darkseid's Deadliest Superpower, the Omega Beams?

Today, we look at how Batman not only survived a direct blast from Darkseid's Omega Beams, but he even found a way to fight back from being blasted into literally the Stone Age.

This is "Never Gonna Be the Same Again," a feature where I look at how bold, seemingly "permanent" changes were ultimately reversed. This is not a criticism, mind you, as obviously things are always going to eventually return to "normal." That's just how superhero comic books work. It's just fun to see how some of these rather major changes are reversed. This is differentiated from "Abandoned Love," which is when a new writer comes in and drops the plot of the previous writer. Here, we're talking about the writer who came up with the idea being the same one who resolved the change. This is also differentiated from "Death is Not the End," which is about how "dead" characters came back to life, since this is about stuff other than death.

This one is a bit trickier than a normal "Never Gonna Be the Same Again," as this borders on the level of a "resurrection," but I don't think it really counts as that because of how Batman's "death" in Final Crisis was handled.

WHAT HAPPENED IN FINAL CRISIS?

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I recently wrote a bit about how you really shouldn't aim your work at your dumbest readers, and Final Crisis sure wasn't that, as Grant Morrison wrote a complex story that took place over a number of interrelated titles over the course of a few years, but the basic deal with Darkseid is that there was there was supposed to be a "War of the Heavens" that would end the Fourth World and begin the Fifth World (this was sort of depicted in Death of the New Gods and Countdown to Final Crisis). However, Darkseid was way too stubborn to let that happen, so he escaped death by traveling through time and space. During DC Universe #0 (by Grant Morrison, Geoff Johns and Doug Mahnke), we saw him fall through time and space and end up in the past.

In that same issue, the "higher beings" also return Barry Allen to the living to bring Darkseid back to where he was supposed to be, which was dead.

Darkseid fell through time and space all the way back to the Seven Soldiers: Mister Miracle mini-series from a few years before Final Crisis. There it was established that Darkseid was staying alive by taking on a human host body. Darkseid also brought all his minions with him and they have human host bodies, too (they all still died in the war of the heavens, but as Jack Kirby established way back when, Darkseid can recreate his minions just through his memories of them - think of them as basically extensions of Darkseid's self). In the Mister Miracle mini-series, we discovered a new twist on Darkseid's classic Omega Beams, which can transport people across time and space (usually killing them in the process). Here he used his "Omega Sanction" on Mister Miracle, which "kills" Mister Miracle, but basically it forces Mister Miracle to re-live his life over in Seven Soldiers: Mister Miracle #4 (by Morrison, Freddie Williams II and Dave McCaig) and over in some otherworldly dimension. Being the world's greatest escape artist, however, Mister Miracle "escaped Death."

Darkseid then fires a Radion bullet through time and kills Orion. The Justice League investigate and that's how Final Crisis kicks off.

WHAT HAPPENED TO BATMAN IN FINAL CRISIS?

While investigating Orion's murder with a member of the Alpha Lanterns of the Green Lantern Corps (special Lanterns designed to hunt down and punish super threats, including other Green Lanterns), Batman realized that the Alpha Lantern had been possessed by Granny Goodness (one of Darkseid's minions) and she captured Batman in Final Crisis #2 (by Morrison, J.G. Jones and Alex Sinclair) and the Dark Knight is thus missing for most of Final Crisis...

We learned in Batman #683 (by Morrison, Lee Garbett, Trevor Scott and Gus Major) that Darkseid's plan was to create an army of Batman clones, but the problem was that when a Darkseid underling, the Lump, used his telepathic powers to imprint Batman's talents on to the clones, Batman's trauma was too much for the clones. As it turned out, only Batman could live with the stuff that Batman has been through...

Having escaped from captivity, Batman then challenges Darkseid in Final Crisis #6 (by Morrison, Jones and Sinclair) and then shoots Darkseid with the same Radion bullet that killed Orion (the bullet doesn't instantly kill Darkseid, but its poisonous nature will eventually kill him)...

However, the "Omega Sanction" was already sent by Darkseid before Batman shot him and so even after Batman fatally wounded Darkseid, Darkseid's Omega Sanction got the Dark Knight...

Superman believed that Batman was dead (it was actually one of the Batman clones), as seen in Final Crisis #7 (by Morrison and Doug Mahnke and Sinclair)...

The issue ends, though, with the revelation that Darkseid's blasts had actually sent Batman back in time (Morrison had wanted readers to figure that out on their own that Batman wasn't really dead but sent through time, but DC was worried people wouldn't figure it out, so they asked Morrison to make it explicit at the end of the event and the writer did so) back to the Stone Age...

HOW DID BATMAN RETURN TO THE PRESENT?

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In the first issue of the miniseries, The Return of Bruce Wayne (Morison wrote each issue with a different artist each issue. This first issue was drawn by Chris Sprouse, Karl Story and Guy Major), Batman (who has lost his memory) travels through time from the Stone Age to the time of the Pilgrims...

Right after he traveled in time, Superman, Green Lantern and Booster Gold arrive in the Stone Age (via Rip Hunter and Hunter's time machine) too late for Batman. As it turns out, the heroes are tracking the Omega Radiation in Batman and they have to stop Batman from reaching the present or he will kill everyone...

You see, in one of the most fiendish plans you can imagine, Darkseid naturally assumed that Batman WOULD find a way to return to the present when he blasted him into the past, but by traveling through a series of time portals (and a creature designed to make sure Batman would "have" to head for the portals in each time period), Batman would keep increase the Omega radiation in his body until he reached the present day, at which point he would be filled with so much Omega radiation that he would literally destroy the universe.

The Omega radiation was tied into Batman's own heartbeat. So long as the Dark Knight lived, the Omega radiation would build. THAT was how confident Darkseid was in Batman's inability to be killed, that he bet the destruction of the universe on it (and, as as bonus, if Batman somehow DID die, then, well, great, Batman's dead).

Well, in the finale of the six-issue series (art by Lee Garbett, Pere Perez, Alejandro Sicat, Walden Wong and Guy Major), when things looked the bleakest, Wonder Woman joined the fray and agreed that Batman HAD to die...

In reality, they stopped his heartbeat and rendered him clinically dead, while using an Amazonian Purple healing ray to keep him JUST barely alive until all of the Omega radiation was out of his body and then just hoped that that will to live we've been talking about was enough to get him back to life. However, as Batman struggled to return to the land of the living, he recalled that when he first became Batman, it was Alfred who helped patch him up, keeping him alive to keep his mission going, and just like now, Batman had ALWAYS relied on other people, he was never alone. And with that, he regained consciousness and lost the last of the Omega radiation and was back in business...

His vision while clinically dead also inspired him to form Batman Incorporated, but that's a whole other story.

If you have a suggestion for a future Never Gonna Be the Same Again, drop me a line at [email protected]

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About The Author
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Brian Cronin (15136 Articles Published)

CBR Senior Writer Brian Cronin has been writing professionally about comic books for over a dozen years now at CBR (primarily with his “Comics Should Be Good” series of columns, including Comic Book Legends Revealed). He has written two books about comics for Penguin-Random House – Was Superman a Spy? And Other Comic Book Legends Revealed and Why Does Batman Carry Shark Repellent? And Other Amazing Comic Book Trivia! and one book, 100 Things X-Men Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die, from Triumph Books. His writing has been featured at ESPN.com, the Los Angeles Times, About.com, the Huffington Post and Gizmodo. He features legends about entertainment and sports at his website, Legends Revealed and other pop culture features at Pop Culture References. Follow him on Twitter at @Brian_Cronin and feel free to e-mail him suggestions for stories about comic books that you'd like to see featured at [email protected]!

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