The story of Superman/Batman Vol. 6, Torment, came to my attention by a post on Google Plus by a member who fashions herself (at least I think its a girl) after the DC character Talia Al Ghul. She posted a cover of Torment part four, Trapped. The cover shows a powerful and beautiful woman wielding two guns standing in front of Batman. Only the woman is not Talia Al Ghul. She is Bekka, the wife of Orion of the New Gods.
The story of Torment takes us from the streets of Gotham, to the outer reaches of Apokolips. What begins as a random burglary, by Killer Croc, of an ancient Krptonian artifact. Soon turns interstellar as without explanation Superman begins to show signs of paranoia and paralyzing fear. Investigating the theft and the actions of his friend, Batman realizes only one criminal has the power to induce such fear. Scarecrow. But to effect Superman to such a degree it needs to be much more than Scarecrow is capable of. Using the galactic boom tube to travel, Batman soon realizes that what is behind it all is not only Scarecrow, but Darkseid himself. Darkseid who has been weakened and needs Superman to travel to the Source Wall and retrieve the Highfathers staff. With the use of the staff, Darkseid can return to his full power. Batman tries to save his friend but Superman turns on him and beats him. Leaving Batman broken and dying. In steps Bekka and transports the Dark Knight away. Using her powers she heals Batman but it is her other power that has the most effect on him. And on her.
“…I am a God, Batman. And like all the Gods in this universe, I am defined by a power or obsession. In my case some might call it an affliction. For Darkseid, its a yearning for ultimate control. For Desaad, its an addiction to pain. For me…its the creation of desire, both physical and emotional. I draw it from others, like a siren’s call, except I am equally affected. I cant control it. I can’t explain it. It just is…”
Bekka is attracted to those who deny themselves love. Those who have isolated themselves from any emotional feelings.
This is an interesting storyline and there are many that are as humanizing where the New Gods are concerned. Much like the InHumans of Marvel lore, these characters are difficult to relate to. But with Bekka, this warrior God. She does not only seduce others with her power, but is seduced herself. In Torment, we see Batman come undone. His pain and loneliness healed in the arms of another’s wife. Pretty daring for DC. Pretty good writing as well. There is a weak and stumbling Darkseid. Superman an emotional wreck as he suspects Lois Lane of cheating on him. Scarecrow tied and bled so that a alien demons can feed off his scabs. And there is Batman, in need and in love.
A good story and different. Excellent writing by Alan Burnett and awesome artwork of Dustin Nguyen.