Doctober Spotlight – Doctor Hurt
At least Summer has released us from it’s sweaty grip and we are free to sit by evening fires and wear hoodies like real Americans. And to celebrate the arrival of October, we here at evilgeeks.com are throwing a Doctober shindig! A month loaded with spotlights on some of the finest fictional doctors ever to be created. So let’s get this ball rolling, huh?
I love Grant Morrison’s run on Batman. He pulls so much from the history of Batman and adds his fair share as well. And while villains like Professor Pyg, The Flamingo, and the Black Glove are all fascinating additions to the myth, they all pale in comparison to the primary antagonist of Morrison’s first four or so years on the book(s), Doctor Simon Hurt.
First appearing in Batman #156 way back in June 1963, the then-unnamed Doctor performed a sleep deprivation experiment on Batman. While at the time this character was meant to have been a benevolent throwaway medical professional, Morrison drew very heavily from the hallucinatory nature of that original appearance and threw the twist that this unnamed scientist was actually planting seeds for the greatest trials in all of Batman’s career. Going Bat-Shit Crazy.
As the leader of the Black Glove, an influential super-criminal organization, Hurt manipulates Batman from a distance through psychological torture and an attempt to ruin Bruce’s name with scandalous rumors about the late Doctor Thomas Wayne. Finally, after using a combination of information obtained during his sleep deprivation tests and a good old fashioned cocktail of street drugs, he tosses a broken and crazed Batman into the streets. And to make things even weirder, Hurt begins dresses as the late Thomas Wayne (or at least like a fancy dress costume he once wore) and insisting that he is, in fact, the late father of Batman.
Naturally, since Batman is Batman, he finds his way back to Hurt with an asskicking in hand. As luck would have it, though, not long afterward Darkseid sends Batman hurtling back through time, so he’s out of commission for a bit and Doctor Hurt steps back up to the plate to terrorize Gotham once more. He capably handles Dick Grayson and Damian Wayne in their roles as the replacement Batman and Robin shooting Dick in the head and recruiting the vulnerable Damian to his own dark causes.
Thankfully, though, being unstuck in time can’t do in the true Batman and he returns to the present from his vacation throughout history armed with some new information. Hurt… and this is maybe a bit editorial since who knows exactly what Morrison was saying… but Hurt was actually an ancestor of the Wayne family from the Puritan era of America who got mixed up with some devil worship and wound up as a contemporary of young Thomas and Martha. Ever the humanitarians, they helped him to get medical help under the pretense that he was their unwell son (This is also a one-off story from the history of Batman more recently addressed by Scott Snyder). Hurt, however, would have you believe that he was the Devil incarnate… but I think there are a lot of people locked up in asylums the world over who might make that claim. Anyway, Bruce comes to the rescue of his sons and Hurt is last seen slipping on a banana peel left by the Joker.
We’re meant to believe it was fatal, or at least whatever the Joker did next was. Here’s hoping he comes back sometime, as long as it’s in capable hands.