WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Justice League #6 by Scott Snyder, Jorge Jimenez, Alejandro Sanchez and Tom Napolitano, in stores now.
In the pages of Scott Snyder and Jorge Jimenez's Justice League, the worlds' greatest superheroes are on the ropes. In fact, it almost looks like they're waging a battle they can't possibly win. After the heart of the Source Wall -- the Totality -- crashed down on Earth, a race kicked off between the League and Lex Luthor's Legion of Doom to see who would get to it first -- and who would control its awesome power.
In their bid to safely reach the Totality, both Superman and Martian Manhunter breached its shell, with a microscopic Batman and Hawkgirl hidden inside their respective bodies. (Seriously!) Batman and Hawkgirl's mission was to protect their respective host's bodies from the unique mutagens of the Totality, but what they didn't know was that they weren't alone. The Joker managed to find himself aboard Hawkgirl's minuscule ship inside Martian Manhunter's body, while Lex Luthor sneaked his own ship inside Superman.
In Justice League #6, this adventure inside the bodies of Superman and J'onn J'onzz reaches a boiling point, and it ends with Bruce Wayne sustaining his most catastrophic injury since he first faced the Venom-powered Bane.
Issue #6 begins with Luthor and Joker now in full control of their hosts, as they find themselves on the precipice of reaching the center of the Totality. But before Luthor can achieve his goal, Batman fights back, and smashes him out of his ship. There, among Superman's cells, the Dark Knight and Luthor wage a battle for control of the Man of Steel, as well as the Totality. In the midst of the battle, Luthor drops the doorknob that has been in his possession ever since the beginning of this new arc -- a doorknob that was forged from the pure cosmic power of the Totality itself. But though Batman attempts to grab it, Luthor reaches it first, and unleashes its full power on the Dark Knight.
The purple blast from the doorknob breaks Bruce's arms and legs and, just like that, Luthor sends him packing with Superman and Martian Manhunter. The three superheroes are teleported back to the Hall of Justice, Batman now back at his full size. Defeated and broken, Batman lies on the floor, his limbs utterly shattered. It's a terrible injury, one that looks incredibly painful, and it doesn't look like one Bruce Wayne will just be able to walk off.
It's easily the most brutal beating the character has received since Bane broke his back in the 1993-1994 "Knightfall" storyline. Readers might recall that, following his defeat at the hands of Bane, Bruce Wayne took a long time to recover -- so much so in fact that a new Batman had to rise up to take his place.
And, though there's no second Batman waiting in the wings here (Dick Grayson's current stint under the cowl in Batman is entirely unrelated), it appears as though this isn't an injury Bruce Wayne will recover from between panels, or even between this issue and the next.