Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
Morrison, Daniel & Florea
I realize the Grant Morrison run on Batman has been met with heated debate, particularly the RIP story arc. He calls upon stories and characters from deep in the silver age. He seems to write comics that require many reads to find all the clues and hidden items within them. Fortunately, I haven’t read the whole run. I read one trade and the Resurrection crossover. I’m not trained in the art of dissecting his comics or hating his style. This particularly comic is excellent. Even as a standalone, without all the links to the past issues on the current run or previous characters from the silver age.
The story begins with Batman talking to stone gargoyles and a flying, fat, little cartoon bat. Batman, in a new costume, has lost his mind. Either because he’s been drugged and is hallucinating or because he is just out of his skull. Either way, Batman is talking to things that you normally don’t see him talking to. Batman has also become brutal in his fighting style. He just takes violence to a whole new level. It’s great.
When Batman has a minute with his little buddy we get the low down on what happened to Batman. Batman has lost Bruce Wayne. The man that was Bruce Wayne is gone now. The Batman that remains is the personality that exists without the Bruce Wayne half of Batman. This Batman is the personality of another Batman – called Zur-en-arrh. Basically, Batman took a Batman personality from another world or dimension and adopted it as his backup personality if the Bruce character went down. It’s complicated, but it is so cool and creative.
Robin, is still on the run from the villains and he calls in some allies of some sort (from some other arc I presume). Batman cleans up some bottom feeders and takes one captive. Meanwhile, Commissioner Gordon is taken captive while paying a visit to Wayne Manor.
An exchange occurs with the prisoner Alfred that reveals that one of the main villains in this arc is actually Bruce Wayne’s father. Or is he? He accuses Alfred of being the real father of Bruce. The issue closes with Dr. Hurt laying out that there is a trap for Batman at Arkham. But, Batman has triggered the trap with his own agenda. This isn’t the Batman everyone is used to. The issue has some other elements to it as well, such Nightwing and the Joker. The next issue promises to be a walk down Batman lane.
I loved this issue. There is a ton of mystery in here. You can make any number of guesses as to how this thing is going to end. You can also run your head dizzy with some of the possibilities. How bad would that be if Alfred was really Bruce’s father? How crazy would it be if Bruce is really gone and this new nutcase is the norm? Is Robin really going to be Batman? I could go on and on.
Now, this story is of particular interest to me because I love it when Batman goes nuts. Insane nuts, not tough guy nuts. I like almost every arc with the Scarecrow and I loved stories like Knightfall, where Batman is pushed to the brink and loses it or just loses. However, in Knightfall, the villain was a real menace. In this story we really don’t have a strong handle on who the villain is. It would be perfect if the real bad guy was the Joker all of this time. It would seem unlikely that one of the lackeys we’ve seen could be the one to take Batman down for good. We’ll see.
The artwork is so fitting for this story. The sheer brutality of Batman beating the crap out of people is perfectly enhanced with this artwork. This issue has creepy art when it needs to be, but it also has some great emotions, like Alfred or Commissioner Gordon. The new costume looks outstanding.
All I can tell you about this issue is why I liked it. I like my Batman worn out and pushed to the brink. I like my Batman stories to have villains who don’t show all their cards. I like Batman stories when his support system is getting picked off one by one. This comic has all of that. I cant imagine someone reading this issue and not wanting to read the next one, but I realize this story and type of storytelling just isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Maybe I am too green for my own good with this story, but I don’t care if I am missing some detail here or there. The basic story has my attention and I like it.
5 out of 5 geek goggles