Friday, August 8, 2008

Batman R.I.P. reviews (spoilers)

No issue of Batman this week, true, but we did get three comics bearing the "Batman R.I.P." logo, some closer to Morrison's tale, some less. But all were great books, and serve to make me more anxious for next week's installment of the main title.

Robin #176 was the closest tie-in, as Tim struggles with the possibility that Batman--his father, since Face the Face--may be going insane, and that he may have to bring him down. The conclusion to the two-parter begun in the last issue, this story has shown the effects of whatever Bruce is going through on his closest associate (well, other than Alfred, maybe - maybe we need an Alfred one-shot). Spoiler plays an important role in this issue, making me raise my expectations for her resurrection. Fabian Nicieza continues to show that he is set to be one of the great Batman-family writers, hinted at in his Nightwing issue that tied into the Ra's al Ghul crossover, as well as his recent Trinity contribution with Dick, Tim, and Babs. And apparently, this story leads right into next week's Batman - let's hope this pays off.

Nightwing #147 had virtually nothing to do with R.I.P., but it didn't need to, as this title has been excellent since Peter Tomasi took it over a storyline ago. Along with Don Kramer's incredible pencils, Dick is portrayed as smart, strong, and capable - the imagery of him heading into the windshield of the kidnapper's car was inspired. Sure, he's not looking too good at the end, but he's human - at least he didn't fall down until he saved the day.

Detective Comics #847 is tangentially tied into R.I.P., if only because Hush wants to be the one to make that title real, and the Black Hand is referenced several times. Not so much Batman here - not because he's M.I.A., R.I.P., or S.O.L. - but to make room for fleshing out Hush's backstory. Dini is performing much needed service here, as I loved the character of Hush from day one, but was never given much background (other than childhood friend who handled the death of a parent a little differently than Bruce did - another play on the Wrath theme, but who's counting). As a result, I can't wait for more details on Tommy's past.

That may be the main purpose of this arc, but the emphasis of the female characters in the Bat-universe in recent issues of Detective has also been fantastic - in this issue it's Catwoman (as Selina) confronting Zatanna on the street, asking her about her relationship with Bruce, getting catty about Jezebel Jet, and sharing some romantic grief. Terrific with a capital T - it's not often we see the women in Batman's life interacting like this - maybe they should form a support group (with Bruce in secret attendance, like Matt Murdock in Decalogue).

Next week - Batman #679!

P.S. Cool Batman moment of the week - sneaking up on Wally West in Trinity #10 - classic...

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