Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thoughts on Batman #681 (R.I.P. conclusion) - SPOILERS!!!

Just read Batman #681, the much-anticipated conclusion to Grant Morrison's "Batman R.I.P." storyline (and his entire run on Batman to this point). And I thought it was very good - it confirmed some suspicions, tied up a few loose ends, but at the same time left enough dangling threads to be picked up later, and definitely gives readers some things to think about (which is high praise for any comic).


Probably my greatest relief is that Batman does not "die" from getting beaten down by the Black Glove. He escapes from live burial (with some particularly inspiring, and seriously bad-ass, internal dialogue), and, with the help of Nightwing, Robin, and the Club of Heroes, fairly easily defeats the Black Glove (including Jezebel Jet - big surprise there). (Oh, and Damian may have killed the Joker with the Batmobile - almost forgot.) Batman's apparent death occurs while pursuing Hurt, after Hurt messes with Bruce's mind a bit, claiming to be Thomas Wayne (which I don't buy for a minute - it is a brilliant ruse, though villains have tried to soil his memory of the senior Waynes before). Add to that some additional insight into his experience at Nanda Parbat, and this issue was an extremely enjoyable and intriguing read.

(Great art too - Daniels seemed to be channeling Neal Adams at points - though some of the surprises could have been better placed, such as Nightwing's escape from lobotomy, placed in the last panel of a page instead of a splash panel on the next. (Now let's see how he writes "Battle for the Cowl"...)

So... is he dead? Come on - no body, no death, simple as that. They almost made it too easy to bring him back, since we have to believe Batman can escape something as simple as an exploding helicopter. (Bringing back Steve Rogers, now that'll be more of a challenge, and it better not involve Mephisto or a cosmic cube.) The point with Batman is not when they'll bring him back, but how, and the stories they'll tell in the meantime.

Let's just hope they're good ones.

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