Every comic fan with a blog (and many without) will be talking about this issue, so I’ll make this brief. Grant Morrison is a great writer and has done more than his fair share of ground breaking work in the medium. This isn’t the best example. The entire R.I.P story arc, which has had flashbacks, alternate identities, the Black Glove and all manner of (hopefully) red herrings has been self-indulgent and meandering. Surely, this ignoble demise can’t be the death of Bruce Wayne. I can only hope that, like Jason Bourne in the last film, Wayne swims away to start life anew. The Batman identity will go on, after a “Battle for the Cowl,” involving his assorted partners over the years, and the too-obvious choice of Dick Grayson (the first Robin) in a full page spread holding the cape and cowl seems like another trick to us poor readers. I am excited about the future of this book though, especially with artist Andy Kubert working with writer Neil Gaiman as well as legendary writer/editor Denny O’Neil’s return to the Bat mythos, for two issues before then. O’Neil has crafted some of the best Bat tales ever and has expanded the Dark Knight’s world in a way no-one else since really has. At least his books should be enjoyable.
Basically R.I.P has been a drawn out storyline and this has been an unsatisfying conclusion. Granted, Joker seems scarily cool again, and Tony Daniel’s artwork has finally gotten somewhere above average, but that’s nowhere near enough. It may make sense when all the issues are read as a whole, but Bats deserves better. I’d like to hope that the new Owlman lookalike on the cover of the new Outsiders #15 is Wayne in a new identity though. In the meantime, if you want good Morrison Batman, check out the trade of Batman and Son. Or if you haven’t been following the R.I.P stuff, don’t bother buying back issues.
I think the growing pains are over and Bat-fans can breathe a sigh of relief now that the worst is behind us. Please tell me I’m right, DC. Please.