There’s a part of me that wants to write this review in total fanboy mode, because this book was just that good. But as a professional I will strive to be objective in this review…with a bit of fanboy destined to slip through.
As part of DC Comics’ epic, universe altering storyline (no, not the last one, the one before that one) Bruce Wayne: Batman, is flung back in time by Darkseid. The villain used his Omega Beam energy to remove Bruce from the current time stream with the most iniquitous intents, but more on this later.
Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne is a six part series during which Bruce finds himself traveling, seemingly aimlessly, through time. As is to be expected with a Grant Morrison story six issues reads like a novel with so much going on. No panels go to waste and any that don’t have dialogue are action packed. To do justice to this series I would do an article on each issue…but that’s crazy so I’ll hit the high points and wet your beak so you’ll just have to go out and pick it up.
Bruce’s initial destination is prehistoric times where curious, though frightened, members of the Deer People tribe discover his ship. Bruce emerges from a cave where the tribe’s wiseman is later seen underneath symbols (presumably he drew) of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern.
Bruce is disoriented, has no memory of who or what he is, how he got there or why. There is a communication issue, which for the issue is on Bruce’s side (when he is speaking it is gibberish, the reader sees the Deer People’s language clearly). But Bruce Wayne is still Batman, no matter what. Once he is back in possession of his belt the body remembers, reflexes and uses are ingrained; even Darkseid can’t take that away from him.
Batman and the first member of the People of Bats tribe escape a fight with a rival clan by jumping over a waterfall and this is when the time-jumps begin. Bruce emerges from the pool in colonial America fighting a great sea monster; like I said…action packed.
Issue two is incredibly important for two reasons: first – it gives the first real insight as to how Bruce is moving through time. What we are shown is that those in need that call out for assistance draw Bruce from where he is in the time steam to their place to lend them aid. This is the principle continued through the remaining issues. Second – the team sent to find Batman, consisting of Superman, Green Lantern, Booster Gold and Doctor Hunter are shown at the Vanishing Point (the nexus of all reality where the guardians exist who catalog everything that has or will ever be in existence) in hopes of better tracking Batman’s Omega Beam energy signal. They arrive just as the timeline is ending and all historical data is being moved to a black hole for storage and safe keeping.
As the story progresses we see several iterations of Gotham until we eventually land in near-current time; essentially around the time Bruce’s parents were murdered. Bruce meets his grandmother who suspects that Thomas Wayne was actually a villain and had Martha killed while he faked his death.
Because Bruce carries little memory of who he is this affects him less than one would suspect, but it still resonates as he begins to draw back the curtain of his essence.
The story of Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne is as intricate as it is intriguing. With each issue you are immediately drawn in to the new time period Bruce finds himself in. Morrison manages to pull so many things together with themes running throughout. He creates a new, rich vein in the Batman lore that would be well served to last a long time…ok, well with the New 52 it probably won’t last long, but still!
I was excited to pick this book up because I had heard such good things about it and I was not disappointed in the slightest. This book gets a resounding A+ meaning it is a must read. If you’re a Batman fan you’ll enjoy the richness of the story and the elegance Morrison writes the character. If you’re new to Batman or haven’t found a story that made you like him, this will bring you into the fold for sure.
If you have suggestions for future Bin Fodder reviews, drop me a line in comments! Or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out this week’s Playlist!
Till next Wednesday…
Dishwalla – Creeps in the Stone, No Use For A Name – Sleeping In, Joshua Radin – Star Mile, Sensefield – Burn, Switchfoot – Dare You To Move, Panic At The Disco – Time to Dance, Chin Up, Chin Up – This Harness Can’t Ride Anything, Nirvana – Drain You, Dismemberment Plan – Play for the Piano, Jonathan Coulton – A Talk with George, Thursday – Jet Black New Year, Saves the Day – Rocks Tonic Juice Magic, At the Drive In – Pattern Against User