Writer: Grant Morrison
Artists: Cameron Stewart, Chris Burnham & Frazer Irving
Date: January 2011
My Rating: Awesome!
Wow, what a great issue! Just a reminder, I’m gonna assume you’ve read it already, or don’t mind about spoilers. Instead of going page by page through the issue, I just want to talk about a few things I found interesting. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the book too, please feel free to comment! Also I think I’m required to say that all images taken from the comicbooks belong to DC, not to me.
One thing I’ve found kind of confusing lately is the timeline, since Return of Bruce Wayne isn’t finished yet, but Bruce is here in this issue. I’m so excited to see him again, but I hope the reunion moments are a bit more involved than what we see here – there should be hugs!! Dark, battish hugs. Maybe R of BW 6 will take care of that, or Batman 704. And I just realized I have Detective Comics 870 and haven’t read it yet!!
So, I really liked the opening with the flashback Thomas Wayne/Dr Hurt/Barbatos thing. It’s great to have some clarity as to who Hurt is and why he’s involved with the Waynes. I love the image of Wayne/Hurt with the Bat on page 5, the way the bat is all kinda fuzzy and Wayne/Hurt is all clear and crisp, great style. Then we have our title page, where the Batman facing down Hurt is very much Bruce, not Dick. Love how he’s drawn here, looks very strong without being too square. He could take criminals out with that chin alone.
The fight scene after, with two Batmen and a Robin, I think was drawn really well. I especially love Damian on the bottom of page 13, the flip and arrow shot. The panels aren’t standard shapes, and the action feels very dynamic, like it was moving. You really get the sense of Damian flipping and flying through the air, and still able to shoot the gas canister. Sorry my scans aren’t awesome quality, I didn’t even realize we had a scanner until yesterday
Then bottom of pg 15, Bruce tells Damian “You made the right choices. I’m proud of you.” I got a little teary! So nice to have Bruce back. And apparently willing to say all sorts of things one might not expect to hear! There are so many ways his relationship with Damian could change now that he’s back, it will be really interesting to watch it all unfold. Another cool thing re Damian in this issue was that he helped Dick out a couple times in fights, which seems to be a big step for them. Everyone’s been speculating about what’s going to happen to Batman and Robin now that Bruce is back, but I’m almost more interested in what’s going to happen to Dick and Damian (and Tim!). Will they have a hard time having to take orders again, or will they arrange things so they don’t have to? I can’t imagine Bruce not being in charge, but they’ve all had to work without him on a variety of occasions including just over the last little while. So, we’ll see. What do you think?
Again, the art in this issue is awesome. The scene with Batman running through the manor, down to the Cave, and then the difference in texture of how the trap he ends up in is drawn, so beautiful. (And why, WHY would Hurt think he could kill Batman in his own Cave??)
Are you into the whole Pyg thing? I’m really kinda not, though he gets some good lines – there was “PCP is for work” , and today we get “I’m not wearing protection, my darlings” as the insane mob overtakes him. Meanwhile, Batman (Dick) has been shot in the head in a non-immediately-lethal way that’s coming closer to being lethal, and Damian has to save the day. “Superhero time” – such a good moment. And lucky for all of us, Gordon gets cured from the dollotron-poison and returns to the precinct, still wearing the special little outfit:
Oh, Joker. Why are you so awesome? I love how Morrison writes Joker, so wrong yet so very very right. And I’m totally into how he’s drawn in this issue, such as on page 27 and 29. Mr J’s reunion with Batman on page 30 was my favourite moment in the issue. I love to think that after such a long journey, after Bruce has been gone for so long and Joker didn’t know what he was going to do with himself (I mean, what is Joker without Batman?) they’re together again, and fighting as they always do. The fact that they’re in a cemetery just fits, you know?
So, then we have the ending. It was written about pretty widely online, I think it got more publicity than most comicbook plot twists would because it’s such a fundamental change to the mythos. Bruce has always been the airhead playboy, and now not only is he admitting connection to the Batman, but he’s also taking on social responsibility in a public way. That’s gotta have consequences. It was cool to see Bruce standing on stage with his family (Alfred, Dick, Tim and Damian) and with several Bat-signals shining behind him.
So yeah, overall, I’d rate this book at awesome. Art, story, world changes, everything, it’s all excellent. I’m sure there’s a lot of subtext that I didn’t mention, but you can find that elsewhere. Let me know what you think, and see you next time! I am the night.
p.s. Just came across two *awesome* things regarding B&R 16. There’s a detailed analysis of the fight scene I mentioned, and Cameron Stewart (the artist himself) wrote about this issue on his blog.