Sunday, August 29, 2010

Comic Book Review: Batman #702

More than a month after I last touched on Batman, the second and last part of the chapter that explains the gap between Batman R.I.P and Final Crisis is finally here! What lies in store for Bruce Wayne before he finds himself displaced in time? Plenty, and every reason for me to give this short but sweet review of this latest issue of Batman, which is a must read again for fans who have resigned themselves to everything and anything about the Dark Knight under writer Grant Morrison's watch.

Batman #702
Written By: Grant Morrison

Illustrated By: Tony Daniels

The second and final part of "The Missing Chapter" picks up right where things left off - Batman investigating the death of the New God Orion and reporting his findings to Superman and the rest of his Justice League teammates. As I mentioned in the previous issue's review, things won't be immediately accessible to the average reader here. Keep in mind that the narrative follows the flow of the events chronicled in 2008's "Final Crisis", so it may be confusing to anyone jumping in and reading the story as is. Even before touching this book, I'd strongly recommend reading that miniseries first, and/or R.I.P for that matter just to get an inkling of what is going on. Morrison already assumes that the readers here are those who have already familiarized themselves with his run on both books, so this is just the clincher to fill in any other pieces missing in the puzzle. That said, this tale now proceeds with explaining just what happened to Batman before meeting his ultimate fate with destiny at the hands of Darkseid. What could be a fate worse than death? Well, this explains just what that is, and without giving away spoilers, it certainly feels a lot more burdening than the Dark Knight is accustomed to. His thoughts, feelings, and last moments before and after "Omega Day" are conveyed spectacularly by Morrison, and it's already a given the writer knows what he's doing with his material since it's just a matter of laying out the cards and explaining the interim period between his two crossovers.

I'll admit, I was very reserved with how he treated Batman during that time, but the fruits of his labor proved effective in the end when he introduced the new status quo reflected under the Batman: Reborn banner. Fans loved the changes, and so did I, but we all knew Bruce Wayne would return someday, and that's currently happening as we speak. Right now, questions surrounding his disappearance have been answered. The matter of appreciating how it went down, however, is left to the reader entirely, and in my own opinion, things went smoothly alright... at least where the entire event is concerned. Magic, time travel, and all that stuff not really associated with Batman have been the most frustrating things to gradually take in and accept, and Morrison's writing does take time to digest and appreciate. At least he's clear on his intent on the direction he wants to bring Bruce in. All we'll have to see is how that journey ends... and begins again once Batman Inc. comes into play come November. Also, art by Tony Daniels is still top notch as ever. I've come to appreciate the guy's pencils more and more as he chugs out his works for the caped crusader's exploits, and his tenure as writer isn't bad either. He and Morrison make a great pair though, and heavy writing plus inspiring artwork make for an awesome comic book package.

Now that it's gone and done, the two-part tale that brings Bruce Wayne back to the spotlight in the main Bat-book is over. Next month will see Dick Grayson back in the saddle, returning back to the present and preparing for the return of Mr. Wayne himself in a few months time. This issue didn't really blow my mind away after reading it the first time, but it certainly explained and supplemented to me material that compliments "The Return Of Bruce Wayne" storyline, leaving me anticipating his return and the impact that comeback will have on the future of the Bat-family. In all fairness, The Missing Chapter is a must read tale for fans who have followed Morrison's run on Batman, so pick this up if you are of that circle. I certainly am and did just that.

Rating - 9/10

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