It's a great week for Bat fans, and I say this without any exaggeration in mind. A new beginning has dawned over the saga of The Dark Knight, and it involves escalating his war against crime by taking it to a new level. As witnessed at the end of Batman and Robin #16, Batman will take his fight worldwide, and he's going to expand his reach by recruiting some of the best and brightest to become Batmen of their respective countries.
If that concept doesn't sound enticing enough, then blame writer Grant Morrison for it. He's the brains behind the Caped Crusader's adventures ever since he introduced his biological son, Damian Wayne, into mainstream DC continuity, and so far that idea has been embraced and accepted by fans worldwide. As I've said many times before, if there's one thing to be said about the Scotsman, it's his tenacity to make the unexpected WORK and inevitably PAYOFF by the end, and he's pretty much accomplished what he set forth to do when he wrangled Bruce Wayne through time and brought him back to the present day. Now that the original Dark Knight is back, the focus can now shift to his spotlight, which now has room for more than his lone shadow apparently.
Batman : The Return #1
Written By: Grant Morrison
Illustrated By: David Finch
Cover By: David Finch
This title may sound a little redundant given all that's happened already before this book came out, but Batman: The Return is still an essential read. Technically, Bruce already returned to the present time via the events of "Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #6", and we've seen the original Dark Knight kick ass with his replacement proteges in "Batman and Robin #16". It's all a confusing roller coaster ride of continuity to take note of I'm sure, but given how DC wants to introduce Bruce back properly into his rightful place, this issue does nicely to reintroduce him and remind readers new and old of who he is, and start his new direction right and with a bang.
The original Batman has returned. Bruce Wayne has come back from the life that is death brought upon him by Darkseid, and has reclaimed his place as Gotham's Dark Knight. However, his journey through time has inspired him to take his crusade even further than he possibly imagined. Called "Batman Incorporated", Batman's taking his fight against crime global, expanding his reach worldwide and creating a network of crimefighters that follow his lead. With that in mind, Bruce Wayne sets his plans into motion along with his trusted friends and allies, as the world of Batman takes the next step in its evolution!
Grant Morrison has tested the patience of many Batfans with the stories and changes he has engineered throughout his run with the franchise, but like it or not, his gambles have paid off, and I couldn't be happier for Batman right now. I must say it's damn good to be sticking around to witness such a monumental change in the saga of The Dark Knight, and it's a daring one at that too. The notion of seeing more than one Batman will take sometime getting used to for particular people. For me, I'm open to the idea, and it will be interesting to see how he works with his peers and gets the global bat approach working when all is said and done. This issue also focuses on his established network of allies and the new roles they'll be playing now that the plan is in motion. Dick Grayson and Damian Wayne in particular figure in this issue, and they'll be keeping their roles as Batman and Robin for the foreseeable future. The rest of the Bat-family also have some changes teased here, and it would be rude to spoil them here and other story elements if you haven't read this one-shot. The main tale already serves as a prologue to how things go down in Morrison's other new book also released this week "Batman Incorporated", so there's a lot of incentive to pick this up for those looking to continue reading his run.
The pencils alone by David Finch are a godsend, and if there was one person besides Jim Lee or Tony Daniel that I'd like to see work on the book, I'd have this artist as my pic. What's more, there's director's cut like material after the end, with sketches and "behind-the-scenes" material on how this book was made and what went through the minds of its creators. There you go in a nutshell, and all I'm going to say is that despite the hefty price this issue offers, it's worth the price of admission if you're looking to invest in "Batman Incorporated". Grant Morrison's writing and David Finch's art are a tag team combination gone wild, and I can't see any other book for them to work that has the huge impact and influence of a character in comics such as Batman.
Rating - 10/10