Thursday, November 27, 2008

Batman #681

So after a slight delay we finally get the final chapter of the Batman "R.I.P." story by Grant Morrison with art by Tony Daniel and Sandu Florea.

The good news is, the story finally explains some of the more confusing aspects of this very confusing story.

As I've said before - at a time when millions are flocking to see a film based on "The Dark Knight," why would you produce a nightmarish, multi-part story that's written in such a way as to confuse the most die-hard reader?

It tells the story of Batman's journey through madness, and his survival is only possible because he has prepared backup plans for every eventuality. He also trusts his "Batman family" to have his back - and that includes some particularly bloodthirsty members.

The story is riveting because the good guys are up against impossible odds - an army of thugs, a hidden coven of the super-rich, entertaining themselves with a life-or-death game - and then mix in the ultimate wild card, The Joker, and you have a surreal final confrontation between the forces trying to control Gotham and destroy The Batman.

Don't expect too many answers, though - the murky ending leaves the status of Batman in doubt.

I suspect this story will read much more easily in a collection, especially if it includes notations to explain some of the more obscure references - but taken in one-issue increments, the R.I.P. story is a difficult one to follow.

Hardcore fans of the Bat will enjoy it, but the casual reader will be lost. I recommend holding out for the upcoming "Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?" story.

Grade: B-

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