Reviewer: Evelyn Finch
Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: David Finch
Genre: Comic Book
MSRP: $4.99 U.S.
Release Date: Available Now
Whether you like it or not, the Batman universe is changing and the one-man-war-against-crime has now become something else that neither Gotham City or the world has seen before. In the past, Batman has had allies in his battles but a sudden disappearance and now re-appearance has made the man named Bruce Wayne realize that one bat and a Robin can’t do it alone. It’s time for a new ideas and nothing will ever be the same as we see in the first one-shot issue of Batman: The Return.
You can say whatever you will of Grant Morrison but the man can tell a story and oftentimes he does not disappoint. He also brings up some interesting themes in his stories as well as bring us to the sudden realization that Bruce Wayne, the man who has taken the fight to the criminal underworld, is not getting any younger as the opening indicates in its interestingly unique way. Oh, but there is still plenty of fight in Bruce Wayne and his announcement (in the end of Batman and Robin #16) is but the very tip-top of the iceberg.
When we first see Batman in this issue, he is going up against an armed terrorist named Hussain Mohammed holding a boy hostage. The terrorist will not give up, that much is sure, mainly because of fear. However, it isn’t fear of the bat but rather the group known as Leviathan. He’s willing to detonate himself with the boy because of this fear but this is the original Batman and he manages to save the day as well as deliver a cryptic warning to the boy’s father, Farouk.
Back in the Bat Cave, the original Batman finds himself standing before his allies that also include the man that took up the Batman costume while Bruce was missing and the new Robin (who so happens to be Bruce’s son). He even has Barbara Gordon attend his meeting. Having made his announcement, Bruce makes it clear that he wants everyone in the room to be a part of his new venture. He even introduces the new Internet 3.0 for Gordon to use as her role will take on an even more expanded range via the net.
He even heads to Wayne Industries, once again using new technology introduced by Lucius Fox such as combat robots that can be controlled via remote that was scraped by the U.S. military. It’s clear that Bruce is thinking out of the box for his new plan and that includes new weapons and tech to aid this new venture. There is definitely some potential in all the things this new crime fighting initiative will introduce such as some new jet-suits with short-range flight capabilities.
In fact, Bruce tests out these suits with his son, Damian, on an actual mission as Batman and Robin. Sure, we’ve seen Damian take up the Robin role with Dick Grayson but seeing him as Robin as his father’s backup is something else altogether. Unfortunately, Bruce wasn’t aware just how really different he is from the other Robins. Damian is challenging, unsupportive and certainly doesn’t take instructions. As they enter a bio-engineering plant in Yemen.
Damian feels he’s being tested by his father, a fact that makes him uncooperative during the mission and when a biologically-enhanced superhuman bodyguard attacks them, the fight falls on Batman’s hands while Robin leaves to explore the place further. Robin encounters a mysterious enemy who won’t tell him his name only that Robin will come to know him well very soon. Unfortunately, this mysterious figure gets away but it becomes clear that Leviathan is definitely making its move.
Quite possibly the most interesting event in this issue, however, is the aftermath of the mission. Bruce makes a rather cold decision about Damian’s future as Robin and it’s evident that the relationship between father and son will make for some intriguing possibilities down the line that may lead to some conflict between the two.
As I mentioned in the beginning, Grant Morrison might not be everyone’s cup of tea when it comes to the Batman but you do have to admit that he is more than capable of opening a door and surprising us with what comes out of it. I also like David Finch’s artwork and have even loved it in the past to the point that I’ve sung his praises many a times. And no, we’re not related, so my praise is genuinely out of respect for his work.
Batman: The Return is definitely the one-shot comic Batman fans will certainly should have among their collection. Sure, it’s a bit on the short side (the rest is dedicated to sketches and Morrison’s script) but it’s a good taste of the things we can expect from the Dark Knight and his new war on crime. These are interesting times, Batman fans, and consider us onboard for this one.
COMIC REVOLUTION RATING BREAKDOWN
Batman’s new war against crime is not just a plan anymore but the Caped Crusader is putting things in motion as he gather’s Gotham City’s current crop of crime fighters that include his own son, the new Robin. Speaking of Damian, Bruce takes him out on the field only to come to an interesting conclusion about his role. Meanwhile, Leviathan steps up their plans and setting the game in motion.
A good artist is one who doesn’t fail to impress with their craft but a great artist is one who make sit up on your seat and burn his art into your memory until you recognize their work immediately. Finch, of course, is the second one. My only complaint is that he just doesn’t quite do facial expressions justice but you have to admit that Finch draws an awesome Batman. I love the sketches at the end as well.
An intriguing beginning filled with promises we hope Batman’s new venture will continue to follow, Batman: The Return is sure to please hardcore fans of the Dark Knight. Grant Morrison has shown us plenty in the past and what he’s capable of doing with the Batman series so here’s hoping that he continues to surprise us now that Batman’s war on crime has gone globe trekking.
Review copy provided by DC Comics