Friday, September 12, 2008

My Book O' The Week

It was an interesting week, comics-wise. Everything I picked up was good (Except Deadpool #1, which was barely average)...but nothing jumped out as exceptional.

Which is why my Book O' The Week is more accurately my Trades O' The Week....


I've really been digging Grant Morrison's run on Batman. Before he took over the writing chores, it had been many years since I had picked up and individual issue. I kept up with the character mainly through his guest appearances, Justice League and the repository of all knowledge that is the Interwebs. But when I heard that the Mad Scotsman was going to be the new writer, I thought I'd give it a shot.

If you've been following his latest arc "Batman: R.I.P.", you know that Grant is sending Batman down a twisted path that throws in a mysterious villain known as The Black Glove, The Joker, revelations about Bruce Wayne's father, Bat-Mite, adventures from the Silver Age and the kitchen sink as well. What I didn't realize (and should have) was that Morrison was laying the groundwork for R.I.P. at the very beginning of his run.

"Batman and Son" introduces us to Damian (oh're many things, but subtle isn't one of them), the result of a wild night in the desert with longtime adversary Talia who is the daughter of Ra's Al Guhl. Damian, being raised by the League of Assassins, is the very definition of a "problem child" and his introduction to the Bat Family doesn't go smoothly.

Aside from the great storytelling, foreshadowing of future events and a ten-year old kid beating up Alfred, "Batman and Son" also throws in flying Man-Bat Ninjas. That's right....flying Man-Bat Ninjas. It doesn't get much cooler than that. Highly, highly recommended.

Which leads into "The Black Glove". Once again, Morrison brings a Silver Age concept into the modern era. Batman once belonged to "The Club of Super Heroes", whose membership featured the Batmen of Many Nations. They've all been assembled on a remote island and are being killed off one by one. But what seems like a simple locked room mystery introduces the main villain for "R.I.P.", the Black Glove and lays more foundation for what's to come.

One of the (many) charges leveled at Grant Morrison is that the individual issues of his stories sometimes don't make much sense...he waits until the end to pull all the threads together. This is true. But as readers, I think we've been gotten lazy in the age of Interweb spoilers. We have to know everything up front, even how the story is going to end. Half the fun of reading fiction is the journey we take finding out not just what happens, but how it happens. With his run on "Batman", Morrison is not only giving us great individual stories, but creating an epic tale of the Dark Knight and his journey to madness and back (maybe...the story's not finished). I don't know where Grant is headed, but I sure am enjoying the ride!

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