The Death of a Comic Book, Not Necessarily its Hero

Journal - Reviews

Batman: R.I.P.

Comic Book Review

Batman: R.I.P.

 

When Grant Morrison first came on to write the Batman title, I was very excited. Though hit or miss, I am overall a fan of his writing. At this point, I was riding high on his superbly executed run on All Star Superman with Frank Quietly. That story line, to me, really showed off Morrison's talent for bringing together historically esoteric concepts behind a character, with true love for their role in the greater story.

 

This, unfortunately, is where Batman R.I.P. goes awry. As a set up to this story arc, the preceding stories Morrison wove in the Batman title drew out antiquated characters that had been long forgotten in the canon of the Batman. It is fun to see a little side story about the 'Club of Heroes' -- Essentially a united nations of Batman impersonators. But when you attempt to tie them into the main story arch of Batman and his struggle with confronting his own demise, it becomes silly and very apparent why these characters had been intentionally swept under the rug.

 

I can honestly not tell you a single memorable thing that happened in the story. At least plot-wise. I can tell you that every issue was like reading every other issue. A never ending hallucination where Batman is talking to his imaginary Batmite alter ego while wearing a uninteresting historic reference to a red and yellow, 'robin' colored batsuit.

 

Issue after issue, this is the summary. He is being tormented by villains who have sent him out of his mind, he talks to batmite and wears this suit. There is a predisposed interest in a new villain called the black glove, who by his second reference I had already lost all interest in and didn't care at all who he really was. The payoff to the black glove was that he reveals himself to be Bruce Wayne's own father! But then Batman tells him 'No you're not!' and the black glove retorts: 'You're right, I'm just acting like your father!'.

 

Batman: R.I.P.

To wrap up the story, which already has been all over the news, Batman died. But wait! I didn't see him die! He died? According to CNN he died! But I just saw Batman ride a crashing helicopter into the river. Something I've seen him do numerous times before. There is no body and no dramatic impact to anything around him that told me he really died.

 

The very next two part story, has Batman being captured and having his mind meddled with by some villains. I was shocked to have Doc Wyatt ask me, 'Who is it that they have captured?'. I was like, it's Batman. He was like, 'Batman has died'. But I never read anything in any of these stories that implied that he died! 

 

It's a perfect ending to a horrible story. Nothing makes sense, it's entirely forgettable, and there is no reasoning behind anything that happens, other than Morrison's obvious dependance on mind altering drugs to act creative. But at least compared to 'Final Crisis', it's like reading a well-told fairy tale with a crystal clear moral at the end.