Artist: Andy Kubert
I have been going through as many of my Batman stories from both comic and graphic novel collections, focusing on the key stories from Hush and on to the start of the New 52. This however was one that I was really looking forward to re-reading as bar the fact it's the first story by my favourite Batman writer Grant Morrison, it is also one of my favourite Batman stories written by him, if not my most favourite written by him. This is also my eleventh Batman review since Hush.
On a visit to England, Batman has to face a group of Man-Bat's from the League of Assassins, who are sent by Talia al Ghul. Talia would also bring Batman's son Damian Wayne along to meet his father for the first time.
This was a phenomenal story, and a brilliant introduction to both Grant Morrison's run as well as Batman's son Damian Wayne. Morrison does a great job of making this story many things at once, as there are times where it's slightly humorous, times where it's really gritty, and others were it's very emotional. Throughout this Morrison managed to make this a very dramatic and suspenseful story as well, and I loved the overall tone and atmosphere throughout. I also felt that this was a very refreshing change for Batman, as although there were a few interesting stories following Hush, there wasn't really any as unique as this story was, and it would also have very big development points that were handled well. Morrison also managed to keep this very balanced, having a mixture of brilliant action and fantastic dialogue, both of which kept the story very exciting and entertaining.
The art on this book was also amazing, and this was some of the best art that I've ever seen from Andy Kubert. The detail in Kubert's artwork was simply brilliant, as although there may have been very minor imperfections they were very hard to notice. I also loved how Kubert managed to make Damian look both innocent and mischievous at certain times in this story, and the character emotion in general was handled perfectly, adding a lot of depth and drama to the issue. I also loved the action sequences in this issue, as it and the dynamic layouts were the two best things about Kubert's artwork, with the action sequences being very explosive and exciting. I also really enjoyed the artwork from John Van Fleet during The Clown at Midnight issue, as it was simply stunning, and really helped with the telling of that unique story. I did however find his facial expressions to be a bit awkward at times though.
This story would feature the first appearance of Batman's son Damian Wayne, who would eventually become the fifth Robin. Damian was a character that grew on me over the years, as although I always enjoyed him, I used to find him slightly annoying. I am however happy to re-read his introduction now that I enjoy him as a character more, as his characteristic shines through more as the child that wants his fathers approval and respect rather than the annoying character he appeared when I first read this. I also loved the way that Damian wanted to assert his dominance in this story as well, as well as the interaction he would have with Batman, and the way Batman reacted to his sudden arrival.
This story would have an interlude that would feature the Joker called The Clown at Midnight. Now this short story stems back to the start of the book where Batman appeared to have shot the Joker in the face. This story would then see how Joker has managed to recover from this. The short story itself was very interesting, and one of the most unique ways of storytelling that I've seen in a comic book, as although a lot of people will feel that this isn't a proper comic book I enjoyed the uniqueness of it. I also felt that for a short story that it was very well paced, managing to have excitement and suspense at certain points. It was however still much overshadowed by the rest the main story.
The second half of this story would see Batman worrying over three ghosts of Batman, showing three different possible Batman, two of which have came to life with one being the Batman who shot the Joker, and another who resembles Bane. Now this part of the story wasn't as good as the first, as it would have been much better if Damian was involved. I did however still really enjoy it loving the mysterious nature as well as the way it caught the dark nature of Batman perfectly. I also enjoyed that we saw an injured Batman, as this reminds us how human he is, and that although he's very well prepared he can still make mistakes.
The last issue of this story would see a glimpse into a possible future seeing Damian as Batman. Now with the Damian: Son of Batman series out this month I was very interested in re-reading this, the original tale from Damian's possible future. The story itself was simply amazing being very unique and interesting, as well as being very exciting. I also loved the dark tone and how it played of the three ghosts storyline, being some what of a continuation of it. It was also a brilliant teaser leaving the question of whether this is the actual future or not, and what else Damian has done as Batman, something that I look forward to seeing in the upcoming Damian: Son of Batman series.
This was a very interesting book that would change Batman's world forever, being the start of a seven year run from Morrison, as well as introducing Damian Wayne. The story itself was also very exciting and entertaining being very dramatic, and unique. It also had some marvellous interactions and one of the most unique interludes that I've ever seen. Due to all this I'd highly recommend this book, and especially if you've read the more resent stories in Morrison's run.
The next Batman book I'll be reviewing will be Batman: Death and the City.