Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Well, its certainly different...
So Grant Morrison recently announced in an interview the direction his Batman run will take following the Return of Bruce Wayne. Batman, Inc. is the new flagship book of the Batfamily where, according to the LA Times Hero Complex blog, “essentially the dark knight of Gotham City drafts, trains and commands a team of heroes who will wear their leader's colors.”
Says Morrison, “The first 12 issues of the book will be team-ups with Batman and different characters as he traveling the world and kind of training people. And at the end we found out what that's all about; it's not just habit or routine. He actually has a big agenda. That leads into where I'm taking this. At the end of the "first season" I want to wind up with a really enormous Batman story. Everything is building up to that kind of climatic arc.”
Now, this sounds like a strange take for a Batman book. Its the kind of thing that would happen in a single issue of a silver age book and never be spoken of again. But that’s been the theme of Morrison’s run, that every Batman story has happened, and putting such a silver age idea in a modern context is perfectly in line for what he’s been doing. Fittingly, as part of this story, the yellow circle is returning to the Bat costume. I personally like the circleless look, but the circle clearly recalls a time when Batman was more of a superhero than a detective or vigilante, which sounds exactly what Morrison is going for.
If it were up to me or Jim, Dick Grayson would stay as Batman and Bruce Wayne would be given a rest for a while, but I wish I had a solid gold toilet too, and that's probably not going to happen either. At least it looks like we’ll at least sort of get Dick as Batman in this direction. However, I’m pretty happy that this is where they're going with the Batbooks. I thought we’d return to the former status quo and maybe just get Damian as Robin with Bruce as Batman. This status quo, at the very least, is different. And that has me excited.
The idea of turning Batman into a franchise across the world could easily go wrong. Yes, this probably isn’t a sustainable status quo, but its something unique for superheroes and its definitely unique for Batman, who too often devolves into an ongoing homage to Frank Miller’s 80’s work. Morrison’s run on Batman has run hot and cold for me, but I can’t deny that I’ve been impressed by his willingness to take such a different approach to the character. Its such an odd approach to the book. I mean, is he just using this to tell a wider variety of stories? Is he trying to do some meta commentary on how comics constantly just slightly alter existing character to create new ones? Is this a bold prediction about how super corporations will absorb us all into a gestalt collective that drives us all in a need to increase their own wealth and expand their corporate brand? Or does he just want to do crazy sci fi silver age batman stories?
I don't know how much I'll like it. I basically hated his run through RIP (excepting JH Williams III's black hand arc) and have loved Batman & Robin/Return of Bruce Wayne. Hopefully this'll keep his winning streak going for me. If anything though, after he leaves the book, a down to earth, crime centric approach to Batman could feel like a refreshing change of pace, and who thought we would ever say that about a Batman book?