Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #1 - A Review

Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #1 (of 6)

Publisher DC Comics

Writer Grant Morrison

Pencils Chris Sprouse

Inks Karl Story

Colors Guy Major

Format 38 Pages of Story and Art

Price Point $3.99

The book starts with a great cover by Andy Kubert which shows a prehistoric Batman fighting a group of cavemen. That is essentially what we got with this book.

I love Grant Morrison’s work for the most part, but all writers are going to be hit or miss especially when you are as daring as Grant is and as prolific as Grant. This book was a hit, not a home run, but a solid double up the gap. (I have to find some happiness in baseball as right now being an Orioles fan is a chore.)

The artwork by Chris Sprouse and Karl Story was well done. Chris has a light feeling to his line work and Karl maintains Chris’ work which is top notch in story telling ability. Chris’ work always flows so well so that you are never lost in the story and wondering what panel goes next. Additionally his camera angles and ability to convey emotion are strong and given the caveman have limited communication skills that became an important element.

One problem that involved the art and pulled me out of the story was the sky being colored red. Normally who would care in this type of story, but since the cavemen made a point of saying the space ship was the color of the blue sky it was annoying. To me if something pulls you out of the flow of the story it is never a good thing.

The basics of the story are Bruce is discovered by the cavemen and they (and we) can’t understand what Bruce is saying to them. The cavemen are attacked and beaten by a more brutal tribe and that tribe is lead by Chief Savage. Of course this has to be Vandal Savage back in his beginnings and Bruce ultimately defeats him in a nice battle sequence. Bruce also gets a caveman Robin to help him out in this story.

Grant’s good points are in full display here as the story moves quickly and takes us from element to element with a bare minimum of dialogue. At the end we see Bruce fall into a river and then disappear. Superman, Green Lantern, Booster Gold and Rip Hunter show up. They let us know that Bruce has no clue of his identity and if he makes it to the 21st Century on his own everyone dies. So the mini-series coming out about Rip and these guys apparently should tie-in tightly to this story, which is a good thing.

What kept me from liking this book more than I did is the slow start up pace and lack of explanation of how a spaceship showed up here along with Bruce, especially since it had a Superman cape in it. I guess the mysteries are to be explained as the series goes on. This is one of those books that the more I rethink and review it the more I like it. It had a good start, it had a neat little thing with a Robin being created, it had a nice touch with the fight with Vandal Savage, had a good cliff hanger ending with Bruce jumping in time and Superman and crew missing him and Superman’s dire warning. Okay it was a triple and a great opening gun to Bruce’s return.

One last minor quibble was Superman saying he can hear every heartbeat on the planet and he can’t hear Bruce’s heart. That over powering of Superman just kills me and is ridiculous to the extreme, it is like when he looks at something and sees it down to a molecular level. Stop making Superman omnipotent.

Overall Grade B for Bruce is working his way back to today; I just hope Dick remains Batman. On an emotional level it was impossible to not get a thrill when you first see Bruce step out of the cave.

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