Like many people, I’m not ready to let Grant Morrison’s insane vision for Batman go yet, so this special focusing on all of the various international Batmen was a welcome last hurrah, and even without Morrison’s actual involvement, it was still a lot of fun.
After a rudimentary framing sequence (with great art from Declan Shalvey, I’d love to see him draw Batman properly), we get a series of fun short stories from the likes of Batman Japan, Knight, Raven Red, El Gaucho, Nightrunner, Dark Ranger and even Bat-Cow!
Yes, Bat-Cow has her own solo story, and it’s surprisingly good. Dan Didio may get a lot of hate for his editorial skills, but on stuff like this and the Metal Men story from Wednesday Comics, he’s shown himself to be pretty great at comedic writing. Plus, it was drawn by Ethan Van Sciver, so it looked good.
I think the best story here was Chris Burnham’s Batman Japan story, which was just mental, I loved the villain ‘Doctor Inside-Out’, and the way he used Japanese culture, like Vending Machines and Capsule Hotels was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed the previous Batman Japan story that Burnham wrote, but this was even better because he drew it as well. His artwork is so damn good. I really hope he gets to do a Batman Japan mini-series or something.
The Knight story was good too, as Joe Keatinge and Emanuel Simeoni revisit the strange DCU version of Britain that Paul Cornell invented for that amazing Knight & Squire mini a few years ago, as a Brit, I loved it.
The Red Raven and El Gaucho/Nightrunner/Dark Ranger stories were a little more standard, but I’ll take John Paul Leon artwork wherever I can get it, and it was cool to see the colourist Nathan Fairbairn try his hand at writing.
If this is the last time we see these strange characters, then it’s a shame, but it was a nice celebration of the amount of new concepts Morrison brought to Batman, I hope DC don’t totally drop this stuff, especially Batman Japan, he needs to stick around. So yeah, if you liked Morrison’s run, give this a look, it’s unessential, but it should provide some closure.