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Fourthman Reviews The Return of Bruce Wayne #1

Written by Lee Newman on Tuesday, May 11 2010 and posted in Reviews

Grant Morrison gave us the Final Crisis, is possible that the return of one of DC's marquee characters is the First Crisis.

Comic Review Cover

Credits & Solicit Info:

The Return of Bruce Wayne #1
Variant cover by CHRIS SPROUSE and Sketch Variant cover by ANDY KUBERT

The most anticipated series of 2010 is here! Superstar writer Grant Morrison tackles his most ambitious project to date with THE RETURN OF BRUCE WAYNE, a special six-part series that chronicles the return of the original man behind Batman's cape and cowl! Each issue spans a different era of time and features the dynamic artwork of one of today's artistic juggernauts, starting with Chris Sprouse (TOM STRONG) on the extra-sized issue #1 and Frazer Irving (SEVEN SOLDIERS: KLARION) on the 40-page issue #2!

$3.99 US


There is no doubt to readers that Morrison’s Batman and Final Crisis are intertwined in some manner. Bruce Wayne seemed to be killed off panel in Batman RIP and then was revealed to have been dumped in time by Darkseid’s Omega radiation in Final Crisis.

The opening sequences of The Return of Bruce Wayne reveal that the two titles relied on each other more than one could have possibly imagined. There are some things that right away recall Final Crisis. There is the blue rocket ship planted in the ground. There is Anthro as an old man that has just passed. There is Vandal Savage and his Blood Tribe attacking Anthro’s tribe. Yeah… I’ll wait… go check out the first pages of Final Crisis #1…

Back yet? Even more, there is talk of the origin of fire from the sky people. The first bit of real narrative in Final Crisis comes as Turk tells the reader that fire was the first mistake. Is Bruce Wayne stuck in time the First Crisis?

Enough about Final Crisis, let’s move on The Return of Bruce Wayne #1. The continuation of Morrison’s often times manic comics epic. It has run the gambit from the perfect (J.H. Williams on "The Black Glove" storyline) to the bizarrely self indulgent (the infamous novella that is Batman #663) to the cryptic (the future story with back spoilers that is Batman #666) to the just plain weird (Batman apparently drugged and in a purple tattered uniform calling himself the Batman of Zur-en-arrh in "R.I.P."). His run has been defended by people, such as me, as a book of nuances that rewards multiple readings and is building to something incredible; and dismissed, by others, as the insane ramblings of a writer that DC has become afraid to edit.

This book, in and of itself, is not going to sway one side or the other of the argument. It is yet another interesting entry in what is one of the most unique runs in comic book history. Morrison has never shied from the big ideas or being referential. DC even published a trade paperback entitled Batman: The Black Casebook to keep readers abreast of all the crazy stories that Morrison was throwing into the mix. Even what seemed like throw away arcs like "The Resurrection of Ra’s Al Ghul" seem to be filled with messages about where the book has been headed.

We reach the opening salvo here… an apparently confused and less than well spoken Bruce Wayne helps Anthro’s tribe escape the brutal nature of Vandal’s Blood Tribe. He gains a sidekick for a bit. Superman, Hal and Booster show up to throw out cryptic doom sayings about Bruce’s time journey and the future.

What does it all mean? Who knows? Hopefully at the end of six issues we will be closer to understanding why Morrison thinks he is writing the definitive Batman epic. It has been a hell of a ride thus far and with all that is thrown at us in this issue, the thrills seem like they will keep coming.

Who better to bring us on this very pulpy take of the Caped Crusader than Chris Sprouse, the guy that Alan Moore decided to use for his update of Doc Savage – Tom Strong. Chris shows his flair for taking on the more interesting comics scribes’ scripts and makes every page seem exotic and exciting. The red days and dark nights of Major’s coloring only enhances what Sprouse and Story accomplish with the line work. This is a sharp looking fantasy book.

While I hope that Morrison is taking us somewhere other than a place where Dick is not Batman, this is as intriguing as a first issue can get. Forget Gunbats over in First Wave, give me more Cavebats!


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