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Wednesday, Comics #15

WHAT I BOUGHT

-Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #1

-DMZ#53

-Siege #4


BOOK OF THE WEEK

Bruce Wayne as pre-history's Man-of-Bats

After a long absence from the DCU, Bruce Wayne emerges out of a cave amongst a swarm of bats. Writer Grant Morrison picks up his dangling threads from Batman and Final Crisis with The Return of Bruce Wayne and, if this issue is any indication, this series is going to be a prime cut of the high concept craziness steak he’s known for.

The issue begins Bruce Wayne’s journey through time after absorbing Darkseid’s Omega beams (see: Final Crisis/Wikipedia/both for the story). His memory is wiped clean, so not only does he have to contend with a shifting reality, he must also re-learn to be Batman. The story has a lot of inherent meat to it, and will make for a fascinating collection a year from now in relation to Morrison’s greater Batman story.

The depth that Morrison gives the book is fantastic–it’s about Bruce Wayne, but he doesn’t short-change any of the book’s other characters. The cavemen that happen upon Wayne and take him in have a couple pages of set-up to themselves to establish their own narratives within the greater story. The pages also establish the how the world of the specific time-period works. Bruce may be stumbling around with nothing but his instincts to work with, but we aren’t.

It’s also amazing how high Morrison keeps the stakes. He does it on two levels, giving the issue-specific story tension based in the lives of the group of cavemen, and in a larger sense with a last minute cameo from some familiar characters. As unexpected as it is, it’s welcome because it drives the tension level through the roof. There’s more to Wayne’s quest than Morrison is telling us, and the suspense derived from that is awesome.

Chris Sprouse handles the art, one of the six artists that will contribute to give each issue/time-period a unique look. His style is great; deceptively cartoonish. The line-work may look simplistic, but it’s merely simplified. It has a compositional complexity that a lesser artist wouldn’t be able to achieve, especially in the fight sequences, and Sprouse picks the perfect moments to tell the story visually. It’s kind of upsetting that he’ll only be contributing to this first issue because his art is so excellent.

But the high concept arc and the higher-concept form-bending tendencies make the issue well worth it for fans of the current Batman maxi-story. Morrison is working with Bruce Wayne again. And his Final Crisis stuff. And this is a book that’s only going to get better.

QUICK SHOTS

DMZ #53 – The “MIA” arc continues to get better–this issue sporting a great character moments like Matty and an angry Delgado sister, Matty ruminating on his place in the DMZ, and the promise of an excellent ending to the arc next issue. There’s also a major story beat in the book, which I won’t spoil, that changes the landscape of the DMZ. Wood is adept at both types of storytelling, and Buchielli still draws the hell out of the book. Good, good stuff.

Siege #4 – Well, it’s all over. Marvel is back to normal. The issue is action-heavy, The Avengers clash with The Void for most of it, and while the flat-out action of the book is enjoyable enough and the ending leaves the Marvel U in a great place–Osborn’s storyline is left dangling. We know he’s captured, but he doesn’t get the comeuppance that the series seemed to imply from the beginning. Overall, though, the event works, the greatest thanks due to Olivier Coipel’s…perfect…literally, perfect…art , which really captures the scale of the epic action.

BACK-UP MATERIAL

Quitely, at long last, draws The Joker…but only on Batman and Robin #13′s cover.

Here’s a countdown of Warren Ellis’ greatest stories, all of which are worth a look.

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