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Batman WTF? (Spoilers!)

In Comic News, Comic Reviews on February 8, 2009 at 2:08 am

Batman has, arguably, been through quite a bit in his 50+ years career.  Numerous young boys in his basement, the 60s TV series, all those gay rumors…but nothing could have prepared him for his greatest nemesis ever: Grant Morrison.

The concept of Batman RIP is, to be frank, an intriguing one.  Take the well storied, beloved character of Batman/Bruce Wayne and kill him.  Its an idea that’s been working so well for so many others (Look at Captain America right now, for example), so surely it would work for Batman as well, right?

Well…not so much.  There’s about 50 years of backstory you have to sift through to really understand and truly enjoy the glory of things like Batman of Zur-En-Ahr, or at least have a passing knowledge to stories like “Robin Dies At Dawn!!” to get the references peppered throughout…well, Morrison’s entire run.

There’s also the fact that despite the title, no one really RIPs.  The story is confusingly interwoven with “Final Crisis”, with Batman’s death at the end of RIP actually being a non-death that he survives off panel, only to be kidnapped off panel and then escaping on panel so he can die in Final Crisis…only to be shown pretty well alive at the end of the crossover.

Don’t get me wrong, the story has its high points.  Batman being smart enough to craft an entire back-up personality to seek refuge in is pretty unique, even if the endgame “Oh, I knew all along because I prepare for anything” claim on Batman’s part is a bit of a crock.  And the story is leading to the Battle For The Cowl crossover, which seems like a promising distraction from what has so far been a fairly mediocre Bat-family run.

In short, Batman RIP is a nice attempt, but the fact that the end is really just the tie-in to the big company wide crossover really cheapens the effect.  A legit, self contained story and a meaningful attempt to actually kill Batman and leave him dead would be greatly appreciated, especially in a world where legacy heroes are quickly being replaced by the heroes who they’ve taken over for.

(Barry Allen, I’m staring at you.)

(But that’s a story for another article!)

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