Alright, two things:
First off, HUGE SPOILERS are afoot. I mean, it’s big stuff. So big that you really should already know about it. But maybe you’ve been living in a van down by the river and missed the continuity-spanning death that occurred a few weeks back. That’s fine, but if you don’t want to know now, turn back. Fair warning.
Secondly, I need to issue an apology. I lied to you, dear reader.
Well, only you readers that listened to Let Us Podcast, Ep. 8: Blowin’ Smoke on the Hitler Bus, in which Leroy and I discussed the events of Grant Morrison’s masterfully written Batman Incorporated #8. I took the opportunity to whip out my Batman Dick (not Grayson) and talk about Batman and the extensive use of crossovers and breaking stories within the new continuity.
Straight to the point, I was pretty sure of myself when I said that the death of Damian Wayne (Robin IV) in Morrison’s Batman Incorporated WOULD NOT hold any sway throughout the rest of continuity, including Scott Snyder’s run on the main Batman title.
The fact is, people are still debating what parts of Batman Incorporated are in which continuity, what parts are canon, and what parts are completely left-of-center. The fact is, Grant Morrison is above any kind of continuity and truly does whatever he wants (just like the Scottish angel from Comic Book Heaven he is). I realize that gets messy, but it’s true.
And taking into consideration the very idea of the Batman, Inc. organization had not-so-veiled references in bigger titles, including the inception of the main Batwing title, Morrison has been having a bigger impact on continuity than some want to admit.
Of course, the death of Damian Wayne may be the biggest impact Batman Incorporated has had, and with only 4 issues left before Morrison wraps up his tour de force, it’s safe to say he won’t be outdoing this one in the coming months.
This month’s Batman titles (and a few others set in and around Gotham) bare the subtitle “Requiem” and deal with aftermath of the death of Damian Wayne, the son of Bruce Wayne (Gotham’s Batman) and Talia al Ghul (head of terrorist organization Leviathan). While there are quite a few titles that fall under this heading, one title grabbed me by the heart and squeezed as many feels out of me as absolutely possible: Batman and Robin #18.
Issue #18 is the brainchild of writer Peter J. Tomasi (Green Lantern Corps) and penciler Pat Gleason (also Green Lantern Corps. They work really well together. Trust me.) It’s a “silent comic,” meaning there is no dialogue and no sound effects.
As soon as I saw that, I knew I had to grab a copy. It was worth every penny.
Gleason took Tomasi’s storyline and managed to craft a visual epic that sincerely brought me to tears. The issue follows Batman as he attempts to deal with his son’s death. We open on Bruce sitting in Wayne Manor, looking over some old etchings and packing away an unfinished painting of Damian. For most of the issue, Bruce broods while in costume and decides to kick the shit out of seemingly every single criminal in a 50-mile radius. He drops them around the Bat Signal for Comissioner Gordon to find and returns to the Batcave where he finds a letter from Damian among his personal items.
The story is extremely straightforward, but it’s possibly one of the most powerful things I have ever read, including short stories, novels, poems and any type of written media you can think of. Seriously. I’ve read it three times already, and manly tears were shed each time.
If you are a fan of Batman in any incarnation, I supremely urge you to buy this issue. Even if you aren’t caught up on Batman, at least give it a read. It’s amazing how powerful the simple images can be and the insane amount of emotion they can evoke.
It’s like Watchmen, Maus, or The Dark Knight Returns. Regardless of brand loyalties, current interests, or any conceivable outside forces, it deserves to be read.