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It All Gives Me a Headache

June 27, 2010

At last, Batman has reached its 700th issue.  Batman #700.  And what a cover by David Finch.  What a gain for DC Comics.  Anyway, the story’s by Grant Morrison, and Morrison uses this issue to try something crazy.  In the past, when Bruce Wayne was Batman, the Joker, Riddler, Scarecrow, Catwoman, and the fake Mad Hatter took him and Robin, as well as Professor Carter Nicols, famous for his time travel hypnosis, explained in this issue by a “maybe machine”, hostage for finding out about some stuff in the past.  Ultimately, though, Batman and Robin escape, and somehow, Nicols managed to call the police during that time, despite having been busy with the bad guys the whole time.  Then, in the present day, Dick Grayson and Damian Wayne are called by Commissioner Jim Gordon, who has found Nicols’ dead body in a basement.  There’s a hole where his heart should be, and he’s about twenty years too old.  Batman and Robin beat up some local criminals after investigating the scene, then track down, thanks to a tip, the former fake Mad Hatter, now called Hatman, selling the Joker’s jokebook.  They beat up all the bad guys who wanted it, and Dick seems to have already figured out the mystery of Nicols’ murder.  Then, in the future, Damian Wayne beats up somebody named Roboto, who helped in spreading Joker venom by rain to all of Gotham City.  Commissioner Barbara Gordon and her people are busy trying to hold back the tides of crazy people (because this venom just makes you rampage and laugh, not die), and Damian tracks down the guy behind it, 2-Face-2.  He defeats 2-Face-2, who happens to have an old Carter Nicols with a bloody hole in his chest, right next to him.  Then a younger Carter Nicols pops up, whisks his older self away to deposit the body in the past, then goes further back to make that call to the police during the Joker/Riddler/Scarecrow thing.  Damian Wayne takes away a baby that 2-Face-2 had kidnapped (that was his real target, though I’m not sure why) as 2-Face-2’s hideout and the Joker’s jokebook burns.  The baby was none other than Terry McGinnis, who in the next sequence, is Batman fighting the Jokerz.  Then we see more Batmen in the future, one in a dystopia, one in a utopia, and then Batman One Million.  Then we come back to today, and the Batsignal is still shining strong.

Okay, what?  I get the idea that one version of Professor Nicols was responsible for bringing himself back into the past and possibly killing him, I guess so he could run around as he pleased.  But huh?  Which version?  And why was old Nicols alive in the future, even though he had that hole in his chest, then dead when he was brought back to the past?  That was very confusing.  And what were the Joker and his pals doing in the past anyway?  Just getting Batman to find out about things for them to steal?  Apparently the Joker wanted to get rid of Batman in the first place, even though that would also get rid of him too.  So what were the other guys doing there?  Also, Catwoman had never been arrested before her solo series in the last ten years or so, so that’s a continuity error.  And what was 2-Face-2’s objective?  To kill the twin baby of software billionaires?  And he got Terry McGinnis instead?  And why was the jokebook included in so much?  It didn’t really contribute much to the plot aside from make a couple of interesting references and remind us that the Joker’s insane.  Duh.  I get that the whole point was that time and Batman were un-defeatable, as you can see by time going and Batman going on and on.  That was one of the few things in this issue that made a bit of sense.  Grant Morrison had a lot of interesting ideas, but he implemented them spectacularly confusingly.  I’m not sure why Tony Daniel was chosen for the past Batman artist, since his style is rather modern.  Although he managed to draw a lot of the characters in a classic (and Adam West-y) way, he wouldn’t have been my choice.  Frank Quitely and Andy Kubert were perfect choices for each of their sections, considering their previous work on the characters.  I’m sad that Quitely couldn’t finish his portion, though, as Scott Kolins’ Batman was rather… under par.  And David Finch’s visions of the future Batmen were cool because he’s David Finch.  Still, I would have preferred a story that had more to do with Batman and his history and Morrison’s current epic than something this crazy.  I know it was supposed to have to do with Batman’s history, but it was so ridiculous that most of those cool references were just lost.  But hey, Terry’s in DC continuity!  Yay!

Plot: 5.9      Art: 9.0      Dialogue: 6.7      Overall: 5.5

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