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The Missing Chapter

August 7, 2010

So, we’ve been wondering for quite a while what happened between Batman R.I.P. and Final Crisis.  Okay, maybe we weren’t.  But we get to find out what happened anyway in the two-parter beginning with Batman #701.  Just after the helicopter crash back at the end of R.I.P., Batman hits the water and manages to swim back to the surface.  We also see Dr. Hurt make it, despite Bruce thinking he couldn’t possibly survive.  He gets out of the water and puts on a backup mask just in time to see one of the whores he met before.  She got a job with Wayne Enterprises thanks to him, and she’s grateful.  After that, Bruce returns to Wayne Manor, and Alfred Pennyworth is thrilled to see him.  However, he’s still upset about what happened, and he goes out in the Bat-Sub (apparently there is one) to look for Dr. Hurt’s body.  Which he never finds.  He also never finds the body of the third Ghost of Batman (naturally, since he’s the current Azrael).  This bothers Bruce a lot, and he continues thinking about the hole in everything.  He also discovers that Hurt found the secret room hidden in the mansion, the one he was told by his parents never to go into.  He wonders why he was told not to, and he starts looking back at all the scandal stuff and deleting Jezebel Jet pictures.  Then, he gets a message from Superman telling him about Orion’s murder just as the sky turns red.  He heads out, despite Hurt’s curse that the next time he wears the cape would be his last.  And he feels like the trap Hurt set for him is locking into place around him, even though he beat Hurt.

Well, let me be frank.  This wasn’t the most exciting issue of Batman.  Not a whole lot happens, aside from Bruce pondering about the nature of his foe Dr. Hurt.  Is he the devil?  Is he his father?  Or is he someone else?  All of these are questions that have been asked before in Batman and Robin and in Batman R.I.P.  Yes, this is a nice connecting chapter between Bruce’s last two major storylines before the Return of Bruce Wayne.  And yes, that scene with the with the former whore was touching.  But this is really just more of R.I.P. without all of the action.  And with even less strange stuff, actually.  Just all the “I was almost beaten” and “Who is Dr. Hurt?” stuff.  Can’t say I was terribly impressed.  There was that great reference to Barbatos and all of that stuff in the cave, but that’s about it.  It’s nice to see Tony Daniel back on this book with Grant Morrison though.  That way, it really does feel just like a continuation of Batman R.I.P.  Only Daniel’s taking all of the artistic lessons he learned during his own run on Batman after R.I.P., so everything looks even better.  Thus far, I’ve enjoyed Morrison’s Batman epic most when Bruce Wayne wasn’t involved because he’s so intent on making him essentially invincible (can only be beaten by the devil) that it’s ridiculous.  That continues to be the case.  I mean, his Bruce Wayne work is still good (if silly at times), but this issue was so lacking in plot that I was disappointed.  I’m hoping that next issue, which takes place entirely during Final Crisis, will be better.  But I’m not holding my breath.

Plot: 5.0      Art: 9.0      Dialogue: 8.8      Overall: 6.8

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