The “death” of Bruce Wayne as part of the Final Crisis back in 2008 as well as his return shortly after left a lot of questions to be answered. Some of the big ones for me were, how did he get from point A to point B (how did he get from the mad scientist’s lair to Darkseid’s inner sanctum?), what was going through Bruce’s head when he broke his life-long No-Guns policy, and why did the death and return of Bruce resemble in so many ways the death and return of Captain America at Marvel? The graphic novel Time and the Batman answers some of my questions, and the rest are better left unanswered.
A majority of the book is written by Grant Morrison, with a coda provided by Fabien Nicieza. It begins with a comic showcasing the Batmans (Batmen?) of the future, from a violent and anti-social Damien, to Terry McGinnis (Batman Beyond), to another Batman even further in the future. It suggests that Batman will be like the old pulp comic The Phantom, in that the costume will keep being passed on, making the symbol of the Batman immortal. There’s a few other issues out there like this, and I never really get what’s going on–is it an alternate history, different universe, or just a “what if” scenario?
The graphic novel’s core follows Bruce Wayne from the wreckage of the helicopter crash off the coast of Gotham (where Batman RIP ended) to his brief reunion with Alfred before putting his affairs aside to answer the JLA’s call for a detective, the summons that would lead to his involvement in Final Crisis and his “death.” One interesting thing to point out is that he’s incensed to join in on the Galactic conflict when he hears the Green Lantern Corp. are involved. Batman has never got along with the GLs since the whole Parallax incident. From there, the comic offers greater insight into his role in the Crisis and how he met his fate.
The last issue is written by Fabien Nicieza, who I think writes some of the most enjoyable comics in DC. There’s usually a lot of humor in his work, which works well here to offset the gloom of Batman’s “death.” The issue itself has very little to do with the rest of the graphic novel, but it’s a fun read.
The only real problem with Time and the Batman is that it doesn’t stand up on its own as a graphic novel. Similar to my review of Superman: Codename: Patriot, it seems like this is a collection of odds-and-ends that will appeal to serious comic fans, but to people who aren’t familiar with Final Crisis, RIP, or The Return of Bruce Wayne, the book won’t make much sense.
I would say Time and the Batman is well-worth checking out at the library (that’s how I got it) or buying in a bargain bin, but I wouldn’t spend $19.99 on it. I’d sooner recommend you buy Grant Morrison’s Batman and Robin graphic novels.
–I’ve written a book titled The Madness of Art: Short Stories available on Amazon and through barnesandnoble.com. It’s in paperback and is sold as a cheap ebook.
If you liked this review of Time and the Batman, check out my other graphic novel reviews.