The Revolution has been looking forward to Batman #655 for quite some time. Morrison and Kubert? That is a recipe for success in my book! I fully expect Morrison to deliver a well crafted and interesting story. Let’s not waste any more time and go right to the review.
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Andy Kubert
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 10 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: This issue starts with Commissioner Gordon having been poisoned by the Joker and falling off a building into a safety net. Joker stand triumphantly over a beaten and broken Batman. Joker celebrated having finally killed the Batman. Batman then pulls out a gun and blows a hole into Joker’s face. We then see another Batman appear. The second Batman carries Joker toward the police. One of the cops says that Joker is still alive. Batman walks past the cop and throws the Joker into a garbage dumpster.
We cut to Commissioner Gordon in a hospital room recovering from the exposure to Joker’s laughing gas. Batman appears and Gordon says that the Batman who shot Joker was an ex-cop who snapped and took it on himself to try and clean up the city. Gordon then tells Batman that his crime blitz worked and that Batman has put away all the super villains except for Two Face and one or two minor nut jobs. That Gotham is finally clean. (This scene also sports some very funny dialogue between Gordon and Batman concerning their viewpoints on a newspaper article Gordon was reading.)
We then shift to Wayne Manor and view a typical day for Batman. He is sleeping until around 3 pm. We see him pumping some iron in his gym at 5 pm. We then see him eating dinner alone at 7 pm. Batman is then in the Batcave tinkering with some gadgets at 9 pm. Bruce tells Alfred that Gordon mentioned that Gotham was his safety zone and that he should get out of the city more. Alfred thinks that is an excellent idea and suggests the Action in Africa after show party in London that Bruce was invited to attend. Bruce agrees to go. Alfred then tells Bruce that he is now constantly talking in his growling Batman voice.
Robin then appears in the Batcave. Robin then tries to take a peak at the new Batmobile, but Bruce won’t let him since it’s not ready yet. (This scene has more entertaining dialogue between Robin, Alfred and Bruce about how Alfred feeds the Bats a certain gourmet diet.) Robin then heads out to go on a camping trip in the mountains by himself. After Robin leaves, Bruce tells Alfred how he is proud of Robin and that Robin knows that fact.
We then cut to a woman tied up and gagged. Her name is Francine. She is the wife of Kirk Langstrom who is off panel. A woman, also off panel, tells the doctor that she is injecting his wife with a serum that in 24 hours will leave his wife crippled, blind and in constant pain. That Langstrom has 12 hours to deliver his were-bat serum. The woman is then informed that they have tracked Bruce’s private jet landing in England.
We then cut to Bruce Wayne checking into his hotel. Kirk Langstrom busts into the lobby looking crazed and flustered. Kirk blows off Bruce claiming that he is in a rush and that he will see him at the party later tonight. Alfred and Bruce discuss how strange Langstrom was acting and that the fact that he is the inventor of a serum that caused him to transform into the Man-Bat had nothing to do with his odd behavior. Bruce smirks and comments “There goes my vacation.”
We then shift to Langstrom meeting with two masked thugs. He asks if his wife is ok and they ask if he brought the serum.
We then zip over to Alfred tying Bruce’s bow tie on him. Alfred comments how Bruce needs to relax. That Bruce needs to stop always doing his deep and gravely Batman voice. Alfred asks Bruce when was the last time he relished in his status as a famous international playboy. Alfred lists the past lovers like Kathy Kane, Julie Madison, Vicki Vale and Silver St. Cloud. (This scene has some classic dialogue between these two characters.)
We then see Bruce wooing the ladies at the party. He is being suave and is picking up three women at a time. (Uh oh! Look out, Tony Stark! It looks like you may have some competition for the title of most pimpin’ playboy in comics.) Bruce asks Alfred how he is doing and Alfred reminds him to lose the growl. We then see the woman who was threatening Langstrom with a young boy by her side. They are looking at a video footage of the party. The woman asks the boy to pick out his father. The boy points out Bruce Wayne as his dad and then asks the woman “What are we going to do now, mama?” The boy’s mother is none other than Talia. Talia says it is time to say hello. Above them we see an army of Man-Bats.
The Good: Wow. Batman #655 was an excellent issue! Morrison, sans steroids, crushed a home run with this issue. Before I breakdown the scenes, I have to say that Morrison gets it. He gets Bruce Wayne. He gets Bruce Wayne more than any Batman writer over the past two decades. It has been forever since I have read a Batman issue that focused on Bruce Wayne instead of Batman. Where the writer didn’t approach this comic with the view that Batman was the true identity and that Bruce Wayne was nothing more than a mask.
Morrison wasted no time getting this issue started. The opening scene with Gordon having been gassed by the Joker and two page spread of Joker gloating over a bloodied and beaten Batman certainly got my attention. Then it was ratcheted up with the beaten Batman pulling a gun out and shooting Joker in the head. And it was capped off perfectly by having the real Batman throw a bleeding and almost dead Joker into a garbage dumpster instead of allowing the police to get Joker some medical treatment. Perfect. This is the Batman that I know and love.
The scene with Batman and Gordon in the hospital room was funny. “How did they manage to find his neck” is the quote of the month! Morrison delivers some nice dialogue in this scene. Plus, Morrison creates nice chemistry between Gordon and Batman.
I liked the scene showing an average day for Bruce Wayne. It needed no words. Perfect. This scene also demonstrates how Morrison doesn’t plan to write his Bruce Wayne in this fashion unlike so many of the previous writers on this title.
The scene with Alfred, Bruce and Robin in the Batcave was wonderful. Again, Morrison serves up more entertaining dialogue. Morrison uses Alfred to show the reader just how neglected Bruce Wayne has been. This is another comment by Morrison letting the reader know that he isn’t going to treat Bruce Wayne’s character the same way that previous writers have. The chemistry between Alfred, Tim and Bruce is excellent in this scene. The dialogue is humorous at points and very touching at other points.
Morrison continued to demonstrate his excellent handle on Bruce and Alfred’s relationship with the scene of Alfred helping Bruce get ready for the party. This has more excellent dialogue and is a nice commentary by Morrison on how the character of Bruce Wayne has been completely marginalized by past writers over the past couple of decades.
If course, the big bomb was the ending! It is revealed that Talia is the one who threatened Langstrom in order to get his Man-Bat serum. That she has created an army of Man-Bats. And that she has a son and that Bruce Wayne is the father! Now that is how you deliver an impressive ending that hooks the reader. I cannot wait for the next issue!
Bruce as a father is going to be one hell of a storyline. I am interested to see where Morrison takes this storyline. Is this boy really Bruce’s son? If so, just what is Bruce going to do about it? And what is Talia’s planning? So many questions and I’m sure Morrison has plenty of interesting answers in store for us.
I also like the storyline of Batman having finally gone on a massive crime blitz after his year off and that Gotham is finally clean. Having Batman go on adventures outside of Gotham should be an interesting change of pace.
Morrison serves up some fantastic dialogue. Morrison truly understands the characters and knows how to write them. The interaction between Bruce, Alfred and Tim was perfect. Morrison also delivers a story at a fantastic pace. Morrison gets the title off to a rocking fast start. He slows it down some in the middle. And then he ends it with a monstrous bang. That is how you craft a first issue on a title! It is obvious that Morrison has a nicely structured storyline in mind and is going to deliver it in a focused and well paced manner.
I completely enjoyed the fact that Morrison centered this issue on Bruce Wayne and not Batman. I am excited to finally see Bruce Wayne get fleshed out and developed. I also like how Morrison writes Batman and Bruce Wayne. Batman throws a dying Joker into the dumpster, but then flashes a little humor with Gordon. Bruce Wayne is still gruff and intense. But, he also has a nice dry humor and shows some emotion. Morrison’s Batman is a nice blend of the Frank Miller hardcore Batman and Robinson’s shiny, happy and talkative Batman.
Adam Kubert does a nice job with the art duties. I like Kubert’s style and he draws a nice Batman. Kubert’s strong artwork is a nice compliment to Morrison’s well crafted story.
The Bad: Absolutely none.
Overall: Batman #655 is an excellent issue. DC has missed the mark for me on many of their titles since Infinite Crisis. Batman is definitely not one of those titles. Morrison and Kubert have some fantastic issues in store for us. This is one of the best Batman issues that I have read in a long time. Batman has shot to the top of my list of favorite DC titles. I am excited to read what Morrison has in store for us on Batman. With Morrison and Kubert in control, Batman is certainly a title that is worth your money.