Batman #658 Review

Morrison has got Batman rocking. For the most part, The Revolution is enjoying this current story arc. We last saw Robin badly defeated at the hands of a maniacal Damian. It should be interesting to see how Batman handles this situation. I expect Batman #658 to be a pretty entertaining read. Let’s get this review rolling.

Creative Team
Writer: Grant Morrison
Penciller: Andy Kubert
Inker: Jesse Delperdang

Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with Talia having captured the wife of the Prime Minister of Great Britain. We then cut to the Batcave where Batman is tending to Robin. Damian tells Batman that Robin was his rival so he had to eliminate him. That this is how Damian was trained. Batman takes Robin up to the mansion.

We then shift to Batman freeing Alfred from the closet that Damian had locked him in. We then cut to the Batcave, where Alfred is in his scrubs and ready to provide medical care to Robin’s wounds. Batman tells Alfred that he is going to go stop Talia and her army of Man-bat ninjas. Batman takes Damian with him since Damian is too dangerous to be left alone. Damian says he wants to help Batman. Batman yells at Damian that he almost killed Robin. That Batman can’t trust him. That Talia just sent Damian to Batman to mess up his work. Damian says he can help and tells Batman that Talia wants the garrison at Gibraltar from Great Britain. That is why she kidnapped the Prime Minister’s wife. Batman and Damian hop into the Batmobile. Batman tells Damian to do exactly what he says. Damian says that he won’t fail Batman.

We cut to the Langstrom’s condo where Dr. Langstrom’s wife is yelling at him for continuing to work on the Man-Bat serum. Batman appears through the window and tells Langstrom that he needs his help. We then shift to outside of Wayne Manor. We see a statute move to reveal a secret tunnel. We hear Batman telling Damian that they do not kill. That their way is stronger and more disciplined that that of the assassin. Damian then asks how they are going to get to the Mediterranean before his mother. We then see Batman and Damian blast off through the tunnel in a Batrocket. Yup, that’s right, a Batrocket. Damian said he didn’t know Batman had one of these. Batman responds that he has a lot of stuff no one knows about.

We cut to Talia instructing the Prime Minister or order his soldiers to surrender to her army of Man-bat ninjas or his wife will die. We see the army of Man-bats attacking Gibraltar and the British soldiers surrendering. Batman and Damian then arrive on the scene on top of Talia’s submarine. Batman saves the Prime Minister’s wife and places her on a boat for her to get to safety. Batman and Damian then proceed to brawl with the army of Man-bat ninjas on the submarine.

Batman tells Talia that Dr. Langstrom is currently consulting with the British military on anti-Man-bat tactics. That the Prime Minister’s wife is safe. That Talia’s plans have been foiled. Talia then offers Batman one final chance to reform her. That she will combine her vast resources with his and fight crime by his side and together they can raise their son to be the master of the Earth.

We then see the British Navy launching torpedoes at Talia’s submarine. Talia says that if Batman joins her then she will never threaten civilization again. That they will found a dynasty that will rule the planet. Batman refuses. Talia responds that this means war. Talia asks Damian who he would rather stay with. Damian says that he wishes they could all stay together. Talia tells Batman that it is his move. Right before the torpedoes hit the submarine, we see Talia push a button on her gauntlet. Damian runs to Talia and hold onto her. The torpedoes hit the sub and there is a huge explosion.

We then see Batman standing on the shore looking at the burning submarine. Batman is holding Damian’s cape. End of issue.

The Good: Batman #658 was a pretty good read. Morrison delivered a fast paced issue. We got plenty of great action. As always, Morrison crafted some good dialogue. I really like how Morrison is writing Batman. His terse wording and short sentences combined with the ever popular “Hh” response gets across to the reader Batman’s business-like and no-nonsense personality.

I liked seeing Alfred showing off his impressive medical skills in this issue. Alfred simply a butler? Ha, I think not. Alfred is much much more and I like that we get to see the other useful talents of Alfred in action.

I liked the Batrocket. Yeah, it is way over the top and slightly reminiscent of the old cheesy Batman TV show where he seemed to have an endless number of bizarre and outrageous vehicles and equipment. However, I think it was a nice humorous touch that keeps Batman from being too dark. I loved his responds that he has many things that nobody knows about. This is exactly why Batman is so cool and Morrison manages to perfectly encapsulate that in this scene.

Andy Kubert whips up some pretty nice art. Andy Kubert isn’t my favorite artist, but he is certainly talented and is dependable. You know that Kubert will turn out consistently good artwork each and every issue. Plus, I dig how Andy Kubert draws Batman.

The Bad: Overall, I thought that this ending to the “Son of Bat” story arc was extremely anti-climactic. Morrison started out very strong on this story arc and just lost steam and momentum over the past couple of issues and ended up delivering a bit of a dud for an ending. Yeah, I know that Morrison set this up to be an open ended ending so that we can re-visit this plotline at a later date. However, I was just expecting a lot more from this story arc.

Morrison failed to really do anything with this story arc. In the end, this story arc just provided the surprise revelation that Batman has a son, a beat down for Robin and some fights with an army of Man-bats. I thought that Morrison could have done a lot more with this story arc. Morrison shocked the reader from the start with the revelation that Damian is Batman’s son, but then Morrison followed up that surprise with absolutely nothing. The rest of the story arc was rather pedestrian. This “Son of Bat” story arc was shorter than I expected and really didn’t fulfill its potential.

I also thought that Batman’s reaction to Damian nearly killing Robin was rather poorly handed. Batman doesn’t really do much of anything. Yeah, he barks at Damian that it was wrong to fight Robin. But, that is about it. C’mon, Robin, Batman’s sidekick and adopted son is nearly killed at the hands of a psychotic kid that Batman has just met. I know that this kid is allegedly Batman’s son, but you would think that Batman would have laid a bit of a smack down on Damian. Batman does have to thrash Damian within an inch of his life, but a couple of pops would be expected. Jeez, if I had done something like this to one of my siblings, my dad would have given me a serious beating. I just found Batman’s reaction totally unbelievable and out of character.

Overall: Batman #658 was an entertaining read. I have found this “Son of Bat” story arc to be fun and provide plenty of good action, but it was not as good as what I expected. Hopefully, Morrison can turn it up a notch with this new story arc involving the Joker. All in all Batman is still a very good title that is certainly worth giving a try.