Rule #1: No one stays dead in comics.
Rule #2: The Hulk always has pants on. But I’m getting ahead of myself…
It wasn’t a huge surprise. If you had the misfortune of reading Final Crisis, you know that Batman was presumed dead by the inhabitants of the DC universe, but shown (to the reader) to be alive and well in some prehistoric cave. It was only a matter of time before the story of the Dark Knight’s return was put on the pages.
And who is better qualified to bring him back? Why, the man who “killed” him, of course. DC’s resident weirdo, Grant Morrison. For those of you who don’t know, Grant Morrison’s track record includes such memorable moments as giving Superman solar cancer (All-Star Superman) and turning Metropolis lawman, Dan Turpin into Darkseid (Final Crisis). *shakes head* And now Morrison is back on the scene, chronicling the Caped Crusader’s six-part journey through multiple eras of Earth’s history in order to return to the present. And he’s off to a running start…
Issue #1 finds a shirtless and unintelligible Bruce Wayne hanging out with some cavemen. Sounds simple enough right? After all, he was shot back in time. Oh, but that’s not enough. Mr. Morrison decides to include a crashed rocket ship that (for some reason) is carrying such cargo as Superman’s cape and other JLA artifacts. Confused yet?
Jump ahead a bit and Morrison starts to establish the prehistoric DC Universe. A rival caveman clan attacks and captures Bruce. This clan is run by none other than DC’s favorite immortal, Vandal Savage. Ok. I’ll buy it. Savage was there from the beginning. But just when you think it’s leveling out, Bruce is rescued by an Cro-Magnon sidekick, complete with little black domino mask. Yup. And just in case you wanted some more crazy, Bruce dons the hide of a giant bat that JUST HAPPENED to be hanging up in Savage’s camp. Needless to say, Bat-caveman kicks the crap out of the Geico rejects and pulls a Butch & Sundance off a waterfall with his latest junior partner. Into the drink he goes, and when he emerges, he’s met by a young woman dressed in Puritan-era garb. Time pool? Who knows. Oh, and as soon has he time-jumps, the JL arrives in the caveman era looking for him. Apparently, they discovered that he didn’t actually die and are now hot on his temporal trail. Thanks Booster!
I’d like to get inside Grant Morrison’s head to try and understand what goes on in there, but at the same time, I’m kind of afraid of what I might find. Confusing and bizarre doesn’t begin to describe this first issue. But the prospect of seeing Batman through time is too intriguing to pass up. Especially when he gets to the pirate and 1930s noir-ish eras that have been teased.
Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #1 is on comic store shelves now.