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Batman #681

From: DC Comics

Writer: Grant Morrison

Art: Tony Daniel and Sandu Florea

Color: Guy Major

Letters: Jared K. Fletcher

I’ll say this for sure: Grant Morrison knows how to write an ending that will make people talk. This is, by far, the best installment in his “R.I.P.” arc; it’s really an ode to the mythic power of Batman, a character that comes across as so awe-inspiring in the DCU that even his greatest enemy will lecture other villains that the hero might in fact be beyond killing. The supporting cast gets to look great, too, with Robin and Nightwing pulling off the kind of heroics that fans both expect and want from these two archetypal sidemen.

Much credit this issue does go to Tony Daniel and Sandu Florea. The art on this arc has not been my favorite, but I’m given to think that they did a bang-up job on this issue. The pages flowed with intensity and purpose, and they held all the disparate threads together. Extra credit due as well to Guy Major; his flashback sequences, all gray/black/red, hit the thematic keys even as he made the big battles and dark shadows pop.

As to the global rethink that Morrison accomplished here. Much of this issue is really a tribute to the fact that Batman is The Ultimate Badass. Batman should be the guy that’s prepared for anything, almost to the point of ridiculousness. The training flashbacks and mid-beatdown exposition put a fine point on the idea that Batman succeeds not just because of drive, training and anger, but intelligence. None of that is news, but Morrison told this story in a manner that made you question everything that was integral to the myth, particularly the saintly status of the late Waynes. In fact, I’d say that even a portion of this is left unresolved, particularly via a maddening last page that will stir many debates.

Morrison’s run did indeed contribute some great things. I like the way that Talia declares herself here. The Club of Heroes is terrific. And even as the hanging threads from this story seemed to pull together well, there are many threads left for another day. This issue was definitely fun to read, even if it does leave many questions in its wake.

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