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REVIEW: BATMAN #681
Author: Jett
Friday, November 28, 2008

FROM DC COMICS: "This is it – 'Batman R.I.P.' concludes here! The final, heartrending confrontation between Bruce Wayne and Jezebel Jet. The final fate of The Dark Knight. And the horrifying and shocking truth behind the Black Glove. With The Joker, the Club of Villains, Robin, Damian, plus an ending you'll never see coming – this one has it all!"

“WTF?!”

Followed by…

“Badass!”

That’s a transcription of my inner monologue while reading BATMAN #681 -- which of course ends Grant Morrison’s “BATMAN, RIP” storyline.

For me, Morrison’s entire run on BATMAN has been damn good for the most part. What’s maddening is that there is no payoff in this issue, relatively speaking. If you were thinking that all would be wrapped up in a neat little bow, you were way, way off.

But we should have known better, right? Anyway...

Remember all those crazy-ass storylines that Grant has given us since he started writing this title? If you were like me you were scratching your head thinking how in the hell did all that stuff tie into to each other?

The Batmen of All Nations…

Damien and Talia…

Ninja man-bats…

Fake Batmen…

The Joker…

The Batman of Zur-En-Arrh…

The Bat-Radia...

The Black Casebook...

ALL. OF. IT. If you wondered how it all fit, you pretty much find out in BATMAN #681.

The star of this whole thing is Batman -- or Bruce Wayne rather. As much turmoil that Bruce has been put through since “R.I.P.” began, The Dark Knight rises to the occasion and proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that only Bruce Wayne can be Batman.

I’ve got to hand it to Morrison here because there are some really, REALLY classic badass Batman moments in #681.

Now with all that said, be prepared for the “WTF?!” aspects of not only this issue, but the entire “R.I.P.” storyline.

Was “R.I.P.” the most shocking Batman revelation in 70 years as DC and Grant Morrison has said? Hell no! Why? Because that alleged “revelation” is so vague, there’s no clear resolution.

What I’m talking about here is whether or not this Dr. Hurt character is Thomas Wayne. He tells Bruce that he is indeed his old man, but Bruce believes him to be Mangrove Pierce. Is he or isn't he Thomas Wayne? That remains to be seen -- obviously -- because DC's got to sell them comics! Thus, this so-called “shocking revelation" wasn't so shocking at all because of the ambiguity -- and due the fact that it's been hinted at for a while now.

In that regard, it didn’t live up to the hype which is the biggest disappointment of “R.I.P.” to me personally.

What about that Jezebel Jett...er Jet? Oh she gets hers alright that "B" thanks to Talia and her pesky man-bats. Oh yeah, if you think Bruce is tore up over her, don’t worry about that thanks to ‘ol Alfred and his thespian background.

As far as The Joker and Dr. Hurt previously referring to him as his “servant,” the Clown Prince of Crime shows 'em exactly who’s the boss. I swear, I damn near was pulling for Mr. J as much as I was for Batman -- hell, they are almost allies! Got to say that this was one of the best written Joker portrayals in the monthlies I’ve seen in a long time.

So, I’m sure the big question on everyone’s mind is whether or not Batman is dead.

Ha! What do you think?

Oh, there’s a big “accident” at the end that involves Batman, but no body to be found -- only his cowl.

Here’s the deal. There’s no way in hell that DC will kill off Bruce Wayne and permanently replace him as Batman. Despite how we’ve been teased, that just ain’t ever going to happen -- nor should it. You take Bruce out of the cowl, you’ve got no Batman and DC knows that.

If you were hoping to be knocked off your feet with BATMAN #681 and “BATMAN, R.I.P,” you’re going to be disappointed. Bruce Wayne’s future is left open as much as it’s been “R.I.P’ed,” if you will.

Personally, it didn’t live up to the hype. I loved how all of Grant Morrison’s crazy-ass storylines eventually added up and made sense. Great stuff there, no doubt. But…

What I didn’t like about the whole “R.I.P.” thing is that it appears to be nothing more than a gimmick just like “KNIGHTFALL,” “NO MAN’S LAND,” and whatever previous “event” storyline that was hyped to the max by DC.

Now I'll admit that despite my misgivings with "R.I.P." and the fact that I do think it's gimmicky, they've got me hooked.

Here’s hoping that whatever is in store for Bruce Wayne and Batman, it’s fresh and exciting and does doesn’t reek of “Been there, done that.”

"Jett" is the founder of BATMAN-ON-FILM.COM

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