BATMAN ON FILM, since June 1998!

COMIC REVIEW: BATMAN #664

Author: Bill Ramey
Thursday, March 29, 2007

FROM DC COMICS: "The Dark Knight discovers a cover-up that could change his relationship with the Gotham Police Department as Grant Morrison, Andy Kubert and Jesse Delperdang continue their landmark run on BATMAN! A routine investigation into police corruption leads to a terrifying confrontation with a monstrous menace that threatens to end Batman's career!"

I honestly don't know why some people are so bent out of shape about the current state of BATMAN. In particular, there's some grumbling about Grant Morrison and his run as writer of the title.

I enjoyed "BATMAN AND SON." I dug issue #663 with its short story format and The Joker's new smile. And the newest issue, BATMAN #664, was darn good. In fact, this is one of those times in which I do recommend that you run down to your local comic book shop and pick it up.

To this reviewer/reader/fan, it’s beginning to look as if some of the different storylines found in BATMAN during Morrison’s run are starting to converge. Remember The Joker getting shot in the face, and that crazy-ass cop in the Batman suit who did it? Seems as if we are going to revisit that event during this next storyline titled “Three Ghosts of Batman.”

B664 opens with Bruce Wayne taking a call on his cell while standing amongst some unconscious Man-Bats -- an obvious nod to the previous “Batman and Son“ storyline. We next encounter a parachuting BW landing on a mountain ski slope and meeting up with a hottie by the name of Jezebel. It seems that this chick -- who goes by the nickname of “Jet” -- is some sort of a celebrity and needs the protection of bodyguards. One of her guys tells her that Bruce is “…cool, like James Bond.” This results in one of the best lines I’ve ever read in a BATMAN comic: “Oh, I’m MUCH cooler than HE is,” responds Bruce.

Now THAT, is cool.

We next find ourselves back in Gotham witnessing The Batman doing what he does in his city. He encounters two rogue patrol officers shaking down local pimp. Naturally, The Dark Knight intervenes and soon discovers that there is more going on here than police corruption and prostitution -- like murder and this big, steroided-out freak in a Batman costume.

Is this dude the guy who shot The Joker several issues back? If so, how and why in the hell did he “Hulk-out?” Also, what’s the deal with this “black casebook“ that The Batman mentions toward the end?

Well, were not going to find out now as BATMAN #664 ends with a cliffhanger.

From what I can gather, Batman fans are either loving or hating Morrison’s run on BATMAN. If you’ve been reading my reviews, then you know that I fall into the former category. Those who don’t care for it usually attempt to make the case that Mr. Morrison has “lightened up” Batman way too much. Sorry, but I beg to differ.

The Batman I've seen during Morrison’s run is still a dark and intimidating character. He continues to prowl the streets of Gotham at night kicking the you-know-what out of criminals. Just because he’s not nuts and Bruce Wayne now looks to enjoy being, well, “Bruce Wayne,” doesn’t mean we’re getting Batman c. 1966.

Another reason to be reading BATMAN is Andy Kubert’s art. This cat can flat-out draw! I enjoyed every single panel of this issue -- as well as his earlier work from “Batman and Son.” Best Batman stuff out there right now in my opinion.

Gripes? Not many from me actually. I guess one could say that this story starts off with Bruce Wayne in Gibraltar and a few pages later -- without explanation or continuity -- The Batman’s in Gotham. I am of the opinion that there is method to Morrison's madness: He's giving readers a look into Bruce Wayne’s life, as well as Batman’s.

If all you want out of Bruce Wayne is to have him sit and brood in a darkened Wayne Manor, then yeah, you’re probably not going to like Morrison’s take on Batman.

Frankly, I find this Bruce Wayne -- and Batman -- much more interesting.

"Jett" is the founder and editor-in-chief of BATMAN ON FILM,
BATMAN IN COMICS, and ON-FILM.NET.

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