Updates From The Bat-Cave, 11/17

Last week’s Batman line-up ended on a great note, with Return of Bruce Wayne finally concluding. While the book did have some “uh…what?” moments, overall it was cool to see Morrison legitimately tie together so many threads stretched out across so many titles for so many years. Additionally, the reunion of Bruce Wayne to adopted son and true believer, Tim “Red Robin” Drake (or Wayne) was emotional without seeming schmaltzy; it was actually cheesy and clichéd in a good way, if you can believe that.

This week is where the new era in Batman books officially begins.

Batman: The Return

The key book of the week is this one-shot from mastermind Grant Morrison and artist David Finch (who is taking over a Bat-book of his own shortly).

As one might expect, this issue deals solely and directly with the fallout of Bruce Wayne’s return from the “dead.” His own mini covered the journey home, Dick and Damian worked their end of the mystery in their own book, Tim handled the legwork in Red Robin, the entire Bat-family had their moment in The Road Home…and now, at long last (and out of sequence), Bruce Wayne is officially and openly back in the DC Universe.

As DC puts it in the solicitation copy, this special will bridge the gap between what has come before and the new direction that’s taking off this month.

If you’re only picking up one book (which would be crazy with a ship week this good), this is the one, folks.

Batman Incorporated #1

If The Return is the lynchpin that holds both eras of Batman together, this is the book that pushes things off into a new direction.

In light of Bruce Wayne’s public revelation two weeks ago, the original Batman is taking his show on the road while Dick Grayson stays behind to mind the shop in Gotham City. While the coming months will see Bruce setting franchises all across the globe (Japan and Argentina are the first two scheduled stops on the itinerary), this month is the beginning, so we’ll presumably see the rationale for his actions and the establishment of his plan and supporting cast.

With Morrison on the script and art by Yanick Paquette (who has worked with Morrison before, on Seven Soldiers), the book obviously has a lot of promise and should soften the blow for those saddened by the rotation of Morrison off of the last book he launched, Batman and Robin.

Batman #704

The last of the big three titles to ship this week doesn’t make quite the impact of the previous two, but it’s still a big deal.

Tony Daniel, who has generally been associated with the artistic side of the Batman franchise, takes over at the sole creator of one of the industry’s flagship books (literally the title by which comic sales have been measured for years). It’s not Daniel’s first foray into writing the Dark Knight: he wrote the Battle for the Cowl mini, which was just so-so, as well as a run on this book earlier this year which was much better received.

In light of the new direction for the franchise, Batman is now focusing on the adventures of the titular character within his home turf of Gotham City. This month sees Batman tracking down an eccentric technology magnate who has come to Gotham seeking both his daughter and a business venture with WayneTech. His investigations lead to Gotham’s Chinatown and a run-in with the Triads, as well as I-Ching. Here’s hoping we get to see Daniel draw some Chinese dragons and architecture throughout the book, because the cover looks fantastic.

Also shipping this week is Azrael #14, Batman: Streets of Gotham #17, and DC Presents: Batman #2.

Azrael follows the playbook for the secondary books of the franchise, covering the avenging angel’s decision whether to join the new direction of that Bat-family or to remain an outsider.

Streets of Gotham, unfortunately, has been derailed in recent months, with Paul Dini’s “Heart of Hush” sequel not even running close to on schedule. All the same, it’s a great read when he’s writing, so let’s hope that the solicitation is actually accurate this time.

Lastly, DC’s reprint project continues with another Ed Brubaker arc from about ten years ago. This time, Batman tangles with Deadshot, a character who originated in the Bat-titles but has more commonly been associated with the Suicide Squad and Secret Six for quite some time now. It was a fun run back when it was originally printed and it’s good to see it getting a new life this week.

Next week looks just as busy as this one, with ongoing titles; Batman and Robin, Detective Comics, Gotham City Sirens, Outsiders, and Teen Titans (complete with Damian’s debut as a Teen Titan) all shipping, as well as the end of the Batman Beyond mini, another installment of Neal Adams’ Batman: Odyssey, and the introductory #0 issue of that Batwoman ongoing book. See you then.

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