Batman: The Return #1 (2011)
The event of the year is here! Bruce Wayne made his long journey back through the timestream in RETURN OF BRUCE WAYNE, Dick Grayson and Damian uncovered important secrets in BATMAN and ROBIN, Gotham City's bravest heroes made their mark in BRUCE WAYNE – THE ROAD HOME…and now it's time for BATMAN to return! What happens to Dick Grayson now that the "real" Batman is back? How will Bruce Wayne handle a reunion with his son, Damian? This special one-shot bridges two exciting eras of The Dark Knight and sets up a surprising new status quo that's just on the horizon.Featuring the talents of Batman mastermind Grant Morrison and superstar artist David Finch providing interior art, this issue is a can't-miss for comics fans!
Batman: The Return is a one-shot from an absolute superstar team of creative talent set to bridge two eras as Bruce returns to the cape and cowl following Dick’s time as Batman. The story holds a special place in the timeline just before Batman Incorporated kicks off, and truly sets the stage for some classic storylines, but this particular issue finds success not just from its look at Bruce’s return but also the Batfamily that has held down Gotham in his stead.
The real highlight of this issue without a doubt is the spectacular visuals from Finch and company. It’s a definitive vision of Batman, brooding in its tone and filled with tension just about to explode into a true war against crime. It’s wonderful to see such powerful depictions of Bruce at a time when he is just returning, casting him in the light of a god among men, despite the obvious troubles weighing on him. It’s the type of visual storytelling that stands the test of time even in a one-shot book arguably destined to be overshadowed by the two eras it’s meant to merge.
Morrison feels as though he is playing the role of the World’s Greatest Detective himself in this issue as we see Batman fall into the role of once more playing chess with the pieces of good and evil. The meticulous planning that reveals itself page by page feels like quintessential Batman, but it’s also handling a lot of narrative weight with acknowledging everything that’s just happened including Damian’s time working with Dick and what lies ahead for this new initiative called Batman Incorporated. It’s interesting to see how the Batfamily falls in line during these moments as the opposition begins to take shape in Gotham. It’s an issue that’s really hammering out the sides of an ensuing conflict and from the perspective, the calm before the storm feels shrouded in tension.
Everything from mech suits to Leviathan will have fans of this entire run interested in what plays out. It’s worth diving into as a one-shot just for the artwork alone. Every panel is a treat to look at, and although the story isn’t really all that necessary, it still finds a way to entertain with its strong characterizations and ability to carry momentum through the entire book. The reactions from Alfred, Batgirl, and the others show that there is a lot of emotions to sort through and this really is just the beginning.
While I was hoping for more of an exploration into the dynamic of Bruce and Damian, this simply isn’t the issue where that is fleshed out. This is a book that handles a much larger picture and as a primer, it is very successful. These are the issues that people may have forgotten or simply didn’t get around to reading, but it’s the type of Batman book that is sure to entertain and that alone makes it worth your money.
Batman: The Return is a one-shot from an absolute superstar team of creative talent set to bridge two eras as Bruce returns to the cape and cowl following Dick's time as Batman, but this particular issue finds success in not just its look at Bruce's return but also the Batfamily that has held down Gotham in his stead.
Batman: The Return #1: Sweet Sound of Glory and Order and Architecture
Writing - 9/109/10
Storyline - 8/108/10
Art - 9/109/10
Color - 9/109/10
Cover Art - 8.5/108.5/10
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