Review: Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne

Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne

Storytellers: Grant Morrison, various artists

Publisher: DC Comics

Year of Publication: 2011

Page Count: 232

What I Learned About Writing/Storytelling: Morrison likes to make the reader think when they read his stuff, so I appreciate that about his writings. That said, such a writing style probably communicates to the reader better when read issue by issue, as it gives the reader time to process what’s going on in-between issues. In the form of a trade paperback, you’re getting all of Morrison’s signature mind-bending all at once, which makes it harder to digest.

What I Learned About Art/Storytelling: There’s a whole pantheon of artists attached to this collection, but the end result is pretty cohesive. Chris Sprouse’s art works well for “Shadows on Stone,” and and Frazer Irving’s art works well for “Until the End of Time.” The only story that I think could have used a different art style was “Masquerade,” which really could have used a more noir-like feel. That would have sealed the deal pretty well in terms of what the story was trying to accomplish. That said, “Masquerade” is still pretty darn trippy, so maybe the creators did that on purpose.

Recommendation: B

Notes/Review/Synopsis: The first thing I said to myself after finishing this book was: “What was Grant Morrison smoking when he wrote this thing?” Crude jokes aside, I was able to mostly understand this trade going in, given that I haven’t read Final Crisis. Morrison, however, has this way of writing really disturbed, mind-twisting stuff, even if this instance was a more mild form of that predilection.

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The First Comic Book I Ever Read

It must have been ten years ago. My dad and I had stopped in a Half-Price Books while waiting for some work to be done on our car.

My ten or eleven-year-old self meandered among the shelves, bored out of my mind, when I came upon the comics section.

Peering over the boxes, I curiously thumbed through them. I finally selected two promising issues: Detective Comics #610 and Robin #2.

Of the two, I easily liked the latter the best.

Thus, I treasure Robin #2 by Chuck Dixon as the first comic book I ever read. Before, I’d only read those old Bionicle comics that LEGO put out.

I already had a superficial familiarity with superhero comics, thanks to chatter from friends and bit and pieces I’d seen here and there.

But this was my first introduction to Batman comics proper. It was my first taste of the comic book stories of yesteryear, and I found it absolutely thrilling.

Just imagine the world I had stepped into: Robin, a.k.a.  Tim Drake, staring down the business end of an overzealous cop’s shotgun.

The story goes on as Robin/Tim deftly escapes Shotgun Smith and makes a go at nailing some wacky gang called the “Speedboyz.”

But Tim also takes time to call his girlfriend to apologize for cancelling their date (while still dressed in his Robin costume).

He also talks on the phone with some guy named “Alfred” about another guy named “Jean-Paul” going crazy, and apparently this other dude named “Bruce” is involved somehow.

This stuff barely registered with me at the time, but I got the gist of it: Tim Drake is just a regular kid with regular problems living in a weird-butt world.

I loved it then and I love it today.

This day and age is the golden age of reprints. I didn’t buy comics when I was a kid, besides the two I just mentioned.

But now I can read any comic I want, including thousands of back issues made in the ’90s and early 2000s.

I just finished reading two fabulous trade paperbacks collecting Kelley Puckett’s run on Batgirl, when Cassandra Cain held that moniker. Best comics I’ve read in a while.

Now they’re releasing all sorts of old stuff in book collections.

Batgirl. RobinAzrael. The mega-series of Knightfall and No Man’s Land. All waiting for me to read.

I have a lot of catching up to do.

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