• Columns 

    Friday Recommendation: Grant Morrison’s Batman

    By | June 5th, 2009
    Posted in Columns | % Comments

    Yes, I have returned from my magical trip over in LA, and as soon as I was able, I found myself reading Grant and Frank’s new Batman And Robin series. As David said earlier, this is definitely the book of the week, but he also made an important note that this book is one of the pay-offs for Morrison’s entire run on the series, from Batman & Son all the way through Final Crisis. So what better run to honor today than the game changing run of Grant Morrison on Batman?

    Last week I discussed Geoff Johns’ run in Green Lantern and how the tiniest thing in the beginning ended up having a huge pay-off in the end. This is exactly the case with Morrison, and all of his work on Batman is impossible to appreciate without reading all of it. A lot of people came on to Batman at the time of R.I.P. as that was the big arc happening fresh off the heels of The Dark Knight‘s release, and because of it they highly criticized it. Let’s be honest – that movie did wonders for Batman’s P.R. because what did we have before it? Oh yeah. Nipples on the bat suit. The Dark Knight reminded many people why they loved Batman stories, even if Batman himself isn’t what people actually loved most about the movie. However, from my person experience, people definitely became very high and mighty about Batman, acting as if they’ve known the character for years and are all experts. So clearly, when you come across a comic book that takes your new “favorite” character and murders him, you’re going to be upset. Furthermore, when Batman starts wearing a purple costume and begins talking to an imaginary character from the 4th dimension, you’re going to be confused. All of this leads to high criticism and deprives many people the experience of reading hands down one of the greatest Batman arcs ever.

    I think it’s important to mention that Morrison is not a writer for everyone. I feel a lot of writers assume that there audience is dumb, or at least doesn’t want to work hard to enjoy their writing, so they make their arcs very simple and easy to follow. With most books, if you jump in with a new arc, it’s easy enough to put together what you missed. This is definitely not the case with Morrison. It doesn’t matter what you read by him, you always need to make sure you start at the very beginning and work through reading all he has to offer. A lot of people disliked Final Crisis due to this, but I wasn’t one of those. Morrison’s comic writing could be called avant garde in a sense, but his comics truly are like no one else’s. I think that, if I could compare it to anything, I would compare it to the television show LOST. As we go through each season, we are presented with more questions than answers, and this left many users feeling too alienated after seasons 2-4 to continue. Those that pressed forward and watched season 5, however, were incredibly rewarded with the amount of answers and solutions provided by the show. It leaves us still guessing towards season 6, but now that we see the ideas the writers had, we can appreciate it more. This is definitely the case with Morrison’s work, especially with this particular run. There are things that appear in the initial Batman And Son arc that leave us confused but all have definitions and explanations by the time we’re through with R.I.P., and it leads to one of the single most satisfying comic book experiences in the DCU that doesn’t have Geoff Johns’ name attached to it.

    Now let me give you a bit of information on what happened in Morrison’s run. First off, Morrison introduced Damian Wayne, the son of Bruce Wayne and Talia Al Ghul. I’ll admit, I was initially against the character, but I’ve grown to enjoy him more because as the series progressed, we actually saw Damian progress as he was forced to grow up in the wake of his father’s initial disdain for him as well as Batman’s death. We also met the Three Ghosts Of Batman, a group of Batman impersonators whose importance grew as the story went on in a way that I don’t want to spoil. I will say that is important to remember the very first few pages of Morrison’s run as even they have an importance you don’t quite recognize until later. (I would also say to pay very close attention to the art and the background scenes, and fans of the television show Doctor Who will understand why). Morrison once again redefined the Joker as a character, further demonstrating the important profile originally done by Morrison in Arkham Asylum: A Serious House On Serious Earth. In an issue made up entirely of prose instead of the normal comic format, Morrison wrote a terrifying story in which the Joker once again transforms himself as a villain in one of the most terrifying incarnations of the character to date. We also have the great villain, The Black Glove, a villain who first appears in the second major arc, and whose true identity we still do not know (although we have our guesses). The best part about the run is that Morrison proves he knows his Batman better than anybody, creating references dating all the way back to 1958 and Batman #113, but giving them a new and powerful meaning in the Batman universe.

    Continued below

    It is without a doubt in my mind that anyone who has not sat down with these books, yet loves Batman, needs to sit down with all four, as it really is a story like no other.

    If you’ve never read Morrison’s Batman, now is the perfect opportunity. Not only is there a brand new Batman and Robin title to pick up, his entire run is done and completed in four graphic novels. Since I am such a great guy and like to make things convenient, every image in this article leads to a link where you can order the graphic novel. It’ll make it much easier to comprehend since you’ll be reading it at your own pace, I’m sure. There’s no waits or delays in between stories. This is definitely one of the defining Batman runs that will go down in the comic history books, though. I can’t wait until my copy of Batman #655 is worth $100, because even though I won’t sell it, that’ll definitely be a cool brag.

    //TAGS | Friday Recommendation

    Matthew Meylikhov

    Once upon a time, Matthew Meylikhov became the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Multiversity Comics, where he was known for his beard and fondness for cats. Then he became only one of those things. Now, if you listen really carefully at night, you may still hear from whispers on the wind a faint voice saying, "X-Men Origins: Wolverine is not as bad as everyone says it issss."


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