Written by: Ron Bricker
Here it is, Grant Morrison's Batman Magnum Opus. The culmination of everything Morrison has been building since issue #655 of Batman's monthly series. If the title is any indication, we will probably be witnessing a world without Bruce Wayne as the Batman. Whether it be by his death (unlikely), another broken back, retirement, or something far more sinister, changes are in store for the Dark Knight and the world he lives in. What has me so excited for this particular arc is the sheer scope of the situation. It's pretty much a godsend that Morrison picked up the reigns of this title post "One Year Later" as he has been creating a Batman story that actually builds on itself. Morrison has finally answered my prayers and given a character like Batman, who is very human and street level based, his own epic which is nerd-gasm worthy .
Morrison has promised all the big players littered throughout his run to make appearances in "RIP". Therefore, expect Talia and Bruce's devil child, Damian, The Black Glove, the three ex-cop Batmen, The Club of Villians (referenced in the fantastic "Club of Heroes" arc), and of course, the reemergence of the Joker. Morrison's Batman manifesto is a perfect example of what makes reading his comics worth it. The details are everywhere! What seems like gibberish comes full circle making plot threads stretching all the way back to the first panel of Morrison's first issue transcend to new levels of meaning once the dust settles. Thus making the entire run, up through "Batman RIP", worth multiple reads far after Morrison has wrapped up his tenure on the series.
Now while this is Grant Morrison's baby, let us not forget the amazing talent of Tony Daniel, who will be penciling this epic storyline. Since picking up the art duties on Batman at issue #670, Daniel has been pushing his talent to the limit. One might even say he has "walked along the razor's edge". But in all seriousness, Tony Daniel's Batman is iconic, simple as that. It shares all the best qualities of Jim Lee and Neal Adams, with Daniel's own flare to create a Dark Knight that stands next to the best renditions the character has ever seen. Therefore, I'm sure Daniel will put his heart and soul into this "RIP" arc to match Morrison's masterful writing.
A lot of press and hype has been thrown out towards this particular arc. "With ramifications far into the future, Batman will never be the same again" is probably a nightmare quote to most comic fans that have followed the medium for some time. Whenever these words, "never be the same again", get tossed around its usually a false claim to cash in on the hype train, resulting in an incredibly diluted, lackluster tale. However, with Morrison behind the wheel, I have complete faith in his storytelling abilities. With Morrison quoted as saying this is the first arc penned when offered the job of regular Batman, I have the utmost faith in this story. If this is what he planned first, it only makes sense that the rest of his run thus far has left the bread crumbs to get to this point. I'm confident once "Batman RIP" is over that comic nerds everywhere will label Morrison's run on Batman a definitive character study. Therefore, get pumped for Batman come issue #676, the start of "Batman R.I.P.", hitting shelves April 30th, 2008.