Written by: Joey Esposito, Special to CC2K
I love the monthly comic book format. I know that someday it may all change, but I don't want it to. I like cliffhanger endings, I like the feeling of getting out of a shitty day at work on Wednesdays knowing that I have comics to look forward to. For this reason, it weirds me out when I think to myself how I wish that Grant Morrison and Tony Daniel's "Batman RIP" would just come out in one amazing hardcover book. For that matter, why not Grant's entire run on Batman? The reason being, his work is so literary that it's almost difficult to read it in installments. His run has been full of thematic elements that have had their seeds planted in each and every issue since he started on the book over two years ago, and carrying all the with you from month to month can be difficult.
Writer – Grant Morrison
Pencils – Tony Daniel
Inks – Sandu Florea
Colors – Guy Major
Letters – Randy Gentile
Cover – Alex Ross
And while many times the issue-to-issue jumps can be jarring, issue #679 in particular starts right where the last issue left off: Bruce is bat-shit insane. Substituting a broken AM hand radio for his techno "Bat-radia" as well as a Silver Age inspired homemade, purple ragged Zur-en-arrh Batsuit, Bruce Wayne is traveling down a road that is going to be difficult to follow. Of course, no one knows what lies at the end of said road save Grant Morrison. Speculation is rabid, but if clues in this issue point to anything, it's that Bruce is indeed his own worst enemy and his paranoia may have finally gotten the best of him.
It's amazing to look at this book in comparison with other big "event" books, particularly one Skrully explosion fest coming from the other company. While "RIP" isn't officially an "event", it was a story arc hyped enough to create a massive buzz about, not to mention tie-ins with other Bat-family books. Yet, as we see with Morrison's other big hit of the moment, Final Crisis, this book isn't for the casual fan looking to get his kicks by watching Batman beat up on some of his famous villains. And those seeking to continue their Dark Knight experience by getting themselves into comics, this is absolutely the last place they should be starting. Yet, what fascinates me about this issue is that despite stuff that even the most devoted fan may not recall from stories decades ago, Morrison's inspired script urges the readers to go back and, at the very least, wiki what the hell he is referencing to. In a way, as Morrison takes us through "RIP", he is creating a dark, shortened version of Batman's printed history.
And then, we arrive at Tony Daniel. What's really left to say? The simple fact that his Batman can be wearing a purple cowl and still be the scariest superhero you'll ever see speaks volumes for the man's talent.
To be honest with you, "Batman RIP" is not at all what I initially expected. I thought I knew the formula for the 'big story', and thus I assumed that while I did not know the big plot details and outcomes of "RIP", I would know how we were going to get there. Clearly, pure stupidity. As we have all learned by now, nothing from the mind of Grant Morrison can ever be expected to be run-of-the-mill or predictable. Morrison is a literary great that has chosen comics as his medium; hopefully the rest of the world will finally take it upon themselves to give a damn.
4.5 out of 5.