Posted by January 26-28, 2012 | August 6, 2015

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Batman and Son

Batman 655 : Building A Better Batmobile

Batman 655 is the beginning of Morrison's Batman and Son story arc which is about Damian - Batman's son from Talia Al Ghul.

This first issue makes it clear that Damian, already well past infancy, has never met his father and vice versa. It's a slow start but that's alright because this issue is about something I've wanted to see for a long time: It's about Bruce Wayne and Alfred. Huge swaths of this issue is spent showing "day in the life" scenes between Bruce and Alfred in the Mansion and the Batcave. These are quiet scenes but a lot is conveyed and you really get a sense of how much these two people love each other. I'm reading Batman 655 and I experience, vicariously, what I've always known - that Alfred is the closest Bruce has to a parent and Bruce, for all intents and purposes, is Alfred's son. They are family; with the various Robins being welcome, yet transitory, additions. The nuclear family of Batman is Alfred and Bruce. There are subtleties in this issue, nuances in the dialogue, that get me teary-eyed, really. This must be why Morrison has such a loyal following among comics fans - he has such tremendous respect for the material. He upholds the hobby we all love so much by taking it so seriously, writing about it with such three dimensional verve. Read this for Alfred. And read this for Bruce.

Batman 656 : Man-Bats of London

This issue is Batman going against a whole army of Man-Bats . It got so overwhelming that I was hoping that a member of the Justice League would show up. So how many Man-Bats can the Dark Knight take out before going down himself? Thirty.

I'm also coming to realize that the Batman has electronics wired to his cowl. Last issue he was tinkering with it in the Batcave. In the middle of the fight in this issue, he was referring to his hood mike being so sensitive he could hear bat sonar.

Oh yes, we meet Batman's and Talia Al Ghul's son - Damian.

Batman 658 : Absent Fathers

Lancing through this issue like an angry red laser is the absolute lunacy of Talia Al Ghul. She is the prime mover of all the things that happen here: The wild attacks of the Man-Bats; the international kidnapping and invasion, and, most of all, Damian.

Damian who has just hospitalised Robin (Tim), beaten up Alfred, not to mention kill somebody last issue. We get to see Damian try to hold his natural fascination in check while Batman trots out all his fancy gadgets - including a rocket.

Ironically, Talia, who isn't wearing a costume, is the most unreal character here. Her iron will and arrogance rivals even her son's.

I was reading an issue of Hush before I read this and Joe Kubert can hold his own against Jim Lee. Lee has the better lineart but Kubert has the superior layouts. Comics will never be extinct with artists like these.

This issue is beautiful and absolutely worth it but I'm a bit vague on the ending. Did Talia just blow up her own submarine? She's out-and-out crazy.

Batman 664 : The Ghosts of Batman

At one point during this comic somebody brings up the death of Bruce's parents. He says "I got over it". Kubert goes in for a close-up so we can see his eyes. I look at it and I think, "Liar". The day Bruce gets over it we don't get us no Batman. Oh wait, there's always Dick Grayson right?

You'll also see Batarangs that return to Batman's hand. That's amazing.

Roxie, a hooker, says she'll do Batman for free. Who says crime fighting doesn't pay?

I never thought that you could smell testosterone, or as Batman calls it, "alpha male hormone", the smell of boardrooms, the stock exchange and executive bathrooms.

Years of reading Batman and I always knew that the cape would work against him. That's what happens here.

Batman 665 : The Black Casebook

It is not unusual for Batman to get beaten up by his foes, but what happens here has an added psychological impact, you see, because he took blows from a rogue policeman in a batman-motif costume, and this giant, behemoth of a cop looked just like Bane. Bane. Remember him? Bane broke Bruce's back and paved the way for Azrael to take over from Batman for a time. With the double whammy of a physical and psychological blow, Batman cannot help himself in this issue. He receives help from Roxy, a sympathetic streetwalker, who drives him to a location where he picks up the phone to call Alfred. As both Alfred and Tim rush to his side we see just how much Bane has affected the Bat.

Prepare yourself for some wonderful Robin action as Tim shows the courage we'd all expect from a Robin by taking on Batman's nemesis alone. It's a wonderful first salvo from Tim but the battle will slowly tilt against him. Don't worry though, Bruce is back, and just like in The Dark Knight Returns, the Bat, having failed the first time, will inevitably try again.

This issue shows the man inside the Bat. First, that he can be beaten. Second, that he will NOT stay down.

Batman 666 : The Legend of the Batman

Issue 666 presents us with a sudden timeshift. It is many years later, Bruce Wayne is dead and his son, Damian, is the new Batman. Damian is very honest about his level of capability as the quote below informs.

"I knew I'd never be as good as my Dad or Dick Grayson . . . so I specialized in cheating." - Damian Wayne as the Batman

Abilities aside I love Damian's batman costume the moment I saw it. Instead of a cape, this Batman has a trenchcoat. It just works.

Another thing I like, with guilty pleasure, is that Damian isn't squeamish about killing his opponents. I knew it, the Al Ghul blood has created a Batman/Wolverine hybrid. The bad guys really have cause to fear the Batman now. As you can read in this next quote, we're not getting a kinder, gentler Dark Knight here.

"Go and make the world a better place or I'll hunt you down one by one." - Damian Wayne as the Batman to Gotham's high society

This is not a total break from last issue's tale, the villain here is the third Batman-motif villain spoken of in the past issue. The first was the "Batman" who shot the Joker point blank. The second was last issues Bane-style "Batman". This is the third, and its wonderful to see Damian put him in his place.

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