Batman R.I.P.: Miracle On Crime Alley
Written by Grant Morrison
Pencils by Tony Daniel
Inks by Sandu Florea
Cover by Tony Daniel and Jonathon Glapion
The Batman of Zur-en-arrh, along with Bite-Mite, searches for the members of the Black Glove and is led to Le Bossu. After removing the tracking device in his teeth, Batman attacks Le Bossu’s men. Meanwhile, Swagman is on the hunt for Robin, who calls Knight and Squire, requesting help. Elsewhere, Batman attacks more of the Black Glove members. He then tortures Charlie Caligula to learn where they have taken Jezebel Jet. At Wayne Manor, Commissioner Gordon pays a visit to Bruce Wayne, but is ambushed by El Sombrero. Inside, Doctor Hurt relishes the idea that Batman will be led to the trap set at Arkham Asylum. At the asylum, members of the Black Glove beat Dr. Arkham to a pulp and then take charge of the asylum to prepare for the trap. While Nightwing is prepped for a lobotomy, the Joker waits for Batman to arrive....
Review by Binkley (e-mail)
I had a strange feeling at the end of this issue. Morrison provides a lot of explanation of what is going on, answering a bunch of questions to the events in the story and setting the stage for the eventual showdown for the ending. What throws me off about this issue is that Morrison’s story has been so off-kilter that to have things put into prospective just doesn’t seem right. Of course, it had to happen at some point; Morrison wouldn’t leave unanswered questions at the end of the story, but it still feels weird to have neat and tidy explanations. Don’t get me wrong, this was a great issue and Morrison has done a great job setting up the finale, but knowing why and how Batman has gone off the deep end sort of grounds the story in a specific reality rather than making it a flight of insanity. If that makes sense.
The key scene in the book is the one between Dr. Hurt and Alfred. It has been speculated in earlier issues that perhaps Thomas Wayne is still alive. Dr. Hurt seems to suggest that he is Thomas Wayne, but also suggests that his wife Martha and Alfred were having an affair. Could Alfred be Bruce’s father? Interestingly, Alfred neither confirms nor denies the charge, he simply insults Dr. Hurt while remaining loyal to Master Bruce. So, was that brief scene set up to mis-direct the real identity of Dr. Hurt (if indeed there is more to Dr. Hurt than we have seen) or could Dr. Hurt just think he is Thomas Wayne or is Thomas Wayne from another dimension or something like that. It is not a stretch to believe that whatever snapped Batman’s mind in the isolation chamber might very well have snapped Dr. Hurt’s mind as well.
Why was Commissioner Gordon at Wayne Manor and why would he need to see Bruce? Was this explained somewhere and I missed it? I gather that Gordon was investigating the information he received about the Wayne murders from a previous issue, but Morrison doesn’t provide any exposition to fill in that information. The entire scene just came out of the blue. Worse, the set-up to the death of the uniformed officer was handled clumsily; once they started talking about the guy’s wife and new baby, it was obvious he wasn’t going to last long. Strangely, I think this may have been the point to the scene.
Early in the issue, Batman calls Bat-Mite, “Might.” Is this a typo, a sign that the proof-reader actually fixed a misspelled word to spell it properly? Or did Morrison mean it to be spelled like that for some reason.