“Bring out your dead!”  “But I’m not dead yet!”


Bet you thought Batman #681 featured the death of Batman, and all the hype USA Today, and other newspapers and magazines spewed out that week capped off the end of a legend. Turns out Batman didn’t die in that fiery helicopter crash, and Grant Morrison is now spending two additional issues tying the appearance of Batman in Batman to the Batman we’ve seen walking freely around in Countdown. That’s right true believers – it ain’t done yet!

batman683cover.jpgLast issue readers discovered Batman didn’t die in the helicopter crash. Instead he was being held by Dark Side’s minions as they tried to extract his essence so as to transfer it to a clone army that would wreck havoc on the world. Huh, for some reason, I thought the Anti-Life Equation was going to take care of all that. But whatever, right?

In order to make the transference a bit easier on good ol’ Bruce, false memories were being fed to the Dark Knight, which not only tied in to all the great and groovy tales from the 50’s, 60’s and early 70’s, but makes complete sense with what Morrison is trying to do to wrap his RIP story up in a way that doesn’t take a major dump on DC’s number one property.

A note about RIP. Perhaps most of us believed RIP was a reference to the death of the lead character. By now it is probably apparent the acronym simply means Batman finds peace and can finally rest.

As the last issue wrapped, it was clear that the man who has a plan for everything realizes his predicament (thanks to the death and return of Alfred Pennyworth). Through further flashbacks, we see the moments that make Bruce Batman, and eventually uncover the thing that everyone, include Batman fears most – a totally out of control Batman that will do anything to defeat his enemies.

Through his psychic connection with The Lump, Batman is able to convince his lumpy foe to join his side, and when the agreement is made, the essence of Batman is finally revealed, and it is too much for the clones to take, as they begin ripping their eyes out of their still forming heads. It’s is a pretty awesome moment, as readers realize that the dark and twisted mind of Grant Morrison Batman is a place no one wants to be.

Batman escapes, and through a final narrative by Alfred, we discover Batman doesn’t even die in this issue either, but wanders off to a place even his most trusted friend doesn’t know about. Instead, readers are left with the final thought, “There will be no hiding place for evil” quickly followed by “Follow the Dark Knight to His Last Adventure in Final Crisis #6.” Which really should have been followed by, “A-Ha! We figured out how to drag this RIP story out even further to get you saps to part with more money!” I know. I’m a bit hard on that last bit, but it just seems like the denouement we expected three issues ago is now being played out an epilogue that is going on for ever. But isn’t that also the point of Batman? He’ll go on forever, just like his stories? Perhaps. I think we all need to reflect on this thought a bit longer.

Did I like the continued flashbacks? Yes, they were really well done, and the fact they came fast and furious, as readers capture brief glimpses of the past, reminds one of the moments just before waking from a dream. I’m interested to find out what this last adventure Batman has in Final Crisis #6, when it (finally) arrives, and what the big moment will be that will finally cause Batman to find peace he’s been looking for.

The issue’s layout and art are really good, and I like what Lee Carbett did with certain pages as years worth of stories are presented in single monumental panels.

I’m not going so far as to claim this is Morrison’s most brilliant work in all eternity, and those that don’t believe are doomed to burn in Moron Hell for not repenting at the last minute. No, I won’t do that. These last two issues have been very good Batman stories, but not great Batman stories. The fact that this issue pushes readers again to buy yet another issue (which is not even a Batman issue mind you), which will more than likely still not explain what happens, forcing readers to buy yet another issue, does bother me though. I’m hoping when all this is said and done, we get a definite answer. That’s all I and others are asking for; clarification, summation, conclusion, so we can move on. I did dig this issue, which is why I’m giving Batman #683 4 out of 5 Stars.



The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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  1. Ricco
    December 28, 2008 at 11:48 am — Reply

    In the review of Batman #682 I wrote:

    “This takes place right after Final Crisis 2, we see Batman getting caught and put in that same weird reality machine/pod thingy, but Final Crisis takes place in the futur, not the far futur but like weeks or months (otherwhise super-heroes rosters in Final make no sense)

    Which means that Batman “dies” in the crash, dissapears, reappears to join the fray during Final Crisis (with no mention of him having dissapeared at any time), dissappears again (with no one remembering he reappeared) and dies…
    Final Crisis claims another victim in the continuity train wreck: Batman R.I.P.”

    Replace the “This takes place right after Final Crisis 2” by this takes place between Final Crisis 4 and 5, Symian dude comments on Batman’s escape, and it turns out I was right on the “continuity” of Batman’s death…

    Creepy since I was been mostly sarcastic.

  2. December 28, 2008 at 3:41 pm — Reply

    yeah, what he said…

  3. Brother129
    December 28, 2008 at 4:18 pm — Reply

    Ummm….I like to believe I’m a fairly intelligent comic book reader. So why do I only understand what the latest issue of Batman is about after you give me your cliff notes? Yeesh.

  4. Graciela
    December 29, 2008 at 5:57 pm — Reply

    I totally agree with Brother129. Your review makes more sense than the issue did. And even so, I didn’t care for it. They gave away the ending of this issue during FC #5 and the whole clone batmen thing is just really dumb for my money. They introduced the clone idea in FC #4, didn’t really play it out well enough, and squashed it one issue later. Why bother with it then? G-d forbid GM actually came up with something substantial to write about for another 2 issues instead of giving us the comic equivalent of a clip show.

  5. Momento
    December 30, 2008 at 10:43 am — Reply

    I’ll agree with what’s gone before: this review made more sense than the comic itself.

    I’ve been a comic book reader and collector (specifically Batman titles) for over 20 years and guess what? I have no interest in any of the Final Crisis, Last Crisis, Infinite Crisis, Crisis What Crisis etc. I want to read about The Batman and his adventures; his trials, his triumphs and his defeats. This whole RIP/Last Rites storyline now seems like nothing more than a lame attempt to get me to buy more comics that I have no interest in.

    The truth? I really couldn’t give a toss about Darkseid, The Lump, Clone Batmen Armies and all the other Crisis nonsense. Just give me (and I’m sure a lot of other fans of The Batman title) what I want: a coherent and ongoing story that deals with the possible loss of Bruce Wayne as Batman.

    Grant Morrison should be ashamed of himself after the debacle of 682 and 683…

    That is, of course, just my opinion…

  6. ~wyntermute~
    January 5, 2009 at 7:11 pm — Reply

    I’ll go with Momento for the win…..

    But seriously, Stephen is right… all I want from morrison is CLOSURE! I realize that the comic book medium is a serial/periodical one, but I don’t have the funds to keep buying issues that promise more issues of obfuscation and distraction. Nor do I have the wits to understand them apparently, since I too found the review to make more sense than the book.

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