Recent conversations about pop culture have led to discussions about whether or not The Batman should kill…

But what about Bruce Wayne?  Your Major Spoilers (Retro) Review of Batman #600 awaits!

Batman600CoverBATMAN #600
Writer: Ed Brubaker/Patton Oswalt
Penciler: Scott McDaniel/James Tucker/Sefano Guadiano/Eric Shanower/Sergio Aragones
Inker: Andy Owens
Colorist: Gregory Wright, Wildstorm F/X
Letterer: John Costanza
Editor: Bob Schreck
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.95
Current Near-Mint Pricing: $7.00

Previously in Batman: In a shocking moment that no one saw coming, Bruce Wayne’s found girlfriend Vesper Fairchild dead in his own home, moments before the GCPD arrived to take him into custody for her murder.  Investigations into the murder by the Bat-Family point only to Bruce, and his claims of innocence seem even more hollow when Wayne escapes police custody and goes on the run.  The Gotham Police quickly respond, surrounding Wayne Manor, just in case Bruce might be dumb enough to fulfill the cliché of returning to the scene of the crime…

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The unsuspecting cop is actually 100% correct, though not in the way he expects, as Bruce Wayne did return to the Manor, but it seems that only Batman is coming out.  With his world collapsing around him, his ally Commissioner Gordon gone, his secret identity wanted for murder, The Batman considers his options…

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Batman remembers all the bad memories associated with his ancestral home, from the repeated exits of the women he loved, all because of his double-identity, to the “loss” of his adopted son, Dick, who was able to more successfully be both man and mask.  As he thinks about the loss of his other ward, Jason Todd, murdered by the Joker, he enters his cave for the final time…

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The clearly traumatized Bat finds his entire Bat-Family (Nightwing, Oracle, Robin and Batgirl) assembled to confront him on his actions…

The Batman is having none of it.

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Oracle tries to reason with the man, but finds that he’s made his decision: Batman has work to do, and that work isn’t going to include trying to prove his alter-ego’s innocence.  Gotham needs The Batman…

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Nightwing is the first to lose his cool (which is the worst thing you can do with either The Batman or a father who is clearly dealing with PTSD and probably depression), but it’s actually Tim “Robin” Drake who makes the first actual physical contact…

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Enraged, Batman suddenly realizes that his friends, his family, his metaphorical and not-so-metaphorical children are wondering if he really did murder Vesper, and when Oracle begins laying out the facts of the case, it’s clear that his anger is barely under control.  Not only was Vesper murdered in his own home, Oracle and the GCPD have video evidence of Bruce Wayne buying the murder weapon, a charge which Batman will neither deny nor explain…

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Worse still, Vesper’s computer hard-drive proves that she was on the trail of Gotham’s greatest mystery: The identity of The Batman, giving Bruce Wayne a motive for the murder.  If it is a frame, it’s an awfully good one, and the situation is made even more complicated by what else Vesper already knew…

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Even Dick Grayson, who refuses to believe that his mentor could kill anyone, is stunned at this revelation.  If Batman didn’t kill her, someone who knew that Bruce Wayne WAS Batman did.  Nightwing finally loses his cool when Batman again turns to leave, refusing to even acknowledge the case.  There’s no need for him to bother with clearing Bruce Wayne’s name, for one simple reason…

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It’s a shocking moment, and one that cements once and for all the foolishness of this common fan-theory, thankfully.  It also enrages Nightwing, who demands to know, if Bruce Wayne was never real, who adopted him?  Who helped him become a man and a hero?  “Who raised me?  Can you answer that?”

Batman refuses to answer.  It is a bad decision…

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With the cork off the violence bottle, father and son enter into combat, with Batman dodging every one of Nightwing’s strikes.  It’s a really impressive visual sequence by Scott McDaniel (which is a multi-page spread and damn near impossible to reproduce here without destroying the effect), as Nightwing shouts at his father to acknowledge him, calling him “Bruce.”  The only answer is a fist in the face…

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Nightwing’s rage sends him through the glass case that houses fallen Robin Jason’s uniform, allowing Batman to escape, while Batgirl voices what everyone is thinking: “Batman…  never said he didn’t kill the woman.”

Finally having shed all his remaining humanity, The Batman escapes into the night…

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Escaping to a temporary base on the Gotham docks, The Batman prepares for his new life, 24/7 crime fighting, free of the bonds of being a real person…

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Ed Brubaker is one of my favorite Batman writer of recent years, because as the issue closes, he makes it clear that the emotionally damaged Bruce Wayne is finally taking the last, terrible, unhealthy step to embracing his inner darkness, and that it’s not in any way a good thing for Batman, for Gotham or for frightened young man who watched his parent die in an alleyway years ago…

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A chilling ending, to be sure.  The rest of the issue is devoted to “lost tales” of Batman’s past, starting with a time-travel story from the 1950s, wherein Batman and Robin encounter a Civil War-era hero known as The Black Bat…

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I love this story, frankly.  No doubts about it.  Next up is a 60’s themed story featuring The Joker in control of The Mad Hatter’s mind-control chapeau technology…

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Being a full-on Batgirl/Robin ‘shipper, I also like this one, but the crown jewel of the issue is the final story, featuring Batman fully embracing a new decade, becoming the Batman that the 1970s needs…

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…thanks to the wonderful comedy sensibilities of Sergio Aragones and comic-nerd who is a comic and also a nerd, Patton Oswalt.  This issue kicks off a meaningful arc that really examines the relationship between man and mask, one that coincidentally supports my own theory that “Batman is the real person, Bruce Wayne is a sham” is a terrible, indefensible argument.  But, agreeing with my mind-set aside, Batman #600 is a tense, well-written issue with excellent art across the board, and more than a few surprises, earning a well-deserved 4.5 out of 5 stars overall.  If you nothing else, it serves as a nice tonic for those who prefer their Batman cannon-free…

Recent conversations about pop culture have led to discussions about whether or not The Batman should kill... But what about Bruce Wayne?  Your Major Spoilers (Retro) Review of Batman #600 awaits! BATMAN #600 Writer: Ed Brubaker/Patton Oswalt Penciler: Scott McDaniel/James Tucker/Sefano Guadiano/Eric Shanower/Sergio Aragones Inker: Andy Owens Colorist: Gregory Wright, Wildstorm F/X Letterer: John Costanza Editor: Bob Schreck Publisher: DC Comics Cover Price: $3.95 Current Near-Mint Pricing: $7.00 Previously in Batman: In a shocking moment that no one saw coming, Bruce Wayne's found girlfriend Vesper Fairchild dead in his own home, moments before the GCPD arrived to take him into…
A really effective tale of Batman, murder and humanity, with three really strong backups. 100% recommended...

BATMAN #600

Writing
Art
Coloring

A really effective tale of Batman, murder and humanity, with three really strong backups. 100% recommended...

User Rating: 3.85 ( 1 votes)

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The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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