What makes this 10th issue of The Batman’s Grave from DC Comics stand out is a confrontation between Alfred and Batman over guns. That sequence alone is worth the entire series!
THE BATMAN’S GRAVE #10
Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Bryan Hitch
Colorist: Alex Sinclair
Letterer: Richard Starkings
Editor: Marie Javins
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover price: $3.99
Release date: September 16, 2020
SOLICITATION: The Batman knows who his enemy is. He just doesn’t know where the enemy is or how to fight him. The enemy, though, knows exactly how to fight the Batman. And possibly, where the Batman is.
THE ‘HEART’ OF THIS ISSUE
Warren Ellis is one of those classic writers who can weave a strong over-arching story and yet still make one or two sequences that stand even above that. The 10th issue of this miniseries has an ideal example of that.
Batman is out on the streets fighting Scorn and others. There are amazing battle sequences that just leap off the page.
However, while that’s happening, back at Wayne Manor, Alfred is confronted by, as he put it, “Mister heart-eating Stirk.” Really, you don’t need to read the previous nine issues to get the danger Mr. Wayne’s butler is in. Alfred offers to make sandwiches for the man threatening him. He declines that offer, then leaps at the butler with death in his eyes.
That’s when Alfred defends himself with a tool the Batman despises—a gun. And he shoots Stirk, apparently, in the head. Stirk begins to fall to the ground, and Alfred shoots him again, this time in the chest. Alfred looks at the being lying there in front of him. He shoots him again. Alfred then walks away, leaving Stirk lying on the ground. A moment or two later, obviously unsure that his foe is completely incapacitated, he comes back and shoots him again, this time in the stomach. He checks out Stirk, then shoots him in the head again. After that, he sits in a nearby chair and calls Bruce to say, “I’m afraid we’ve had a burglar.”
When Bruce arrives, he’s, shall we say, irritated that Alfred has employed a weapon that Batman is against ever using. The two discuss this, that Alfred has firearms hidden in the house that he has no problem using. My favorite part of all this is when Alfred says, “While you might be a big, strapping hulk covered in armor, I am a frail and defenseless old man.”
After a little more discussion, Alfred points out, “Guns did not kill my friends Martha and Thomas Wayne. A man like this did.”
Point. Set. Match. Discussion over, and Batman has been “outgunned” mentally by Alfred. Wow.
Granted, this is dealing with a very specific circumstance. I don’t own a gun, nor do I want to own one. But Alfred should be able to survive in Batman’s world, and this happens to be his individual solution. Personally, I think it’s a very smart one. Others are certainly free to disagree. I do love a comic that invites discussion on important topics, and this issue surely does that!
Batman has a novel way of alerting the police to Stirk’s body, which I also enjoyed. Then we get back to the bigger story at hand.
It was a priceless and historic sequence that I’ll always remember as a Bat-fan. Alfred out-reasoning the Batman on the issue of using guns. Yeah, that’s one for the history books.
The plotting and the dialogue besides this sequence are flawless, of course. The battle with Scorn continues and will likely concludes two issues from now. Nicely done.
While the dialogue is something I enjoyed quoting here, it’s important to note that what could have been a boring sequence visually is portrayed just as brilliantly in the art. Facial expressions and action were perfectly displayed in the Batman/Alfred discussion as well as in the battle that takes place on the streets of Gotham early on in the issue.
It’s always great when the art is just as well done as the writing. This issue is a prime example of just that.
BOTTOM LINE: A LANDMARK ISSUE
The entire matter of Batman and guns has always been something I’m unsure about. The sequence I discussed here brought my feelings to the printed page better than I could have ever written it. This issue is a perfect example of why I read comics. Yes, it is.
We’re only two issues away from the finale, and I hope it wraps up as excellently as the previous issues have. My only concern is that the conclusion won’t be as satisfying as this particular issue and the sequence above are. With the creative team of Ellis and Hitch, I’m still going to enjoy it. Count on that!
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The Batman's Grave #10
The entire matter of Batman and guns has always been something I’m unsure about. The sequence I discussed here brought my feelings to the printed page better than I could have ever written it. This issue shows why I read comics. Yes, it does.