Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #1
Writer: Grant Morrison
Penciler: Chris Sprouse
Inker: Karl Story
Colorist: Guy Major
Letterer: Jared K. Fletcher
Release date: May 12, 2010
I suppose I should talk about this issue, since it is about to show how Bruce Wayne returns to our time following the events at the end of Final Crisis, but honestly, it’s hard for me to get that excited about it. This is a fine issue, but I think I was expecting the story to get off to a stronger start, and this wasn’t what I was expecting.
As the cover shows, most of Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #1 is Batman as a caveman fighting other cavemen at the dawn of man. Bruce Wayne joins up with a bunch of cavemen and then fights a bunch of evil cavemen lead by the immortal caveman himself, Vandal Savage, gaining a caveman Robin (who somehow finds a domino mask in the bush apparently) before getting sent further into the future.
The problem with this issue is the same problem that comes from reading a lot of Grant Morrison stories in single-issue form, and that is that a lot of stories end well but start with a lot of nonsensical ideas that don’t pay off until later. This is that kind of issue and based on Morrison’s track record, I’m sure that the story will have at least a decent ending, but it will be a lot of work to get there. The issue by itself is good enough. There’s goofy enjoyment to be had from seeing Batman fight cavemen, but you would think this would be a bigger deal, what with Bruce Wayne coming back to the present.
The art by Chris Sprouse is very good though. It’s got a very classic look to it. The lines are simple but expressive, and he makes the time setting come to life. The brutality of the fight really comes at you, and even if the story itself is confusing, the art never left me scratching my head. The art is definitely the strong point of the book.
DC’s webpage calls this “the most anticipated series of 2010” but this first issue doesn’t leave me very excited for the rest of the series. I’m going to go with Grant Morrison’s track record and assume that this will finish better than it begins, but I’m also confident in saying that you may be better off waiting for the trade on this one. I think it will just be a better way to read this story. This issue gets a 3 out of 5 from me, and we’ll see if the second issue brings the story up to the level of the art.