Grant Morrison uses the opening six issues of his Batman run to establish the tone and plot for his book. It’s hard to look at this as an individual thing when you know how all of it ends. The one thing to do would be to look for all the clues you missed, but that would mean me spending thirty or so minutes on each issue, and I just don’t have time for that. I also have to save the world.
Let’s get started, shall we?:
“How did they find his neck?”
“That’s just what I said. Does this mean I’m getting better or worse?”
Yes, I’m completely ignoring the Zur En Arrh stuff for now. While that stuff isn’t exactly easter egg in nature, it is . . . superfluous? I don’t know. I just don’t find it important for right now. It’s not even subtle. It’s all in BIG LETTERS.
I guess I didn’t really ignore it. Oh well. Look at this!
Here Morrison sets about establishing his view on everyone’s personal relationships with each other (everyone being Alfred, Time Drake, and Bruce). We see that Alfred at Tim feed the bats and Bruce has no idea. We also see Tim eating Bruce’s dinner sammich and Alfred packing him a bagged lunch for Tim to take on his trip to the mountains. These two pages are well executed for what they are.
Now we get into the Batman stuff.
Does Francine Man-Bat not know the serum? Or did Talia kidnap her to force Man-Bat’s hand. I assume they could’ve found another way to get the Were-Bat juice than kidnapping Man-Bat’s wife and threatening to turn her into “…blind, crippled for life and in constant pain.” Enough bashing stupid tropes. Onto the mystery solving!
It doesn’t take the world’s greatest detective to figure out Man-Bat is freaking out right now and in a crucial hurry. Fortunately the world’s greatest detective is on the case and can figure out exactly why Langstrom is in a hurry (that being Alfred).
Now, I don’t know if this is a joke or not (I feel it is), but Action for Africa is hilarious. Even if Morrison meant us to take it seriously, I can’t. It feels perfectly like those banal celebrity events that don’t actually have a purpose. What does Action for Africa mean? Absolutely nothing. What kind of Action? What parts of Africa? Doesn’t matter because none of these billionaires care at all. Just makes them feel good to say they care. This could be a deep statement if I looked into it hard. Probably not though.
The juxtaposition on the first page of issue 656 makes me giggle. Yes, she’s hot. I guess the “WOW” in the background is suppose to remind you in case you forgot.
Jezebel Jet remains Batman’s love interest for the first three quarters of Morrison’s Batman run. We don’t know much about her yet, just that she has all the legs, likes to ski, and runs a small country.
I think Andy Kubert does a mean Man-Bat. It is known that I love ridiculous campy stuff in my super hero books. Morrison’s run is full of deadly serious stuff, yet it never goes into oppressive mode. These Man-Bat Ninjas were apparently made in twenty seconds. The League of Assassins kicks the Langstroms (Prof. Man-Bats and Mrs. Man-bats) out on the street, and in five minutes ninja man-bats crash through the ceiling.
Let’s ignore how these ninjas kept all their skills while turned into giant screeching bats. Let’s not ignore this giant shuriken.
All this stuff is really inconsequential. The meat of this story is at the end of the ninja man bat fight Talia Al Ghul drops off Batman’s son! Who Knew? Now there’s a lot of weird stuff that goes on here. First we get some weird commentary on parenting. Batman doesn’t beat his kids. He figures out that aggressively yelling with a red border around your word bubble will make his son cower like a puppy. Kid is totally a brat. Maybe if Batman had hit this kid in the chest it’s possible he wouldn’t have busted Tim Drake’s face and shoved him off the T-Rex through a glass case.
I’m not going to talk about the joker prose piece just yet. That’s going to be a post unto itself.