Morrison’s written a few other comics involving the Knight and the Squire; this time, though, the parallel between their hero/sidekick relationship and Dick and Damian’s is a big part of the story’s subtext. The same goes for the relationship between Batwoman and her father, who turn up here in an affectionate tribute to Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams III’s excellent recent Detective Comics serial. Ever since Morrison started writing Batman in 2006, the series has involved one funhouse-mirror alternate version of Batman after another, and it looks like his forthcoming Return of Bruce Wayne project will continue that motif. His Batman and Robin has elaborated on it, by setting Dick and Damian next to other father-and-child and master-and-disciple pairs.
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It’s also continued the intricate master plot he began in Batman, to which he’s been dropping hints all along. 2007’s Batman #666, a flash-forward to Damian as Batman several decades in the future, is gradually emerging as the central point of the story, but nearly every issue illuminates details that Morrison has scattered through earlier episodes, pearls and shards of glass that can’t be fully observed until a different light shines on them. Bruce Wayne is going to have to come back at some point (if the realities of the lucrative Batman franchise didn’t give the game away, the title of The Return of Bruce Wayne sure does), but Morrison’s been hinting that a return to the classic status quo might be a terrible thing–that the devil is lurking there, one way or another. His Batman comics owe almost everything to the weird, kitschy, simple comics of the Silver Age. They just aren’t trying to go back there.
Want more Emanata? See the rest of Douglas Wolk’s columns here.
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