The Comic Book Club: The Return of Bruce Wayne

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MIKE: Hmm, I guess I’m not up on my Crises as I thought. So is an after-effect of the beams that he now hops around time at will? As he does at the end of this issue?

PETER: I take it there was an eclipse of some sort at the end there that caused the time jump for Bruce, right? I guess we won’t know if that’s what will trigger the jumps until the next issue and that kind of bothers me. I was under the impression that Bruce had to find a way back to present day. He sort of just fell into the next time period.

DOUGLAS: Bruce seems to have some sense of what his escape route is–at the moment of the solar eclipse, he moves to the time period for the next issue. He doesn’t really seem to know what’s going on (and neither do we); he’s operating on instinct at this point. Actually, the jump/eclipse bit reminded me of the early Adam Strange stories more than anything else, where Adam had to be in the right place at the right moment to catch his zeta-beam–! But we don’t quite know what Bruce knows, or what the terrible thing that’s going to happen when he gets back is.

MIKE: Yes, the zeta beam is a good comparison. I was also confused by Bruce’s level of understanding of what was going on. I couldn’t tell if his speech was slurred or if it was supposed to represent how the cavemen were hearing him. Either way, he had the wherewithal to take some antibiotics.

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DOUGLAS: I’m pretty sure it was the latter–what he’s saying just sounds like gibberish to the cavemen, but we know that e.g. “wayrameye” means “where am I?” I thought that was a nice touch, actually!

MIKE: As far as the visual style I liked it much more than I thought I would. I found myself looking forward to the next issues of Pirate Batman and Old West Batman but these pages were beautiful. Even if cave-Robin made a shield in half a day.

DOUGLAS: Ha! I think Puritan witch-hunter Batman is being drawn by Frazer Irving (who’s also drawing the next Batman and Robin arc)–I can’t help but imagine that it will somehow connect to the Puritan witch village in Morrison & Irving’s Klarion. But I do really like the openness of Sprouse’s work: he’s not at all a flashy artist, but he’s terrific with visual continuity, facial expressions, etc.–which is essential if you’ve got a story where people don’t do a lot of significant talking.

I was also surprised to see the Rip Hunter/”search for Bruce Wayne” business already showing up: somehow I’d imagined that that was just going to be another ex post facto tie-in executed without the knowledge of the people doing the story it tied into…

LEV: Well, I’m just going to insert my reaction at this arbitrary point, which is that I found the whole ish surprisingly thin. You’re never far away from a cliche when you’re dealing with cavemen, and though Morrison labors mightily I got some unintentional laughs out of some of the LET US CALL HIM MAN OF BATS! dialogue. (It didn’t help that I voice-acted it internally in the style of Ringo Starr in CAVEMAN. But still.)

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Plus I can’t believe the fricking Blood Chief staked out the mysterious Star-Man and then just walked away and left him unattended. I’m embarrassed for you, man! And then I’m sorry, but is Blood Chief superpowered? I mean I know Bats is depleted and all, but when they duke it out Batmano a Cavemano, it’s actually a pretty even fight, and you get the impression Batman only wins because duh, he’s got an entire utility belt full of 21st century gadgets. What, did they have krav maga in the stone age?

That’s all I have to say. I like my Batman butch. If the Amish milkmaid beats him up, I’m done reading.

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