Ok Bat-fans, you can breathe a sigh of relief. The awfulness that has been Judd Winick and Mark Bagley's run on Batman has finally come to end…..at least for now. Tony Daniel returns next issue. And while he is a better artist than a writer, the change should prove to be positive.
Batman #691 wraps up the Long Shadows arc in the same muddled mediocrity as it began. Without going into too much detail: let's just say that Dick convinces Two-Face that he is the original Batman; Dick again realizes that he has to be more vigilant; Dick and Alfred decide to completely abandon the Bat-cave; and Black Mask is the top bad-guy in Gotham. Yes, we already knew most of this. The best part of this issue is that it sets up the direction of the next arc, and allows Dick to start moving forward as Batman, much like he's already done in the other titles.
I've pretty much ripped this title apart since Reborn started, so I will only pick on a few things. Is Two-Face killed at the end of the issue? He is an iconic villain; you would think his fate at the hands of Black Mask would be treated with a larger sense of importance. I thought Two-face's split colored Batman costume was cool, just unrealistic. Having it be just a figment of Dick's drug induced hallucination is to me a writer's cop-out. In the next paragraph I am going to try and fit this arc into continuity, but like Dustin mentioned in the previews, how does the cave get gutted if Barbara is setting up shop there? Finally, I mentioned that the end of this storyline gives this title's Batman a chance to move forward. But it looks like from the prologue that a big part of Daniel's arc will be Dick investigating his parents' murder. Are we so void of new ideas that we have to bring up plot lines that have been written and re-written to death?
One of the big complaints of this title is that there have been multiple continuity issues that don't coincide with the other Bat-titles. We have tried to explain this by saying it has been due to sloppy editing. However, in the spirit of giving our new friend of The Batman Universe, Mike Marts the benefit of the doubt, this is how I think Winick and Daniel's Batman fits in: Batman seems to be following along the same path as Paul Dini's Streets of Gotham, but maybe just a month or so behind. The confusion with Batgirl will probably be resolved with Dick deciding to not gut the cave and allow Barbara to use it as her base of operations. And the goings on of Batman takes place after issue #1 of Batman & Robin but before issue#2. What do you guys think? Maybe we will be surprised and each Batman title is part of a different Grant Morrison Multiverse. Maybe Bruce comes back in Red Robin, but Dick remains Batman in the other titles. Time will tell.
I wish I could say that Winick and Bagley concluded their arc with a bang. But alas, barely a whimper was heard.
Only because Winick and Bagley are done, I give Batman #691……………….
Reviewed by Tiggerbrown