Review: Batman #680

25 Variant)

Batman #680 (*****)

Everyone please, read this book. You don’t have to do it today or tomorrow or even this year, but read it someday. Also, if you could please read Batman & Son and Batman: The Black Glove first, it will greatly add to your enjoyment and appreciation. I don’t mean to sound like a jerk and tell you what to read, I’m just expressing my love. I could write endlessly about this book. However, I’d rather not bore everybody or drive people away with too many words, so I’ll try to be brief.

This is the penultimate chapter of RIP and it is a doozy. This is my favorite type of story. It’s entertaining, bold, and surprising. It’s an homage to many old Batman comics and yet it still seems so fresh and original. You can reread it over and over again and still notice new things. It’s rich with symbolism. Sorry, I’m getting too mushy about this. The point is I love this stuff. It makes me happy and I’d like you to all be happy to.

What didn’t I like about this issue? I wish Tony Daniel was a better artist. Don’t get me wrong. He provides many haunting images and definitely gets the story across (with a little help from his friends of course). But because of how much I adore this book, I wish someone with more talent was drawing Morrison’s vision. Speaking of Morrison, how awesome is he? The man is responsible for Final Crisis, All Star Superman, and Batman RIP and they’re all ending within a few months of each other. I’ll have greatest comics ever for 400, Alex! Oh, and did I mention that RIP is not the end of Morrison’s run. Yes, Morrison is my favorite writer and I am a total kiss ass.

I guess I should address the biggest complaint about this book, “I don’t understand it”. I certainly don’t mean to get on my high horse, but this comic can be understood. If you’ve been having some trouble understanding this arc (Only if you’ve read this book before because I don’t want anything spoiled), check this guy out. He has both spoken with and wrote a book about Grant Morrison. He has got a lot of cool stuff to say.

Anyway, I’ve already written way too much. See how much I care? I love this issue and I can’t wait for the next one.

17 thoughts on “Review: Batman #680

  1. Joker wasn’t S&M…he just wasn’t wearing a shirt. The closest he had to S&M gear was suspenders, and that doesn’t really qualify.

    Now, Mary Marvel was 100% S&M, but then, so were the Female Furies, and given that she has become a Female Fury (along with S&M Catwoman, S&M Wonder Woman, S&M Elasti-Girl, and S&M Batwoman), the S&M is more a shout-out to the old costumes than a particular fetish of his.

  2. Well said Seventh. I was about to write something about that but I was delayed. I’m glad I was because you put it better than I would.

    Hey DC! Uh as far as the ending goes, you’ll have to get spoiler specific for me to help you out with the ending. And/or you could check out the link in my review and that could make things clearer too. Not everything was revealed yet, but to me that’s a good thing because this wasn’t the finale. However, I do have a good idea about what’s going on.

    So please, explain further.

    Oh and it was Andy Kubert that was on the book. Was he late? Is that why we got that crappy four issue fill-in? Was Andy supposed to do RIP too? I guess he would have been a little bit better. They both kind of channel a nineties look and maybe that’s what Grant wants. I do think Daniel is “a little over his head”. I enjoyed his work on Teen Titans, but I do wish someone more talented was on this arc.

    Having said that, I do feel that Tony provided some appropriately creepy stuff. Oh, and isn’t the Joker supposed to be off-putting?

  3. i just finished re-reading the entire Morrison run and i must say that it is 100% more satisfying to read it in one sitting than to struggle through it on a monthly basis for two plus years. there are tons of clues (and red herrings) that point to the identity of the Black Glove that i believe a lot of people have missed. of course, i’m still not 100% sure WHO the Black Glove is either, but like the rest of you, i got my theories. i think the real question we should be asking is to what extent is this a self-contained Batman story? how deeply should we be looking at 52 or Final Crisis? hell, there are clues to suggest that someone as cosmic as Darkseid is the Black Glove.

    as i said at the top, this run is an epic single sitting read but i think it fails miserably as a monthly title. there are literally no good jumping on points.

    couple questions for you guys:

    1) have you been reading the title since Morrison took over or did you just start with RIP?

    2) do you think this story would’ve been better received if Kubert had penciled the entire run?

    3) do you like this “rebirth” of the Joker?

  4. 1) me too, but i almost dropped both titles during Robinson’s epic pile of Two-Face garbage. i started reading right before Knightfall, so i can understand some readers complaints about how RIP is a little too much like that MEGA-EVENT.

    2) yeah, i agree here, but my opinion of Daniel’s art is way less kind than yours. Kubert made Morrison’s Batman sing. Daniel makes him retch.

    3) i like it, but i get what you’re saying. accepting this change becomes especially problematic for those of us who are actually reading the other books that Joker has appeared in since #663. i mean, if the rest of the DCU writers, artists and editors aren’t going to pay respect to this change, why should we?

  5. @DC- It’s ok if you’re cranky. Oh, I know so much about S&M ;). Don’t judge the “reveal too harshly. Morrison hasn’t fully revealed his hand yet. Um, I don’t know how spoilerific we’re getting, so I guess I won’t say anymore. Let’s just say I think there’s more to the Black Glove than that person. I’m glad you enjoyed the link, it was pretty cool. Isn’t it appropriate that the ending was an “assault on the senses”? I’m pretty sure Batman’s senses we’re being assaulted as well. And how cool is that last line, “do you get it”.

    @Billy- I totally agree. Monthly the run has been good to great (on Morrison level), but in “one sitting” the run is a masterpiece. I can’t believe there’s more to come too. I hope Morrison is on this book for a decade or more. How cool would that be? I don’t know about FC, but there’s definitely some stuff in 52. I need to get the trades and read it again, but I know 52 is important. Plus, some of this stuff ties back to the fifties man. You can tell that Morrison has read like every Batman issue and took what he liked the best.

    1) I was reading this book pre-Morrison as well.

    2) Kubert would have been better. I’m not that big of a Kubert fan, but his issues did look pretty cool. Although, probably the best art on this run was J. H. Williams III. Kubert probably would have done the best job, but Williams’ three issues looked gorgeous! But hey, Daniel has still gotten the job done. I don’t think his art hindered the book, but I do think Kubert would have made it better.

    3) I like it. The great thing about the Joker’s character is that you can never really have a “New Coke” version. As Morrison introduced 20 years ago, the Joker has “super-sanity”. His personality can be whatever you want it to be and his current appearance is creepy as hell. Batman’s superpower is his brain and Joker’s is his unique sanity.

  6. “good to great”? i think you’re giving the monthly read too much credit. i would say it’s been average to good and it peaked during the “Club of Heroes” storyline. nothing he’s done on the book since have compared to those three issues.

  7. Are we talking about what we think of them now or what we thought of them then? Then, I can see what you’re saying. The first four issues were a lot of fun. The casebook three Batman stuff was…interesting. The Club of Heroes arc was awesome! And Batman 666 was a fantastic done-in-one. Now, I love everything!

  8. Ok, it looks like we can agree the run is better in one sitting. I still think you’re being a little too hard on the monthly. However, comapred to his other current titles, Supes and FC, Batman is the weakest monthly and maybe overall as well.

    Still, we’re talking about Grant Morrison here. Even his worst stuff is miles above most comics.

  9. well, that’s the thing… you can’t say “his worst stuff is miles above most comics” if he’s writing a monthly comic that FAILS as a monthly comic. i honestly can’t say Batman is miles above most monthlies because it’s just not true. comics are episodic in nature and if each episode confuses your audience more than the last, a good to great book that does not make.

    i’m not singling out your opinion, i’m just tired of this “in Morrison we trust” mantra. i mean, it’s okay to call crap “crap”.

    i believe the general comic reading audience is under the impression that they shouldn’t have to read any given comic more than once to understand it, and if they don’t understand it after one sitting then that must mean what they just read was a “bad” comic. i don’t necessarily agree with this attitude, nor do i think anyone on this blog does, but this is the reality comic creators are faced with.

    Morrison, and others, chooses to write UP instead of AT his target demo. i’m not saying he should write DOWN, but hell man, if the majority of your readers are complaining about “reading comprehension” you must be doing something wrong.

    …and i know i’m taking a big leap by using the word “majority”, but screw it.

    and now i’m rambling.

  10. You know, I was hesitant about writing that last line, but I’m glad I did because this is interesting. As I do in most if not all my comments, I was just thinking about my own opinion and not that of the masses. I would never write that in a review. Also, though I do judge comics on a monthly basis, I was still in the mindset of thinking of Morrison’s run as a whole.

    The people I’m exposed to feel that Morrison goes over their head. And just about the only online comic talking I do is on here. So, I never really hear the Morrison mantra.

    I totally agree with the whole one read thing. In fact, it was a bit funny to read other people’s reviews about this issue. Some complained about an absence in the comic that was actually present. I’m not talking about a misinterpretation. I’m just talking about missing certain panels entirely.

    I have to respectfully disagree with your last issue. I don’t think Morrison should change what he’s doing. If the “reading comprehension” bothers you, don’t read the book. A lot of the people who dislike RIP are the same people who love Morrison’s JLA or Superman for example. Or if none of his writing appeals, then just stay away from his it. There are a lot of things that are widely known as great that I don’t like. I’m not a big fan of Pablo Picasso, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with his art nor would I have wanted him to change.

    And now I’m rambling, but thanks for posting that, Billy.

  11. well, i’m not coming from the perspective of trying to force all art to be the same… you will NEVER hear me say that. but, all art is inevitably judged by the people who view it, regardless of whether or not it should be. i mean, that’s the entire purpose of this site, so anyone who writes hear is not innocent. 🙂

    calling a piece of art intellectually brilliant or a masterpiece and at the same time agreeing that that piece of art achieved its stated goals are not one and the same. sometimes, intent is more important than execution.

    most will agree, that art is about the connection; a connection between the artist and his audience and vice versa. you can paint the most (subjectively) beautiful painting in the world, but if most of the world doesn’t “get it”, then in my mind, you have failed.

    which brings us back to my question about Batman: does it fail as a monthly (serial) comic?

    (and i think we’ve both answered this question in our own way, i’m restating it for those that haven’t and want to jump in!)

  12. AGAIN, SPAM!!!!

    “I’m going to say that any book where you get that “OMG I can’t wait for next month!” feeling would qualify.”

    THIS was my exact thought! i’m gonna dig through some comics when i get home and come up with a list. DING!

    (…and thank you.)

  13. That is a tough one. The whole “OMG” thing does help. Walking Dead usually ends with an OMG, but I still think that works better in trades. Really, shouldn’t the top ten monthlies be books where you can jump on at any point? Comics like Conan or Hulk or even YL. It helps to read them from the beginning but you can jump on at anytime.

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