Morrison’s sprawling, epic run with Batman has now broken off into two separate branches: the light, pop-savvy action of Batman and Robin and, now, the history-spanning action mystery of Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne. One follows Dick and Damien as they pick up the pieces of Bruce’s life and live out his legacy; the other follows a confused Bruce Wayne, trapped in the past and unsure of how to get home. Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #1 gets off to a slow start, with a meandering, overconfident beginning, but about halfway through the opening issue, the wit and action that revitalized the Bat-franchise reappears, giving us some fantastic imagery, some compelling new mysteries, and a pretty great fight scene.
Chris Sprouse does some fine work on the art. His design for Man of Bats was solid, but the image of the temporary new Boy Wonder was nothing short of inspired, and while the fight against Vandal Savage was all too brief, Sprouse nonetheless kept the action flowing smoothly. And the shadowy appearance of a few heroes from our time is a surprisingly underplayed scene, memorable and extremely well-colored.
Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #1 starts too slow and meanders too much to pack quite the same punch of, say, Batman and Robin #1, but it is nonetheless a memorable, exciting opening issue for the miniseries. Sprouse proves to be an excellent collaborator, and Morrison makes sure to leave us with the promise for an epic opening battle for next issue. Solid, if not spectacular.
– Cal Cleary