Please excuse my title, as this is more a somewhat organized collection of my thoughts than a review. However, just so that I’m not a total liar, this issue is very good. You should buy it.
While searching for this issue’s cover, I came across one of those wonderful annotations. Thankfully, what I wanted to talk about wasn’t covered there, so this might be original, maybe!
First, let’s talk about Annie. Last issue, we saw some characters who mirrored those that inhabit Bruce’s life, like caveman Robin and Joker. With Annie, we get a caricature of the love of Bruce’s life. She has dark hair, a pet, loves nature more than man, and she’s mysterious, maybe even a bit villainous. Does that remind you of Talia and Selina? It should. And, of course, Annie’s love ends tragically. In the beginning of the issue, Annie wishes to love Bruce until the end of time, but that can’t happen because Bruce wouldn’t be Batman. Another great thing about that line is that we see Bruce at the end of time by the end of the issue, still mourning Annie. Poor Bruce.
Now, on to Nathaniel Wayne. Why wasn’t he mentioned among the long list of Waynes in Batman & Robin? Yes, he tried to conceal his name, and that could be it, but what if it goes deeper than that? What do we know about Dr. Hurt? He’s Thomas Wayne, presumably the same one who’s recently been mentioned as the summoner of Barbatos. He’s also tied to the devil somehow. Is it possible that Nathaniel is Dr. Hurt? In this issue, he seemed to treat the devil as sacredly as he did God. Nathaniel was certainly villainous, killing Wayne’s love, and even mentioned “jezebel”. A clue perhaps? Could this be the first meeting of Bruce and Hurt which led to their future encounters? The Nathaniel we see here could easily embrace the devil, especially after being cursed, and he could always go by Thomas Wayne as a new assumed identity. We saw Hurt lash a “W” on his back in Batman & Robin, which would certainly fit the actions of this puritan ashamed of his name.
I guess that’s all I wanted to talk about. Just some speculation and commentary that’s been brewing. Needless to say, only two issues in and I’m already as excited as I was during RIP, so much so that I feel compelled to do a bit of rambling. With Morrison taking over Batman in June, we’re in for a hell of an exciting summer.