Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #3 [2010] by Grant Morrison

The series traces what has happened to the Dark Knight after he was presumed dead.Following the events of Final Crisis, Bruce Wayne took down Darkseid however was zapped by Darkseid’s omega beams and he was sent back to prehistoric times. There he buries Anthro (the First Man that begins the human race) who dies of old age. There he defends a local caveman tribe by donning a giant bat pelt against Vandal Savage. Bruce escapes by jumping over a waterfall however he has also time travels forward to the Puritan era of Gotham City.

Bruce Wayne is in his own version of Slaughterhouse Five however he is progressing forward from the prehistoric past towards the present. This is causing problems especially at Vanishing Point where time ends and reality is slowly being ripped apart. Now it is up to the Time Masters to find them which consists of Rip Hunter, Booster Gold, Green Lantern, and Superman.

The Time Masters have traveled to the Paleolithic era just as Bruce left for the Puritan era. They return to Vanishing Point to consult with the bioorganic archivist common in the 64th century who later reveals to be an older version of Bruce Wayne without his memories. They realize that Bruce has been turned into a Doomsday weapon by Darkseid aimed at the 21st century. The archivist steals Rip Hunter’s time bubble and leaves the Time Masters to experience the death of the universe. In the present with no news from the Time Masters, the Justice League prepares to defend themselves and stop the ‘rogue’ Batman.

After arriving during the Puritan era, Bruce assumes the identity of a witch-hunter Mordecai clashing with his ancestor Nathaniel Wayne. In the Puritan era Bruce fights a creature that came back with him from the Paleolithic era. He clashes with the creature in the water and time travels forward to 1718 and swims to shore where he is faced with Blackbeard who mistakes Bruce for the elusive black pirate. Bruce leads Blackbeard into Gotham’s catacombs where he enters the cave from the last page of Final Crisis where he made his marks. He survives by becoming the black pirate and allies himself with the descendants of Anthro. The issue ends as a couple of goons hire the bounty hunter Jonah Hex to stop an unknown lone ranger.

Grant Morrison is exploring the Batman mythology and origins in a deeper fashion than ever before. He writes much differently than other writers by writing backwards. Some elements of Batman RIP, Batman and Robin, Blackest Night, and Final Crisis are not revealed during their runs however sets the foundation for later stories and unlike the Lost series, Grant Morrison fulfills his obligations to the reader. Geoff Johns made a promise that the Black Lantern Batman of "Blackest Night" would be explained by Grant Morrison either during or shortly after the Return of Bruce Wayne series. He really makes you work by going back and rereading the structured stories and appreciating them from the very beginning.