Friday, October 29, 2010

Bruce Wayne: The Road Home: Ra's Al Ghul #1

Overall: And here we are, at the conclusion of the Bruce Wayne: Road Home storyline. And what better way to end things than with a confrontation between Bruce and the malevolent Ra's Al Ghul? But I'm getting a bit ahead of myself, let me take a step backwards. This issue begins where the Oracle one-shot left off, with the White Ghost chasing after Vicki Vale. The Insider(Bruce Wayne), teleports to the scene(thanks to JLA Watchtower technology)and attacks the Ghost. While Bruce is trying to hold the Ghost at bay, Vale runs smack-dab into some corrupt cops, who are looking to kill her for Ra's. Vale manages to escape thanks to Bruce(he's a very busy man here!)and gets into a taxi with the hopes she can outrun Ra's reach. Unfortunately Vicki doesn't realize that there is no outrunning Ra's Al Ghul, and some sanitation workers plow their truck into the taxi carrying Vicki, knocking out the driver and battering Vale. Vicki climbs out of the totaled car and realizes that she is definitely going to die at the hands of Ra's, so before she is killed she should head back to her apartment to destroy all of her evidence linking Bruce Wayne to Batman. Upon arriving, she discovers Ra's himself standing in her apartment... D'OH!!! While this is going on, Bruce and the Ghost are still fighting their duel, with Bruce eventually getting the upper-hand. The Ghost lets Bruce know where Ra's is, and he flies towards Vale's apartment. Before being skewered by Ra's, Vicki wants to know why Ra's would want to kill her considering he is one of Bruce's worst enemies, and Ra's simply responds that Vicki wasn't worthy of ending the accomplishments of the Batman. With that, Bruce flies in the room and unmasks before Ra's and Vicki, telling Ra's that Vicki shouldn't be killed for doing her job as a reporter, and that quite frankly, this was none of Ra's business. Ra's decides to defer to Bruce's wishes and leaves. Vicki decides to destroy all of her evidence, since she now realizes just how important Batman is to all of Gotham, and that her exposé would have destroyed Bruce's ability to do good in the city. This issue concludes with Vicki and Bruce watching all of Vicki's hard work burn, with Bruce seemingly ready to let Vicki into the Bat-family.

Whew, that write-up took longer than I expected it to... Hmm, where to start? First off, let's start with Ra's, since I am an unabashed fan of the great Ra's Al Ghul. I thought his role in this was very well done, and that he was portrayed perfectly. Ra's saw Vicki as an unworthy foe for the Batman, and as such decided she needed to be destroyed, since only Ra's himself was worthy to take down “The Detective”. When Bruce told Ra's that Vicki was his own business and not Ra's, Ra's left, since in his own warped way, Ra's was only trying to help his most respected foe. So yeah, the stuff with Ra's was awesome, and I'll readily admit that I marked out a bit when Ra's and Bruce met. Their meeting was extremely well done. As for the main story with Vicki, I'm undecided as to how I feel. In a way I felt that Vicki needed to die to end this storyline since she knew too much. While she still knows too much, it seems she will become a member of Batman's network, which is where my conflicted feelings come into things... First off, Vicki being around and being aware of the Bruce/Batman connection had better not hamper any potential romance between Bruce and Catwoman... That would upset me. A lot. I also don't see the reason for Vicki becoming a member of the Bat network period. What exactly does she bring to the table that the other members don't already provide? As far as I can tell, nothing. As for Bruce, he seems to be a bit kinder and gentler after his ordeals in the Return of Bruce Wayne mini-series and these Road Home books. No longer does he refer to his network members as allies, now he calls them friends. This new, friendly Bruce Wayne may take a bit of getting used to... But all in all, these Road Home books have been everything the Return mini-series hasn't been, that being good! I've enjoyed all 8 of the Road Home books, and would definitely recommend any and all of them.

Score: 8 out of 10.Ra's words to Bruce here were just perfect.

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