Sunday, November 21, 2010

Batman: The Return #1. Plus, why Grant Morrison is so much better than GEOFF Johns.

Overall: This comic looks to be setting the stage for the future of the Grant Morrison led Bat-books. Unless you've been living under a rock, you probably know Bruce Wayne has come back from the past and has reclaimed the Batman mantle. As Bruce Wayne he has come out and publicly stated that Wayne Enterprises is backing Batman, and that Batman's operation was going to go global. As such, Bruce takes Damian(Robin)to Yemen so they can go after some crazed villain who has been kidnapping and torturing folks. The villain is a part of something called the Leviathan, and is basically bad news. Bruce and Damian run into some sort of twisted genetic experiment, and during the battle, Damian disobeys Bruce's orders and begins to poke his nose around the base. Damian runs into some bigwig in the Leviathan organization, but the villain escapes, and Bruce is quite upset at Damian's lack of obedience on the field. Back home, Bruce tells Dick Grayson that he wants him to remain as Batman, and that he was leaving Gotham(and Damian)in Dick's hands, while Bruce himself takes a closer look at the Leviathan. And that's basically what this comic was all about.

You know, I want to say something first. I make no bones about the fact that I can barely understand what the hell is going on in most of Grant Morrison's Bat-books. I mean he writes some crazy stuff. I'm STILL puzzling over the events of Return of Bruce Wayne #6... BUT, I want to give him a HUGE amount of credit for actually doing new stuff, using new characters and moving forward. I've been bitching about DC for a while now(pretty much since SAINT Barry Allen returned), and with good reason, since DC, thanks in LARGE part to GEOFF “1959” Johns and his refusal to move out of DC's Silver Age. I mean seriously, look at the comics GEOFF writes(Green Lantern, Flash, Brightest Day)and look at the characters in those books(Hal Jordan, SAINT Barry Allen, Aquaman, Martian Manhunter), and tell me DC hasn't tumbled into some sort of terrible timewarp! Before you know it, SAINT Barry will probably be dealing with that villainous Soviet, Joseph Stalin, while Hal will be battling the menace of Sputnik. Yeah, DC has gotten THAT bad. So yeah, I may complain that I can't understand most of what Grant writes, but at least he is trying new ideas. Batman Incorporated? I'm not sold on it, but at least it's a bold NEW move. Dick Grayson as a second Batman, Damian Wayne(a character who didn't even exist 8 years ago)as Robin, Tim Drake as Red Robin, these are all NEW ideas and NEW concepts. Do I always like what Grant does? Hell no, but I respect the hell out of him for trying NEW stuff. So you want to know what? Let GEOFF live in the past and play with his childhood favorites. Let him drag his corner of the DC Universe back into the Stone Age. Let him tell the SAME boring stories about the SAME boring characters ad nauseum. At least Grant Morrison is trying new stuff. And for that reason alone, from this moment forward, I will not score ANYTHING Grant Morrison does for DC lower than a 6. No matter how confusing/bizarre/insane his work is, at least he's trying NEW ideas. That's more than GEOFF is doing... Huh, that rant came out of left field... Um, yeah, as for this comic, it wasn't really worth the $5 cover price, but it might be worth grabbing if you want to see where Morrison plans on taking DC's Dark Knight.

Score: 6 1/2 out of 10.Look, Damian is disobeying orders again. Big surprise...


  1. Okay, I'm just gonna say it. You... are insane. Lol, there's no way about it. Say what you want about Geoff bringing back Barry, Hal, MM, and everyone else he's brought back. Brightest Day sucks. I'll be the first to admit it. And sure Grant tries new things, but come on now. A year ago Grant Morrison was having Dick Grayson and Damian fight a newly Red Haired, face full of acne, penis shape helmet wearing Jason Todd. Oh, and then Jason fought his "arch-nemesis" Pink Flamingo. What?! Meanwhile, Geoff Johns, who was your golden boy at the time even though he'd already brought Barry and Hal back, was writing Blackest Night, which you were LOVING. Hell, even Flash Rebirth #5, which you admitted was silly, you gave a 6.5/10, which is the same thing you gave Batman: The Return, haha.

    I get that you're tired of Geoff rehashing stuff, which I agree, because bringing back older heroes to replace current ones that were perfectly fine also annoys me. But to give anything Grant writes a free pass of at least a six is crazy, especially when you were just giving him 3.5's, 2.5's and most recently a 1 outta 10. But hey, that's my rant, Geoff may be bringing back old characters, but I'd rather he bring back old characters than ruin ones I love like Jason and Tim. (May I remind you Damian damn near beat Tim to death?)

  2. First off, dude, what are you still doing up?! :P You're gonna be TIRED come the morning! I'm actually in the middle of finishing off one of my papers for school, but when I saw this comment, I just had to take a break and respond! Right off the bat, I want to agree with you about the whole, "X is insane" thing. That's something we can both readily agree about. And yes, red-haired, acne scarred Jason Todd was an abomination. BUT, I think it's important to understand that while Grant's treatment of Jason sucked big time, he didn't do irreparable harm to Jason.

    Another writer(Judd Winick, anybody?)could take Jason and totally fix what Grant did to him in a heartbeat. Now take Connor Hawke, Kyle Rayner, Wally West, Ryan Choi or numerous other characters the Johns-effect has smashed into. ALL of those aforementioned characters have been devastated by GEOFF's work. Connor went from being the star of Green Arrow to... um... absolutely nothing. Kyle Rayner went from having his own series to co-starring in the second(or third)fiddle Green Lantern series, but that's better than poor Ryan Choi, who wound up dead! Or what about Wally West? You know, the guy who was the Flash for almost as many years as Barry Allen? Where is he now? Nowhere.

    So let me pose a simple question. If both GEOFF and Grant quit writing comic books tomorrow and you were named the editor in chief at DC, whose work could be undone the easiest? Johns has literally destroyed YEARS and YEARS of DC comics history. I mean JT, you could have skipped the end of the 1980's and ALL of the 1990's and not really missed anything of importance! The man has simply erased years of other writer's work! Hal Jordan went crazy? Nuh-uh, he was possessed. Barry Allen sacrificed his life in a battle against the Anti-Monitor? Nuh-uh, he was actually running around the universe for years. So I can forgive any of Grant's missteps. Yeah he screwed up with Jason Todd. Yes, he let a ten year old beat the hell out of a highly trained Tim Drake. Were those stupid moves? To me, yes they were. But those can be(and in the case of Tim and Damian, already has been)righted. But how do you right the wrong Johns has done to Kyle? Or Wally? You can't. And that's the difference, and that's the crux of my argument. Let's say in 5 years time Grant has left Batman. The next writer can easily come in and fix anything he(or she)perceived as wrong. But in 5 years, the writer who takes over the Flash is stuck with Barry Allen. There's no fixing that. The only way to fix that is to kill Barry(again)and then you'd have to go through editorial and all kinds of other headaches.

    So in the long run, who has done more to actively harm DC Comics? I can almost guarantee you that Johns' legacy will be one of stagnation, while Morrison's legacy is still being written. It's for THAT reason alone I'm going to openly favor Grant's work over GEOFF's. Hell, if Johns can play favorites and promote his favorite characters at the expense of all who came before him, I can sure as hell play favorites on my blog!

    The bottom line is that yes, I loved EVERYTHING Johns wrote before Blackest Night, and to this day much of Morrison's Batman work leaves me confounded. But I have to argue that Johns has done WAY more harm to characters that I care about(Wally West, Kyle Rayner)than Morrison has to Tim Drake and Jason Todd. And it's for that reason that I am firmly entrenched in the Grant Morrison corner now, and probably for the foreseeable future.


    I'm kidding.

    Carry on. ^_^

  4. Lol I was up watching Survivor Series, then showered and there we are. And I'd say Kyle, Connor and Wally are easily fixable, hell you could throw anyone one of them on the JLA or in Gen Lost and regain them credibility. Even Kyle has been rubbing shoulders with Sinestro recently in GLCorps, and having better storylines than Hal in my opinion. Also, I get that Geoff brought back Atom but you can't blame him for Atom getting killed, because he didn't kill off Choi, someone else did. Just like I can't blame Robinson for making Roy a junkie, I can blame Krul, but Robinson just took his arm.

    Also, how can you blame Geoff for Connor being demoted when Kevin Smith brought him back in the first place? Geoff had nothing to do with that, actually, I don't think Geoff had ever written for Green Arrow unless he appeared in another comic.

    I disagree, I'd say you can easily fix both. The whole thing that Grant's doing now is making multiple Batmen, Dick is Batman as well. So if there can be a way for both Dick and Bruce to shine as Batman, so should Wally, Connor, and Kyle. In Kyle's case he is, in Wally's case, it's not hard to add him to a team since he isn't doing any solo stuff, same with Connor Hawke. It may be easier to undo Grant's stuff but I don't think that makes it better, I think that makes it even less significant if it can be written off so easily. Say what you want about Geoff but he's trying new things, just with old characters, lol.

  5. Nah, if it was a real fight we ALL know what the outcome would be... Me running away screaming for help! :D

    Well, I gotta say JT, this is one of those rare occasions when we are firmly on opposing sides of the fence. I can grant you certain points(like the GA thing, although I'd STILL blame the Johns-effect for Ollie's return), but there's NO way I can say that Johns is doing better things for DC than Morrison is. You CAN'T make Kyle Rayner, Wally West or Ryan Choi the #1 Green Lantern, Flash or Atom as long as the Silver Age versions are still running around. It's really as simple as that. I'm not saying they don't have a place in the DCU(or can't have a place created for them), I'm saying they'll never be THE MAN in their respective corner of the DCU. As long as there is a Hal Jordan, Kyle Rayner will ALWAYS be second best. The same with all of the other 90's heroes.

    That's what I can respect about Morrison. Batman never died, he was shunted back in time. We knew that since FC #7. Bruce was ALWAYS coming back as Batman, Dick was just keeping the cowl warm for him. It's not like Bruce REALLY died(ala Hal or Barry), Dick became Batman for a few years, and then Morrison suddenly decided, “Let's bring Bruce back!” Damian replacing Tim was also fine, because the Robins have always grown into different characters once they came of age. Sure I hate Morrison's characterization of Damian, but I get why he's Robin. I don't, can't and won't get why Hal Jordan and the rest of the old man patrol are in the spots they're in. I just don't get it.

    Here's a comparison that I think you'll enjoy. Where would the WWE be if they didn't try anything new in the 90's, didn't build any new stars and just kept all of the stars of the 80's doing the same stale act? THAT'S what DC has done! They've taken(insert your favorite current wrestlers name here)and pushed him WAY down the card so they could bring back Hogan to do the Hulkamania 2010 tour, where he battles as many of his foes from the 80's as the WWE could find. You know I respect the hell out of you and your opinions, JT, but I just can't help but think Johns has done WAY more harm to DC in the long run than Morrison has done.

  6. Okay, I gotta gave you that. You comparing it to Hulkamania tour 2010 is what got me, because yeah, that would be super lame. I get ya dude... but I still stand firm by saying I'll take Geoff over Grant anyday, but that's just me.

    This is one of the first times we've been not on the same side of the fence, and I doubt it's the last, but you are a hell of a Master Debater. :P I couldn't resist.

  7. I figured you'd get a kick out of the Hulkamania 2010 tour, JT. :P

    Yeah, I've enjoyed our little debate. I mean I totally get why you're standing where you are, but yeah, this is one of those few times when we're definitely on opposing sides and neither one of us is gonna budge. Oh well, there's still plenty of things we can agree on, such as the supreme sucktitude of Cry for Justice! :D

  8. Sad thing is, they just had one a year ago. Hogan is so damn old he should never be near a ring again.

    Haha, and of course the insanity of Arsenal stroking a dead kitten. Man this has been a pretty weird year for comics.

  9. Amen brother! Hogan was too old to be in a ring like 5 years ago! What the hell was he doing in a ring a year ago?!

    "Man this has been a pretty weird year for comics." I'd suggest adding DC in front of "comics" because Marvel actually started making sense again this year. It's like DC decided since Marvel was straightening up, they should fall apart!