Grant Morrison’s Batman run is finally going to be concluded in the next four issues after this. With it comes the end of one of the characters that came up during his run: Damian Wayne.
I’d feel the need to cover up that major spoiler if it wasn’t on the cover itself. The death itself is glorious; Damian goes out in a blaze of glory, addresses his previous partners against crime, and isn’t broken by a mere knee to the spine. Grant Morrison gave a great ending to one of the favorite Robins.
Chris Burnham’s art was also exceptional this issue. In previous issues, his drawings always looked slightly off as if he was meeting Morrison halfway with a Frank Quitely style that was also Chris’ own. In this iteration, Burnham perfected his own art a bit more.
The strangest part about this is that while Death of the Family, the major event that spanned several Batman titles, changed absolutely nothing, Batman Incorporated changed everything else. At this point I was unsure whether or not Batman Incorporated was even considered canon as far as the other titles were concerned; Morrison did after all manage to keep Stephanie Brown, the third Batgirl/fourth Robin/fun character that is hated by DC higher ups, in a post-New52 graphic novel release. The argument is that it would’ve taken too much time to redo (which is accurate). But Batman Incorporated has been completely separate from the Court of Owls and Death Of The Family which have infected Batwoman, Batgirl, Batman and Robin, and even Batwing and Red Hood and the Outlaws (both titles have no business with Gotham-centric dealings, especially Batwing). One title has changed everything for all of the other Bat-books. It’s clear who DC favors for controlling editorial.
While this entire story does sound like the grimmest of dark comics, it’s not. Morrison’s run has been a mix-up of the twisted horrors that modern Batman readers eat up while still having elements of the Adam West Batman. Think of a more adult-oriented Batman: Brave and the Bold with a long over-arching story line. While Damian is fighting a freakish clone of himself, Batman is stuck in a safe, tied by locks, and underwater. The complaints of the run have been that Batman is too much of a Bat-God, but it’s more of a way to justify all the versions of Bruce Wayne being canon. It also makes a great read for those who enjoy fun.
This isn’t the best jumping in point, but if you’re a fan of Damian: pick this one issue up. It’s a much better death than that of Jason Todd. Plus, he’ll probably be back either in a few issues or in Morrison’s next work Multiversity. If you’d rather start from the beginning for this story, you’ll have about $100+ worth of graphic novels to buy but it’ll be worth it. In the end, this issue is a great test to see if you’d like Morrison’s Batman.