Following DC’s storyline, Final Crisis, Batman/Bruce Wayne, was flung backwards in time, although he had appeared to have died. Right. Dick Grayson is currently seeing to the Batman duties. This is remarkably similar to the climax of Marvel Comics Civil War storyline which ended with the apparent murder of Captain America/Steve Rogers. Oh, and Steve Rogers’ first partner, James Buchanan ‘Bucky’ Barnes is currently Captain America. If you’re keeping score at home, Marvel was about one year ahead of DC with this storyline.
In issue one, Batman wakes up in a cave man era and seems to have little understanding of who he is or how he got there. Nothing interesting happens. In issue two, Batman has somehow moved forward in time and is now in colonial Gotham. Interesting things happen, but nothing that makes me really understand what’s going on here with the time traveling or where this is going. In issue 3, Wayne has jumped forward again, and this time, he has to deal with pirates. The story is, in its loose way, tying plot elements together from the monthly Batman titles, but it’s not doing a great job. In issue four, Batman is a cowboy, righting wrongs and taking down the bad guys… until he gets shot at the end of the issue and time jumps forward again to something closer to the present.
So the story is all over the place, and if you aren’t reading all of the batman monthly titles, you’ll have no idea what’s going on; and even if you do, it’s still pretty hard to follow. And if you also didn’t read Final Crisis, you’re screwed. You can’t just pick up this 6 issue limited series and read it for what it is, so I don’t see why they just didn’t plug this story into their other millions of monthly Batman titles.
Oh, and the title: Batman: the return of Bruce Wayne. That’s a terrible title. Here’s a little tip from me to you; if you want to inject some drama into your writing, don’t title your story what happens at the end! I can’t emphasis that enough. Kind of like last year’s Captain America Reborn limited series… pretty sure he was going to be reborn at the end.
Oh, and speaking of Captain America Reborn, it’s very similar to Batman: the return of Bruce Wayne, accept Cap was traveling through time in his own life rather than the history of time. Still, pretty much the same idea, and it sucked less, although the ending was lame, just as I’ m sure the end of Batman: the return of Bruce Wayne will be. But then, at least getting to the last issue of Captain America Reborn was kinda fun. Batman: the return of Bruce Wayne is just a big mess.
However, I am interested to see the covers of Batman: the return of Bruce Wayne issues 5 and 6 – what will they have him dress up as next? A sailor? An Indian? Are they trying to put together an all Batman Village People review? Maybe when Bruce Wayne finally returns to the present, he won’t resume being Batman, but will instead take the mysterious journey into musical theater.
If you missed the first 4 issues of Batman: the return of Bruce Wayne, don’t worry about it. It sucks. And don’t worry, I’m sure it’ll be available in graphic novel format by Christmas.