Batman and Robin #10

As it says in the solicits, “The Return of Bruce Wayne starts here!”.  And boy, does it.

I’ve not read all of Morrison’s previous run on Batman, but I’ve read enough of the trades, and RIP itself to appreciate exactly how good this issue is.   Here we start to see Morrison’s masterplan unfurling, bringing together various plot threads from throughout his run.   We also get some interesting tidbits on Bruce’s family history that sets up the Return of Bruce Wayne series itself to be very interesting, as the question of how involved Bruce actually was in his own family history is raised.

There’s also some tantalising hints about Doctor Hurt, who terrorised Bruce throughout Batman RIP and who claimed to be Thomas Wayne, as we learn that there was a black sheep in the Wayne family, also called Thomas Wayne, who claimed to have summoned a demon.  Again, this is something I strongly suspect will feature in the Return of Bruce Wayne mini-series.  I’d be surprised if a time-lost Bruce didn’t stumble across Thomas, perhaps setting in motion Doctor Hurt’s plan against him in RIP.

It was really nice to see Dick, Damian and Alfred all working together to try and unravel the mystery of Bruce’s disappearance, looking for clues Bruce may have left throughout history in Wayne Manor and the Batcave.  The only slightly strange note here is that everyone suddenly knows that Bruce is lost in time thanks to the Omega Effect.  Its not actually clear when anyone found this out.  Granted Tim found the cave painting Bruce left behind, but that’s still a heck of a logical jump.

Damian’s development also continues to be a real draw in the series.  Here we get to see that he’s actually developed a fondness for Grayson, and his new role as Robin, as he questions what will happen to him once Bruce is back as Batman.  Dick’s ill-timed joke about the situation only makes things worse, as he doesn’t realise how much impact taking Damian under his wing has actually had on the boy.  Things only getting worse when Damian realises he’s been programmed by Talia to kill Dick, as Talia’s patience with Damian’s stint as Robin is at an end.    You really feel for what Damian’s going through, and its a testament to what an interesting and enjoyable character Morrison’s created.

And throughout the book, with all this going on, we also have the mystery of Oberon Sexton.  Who Dick turned to for information about Doctor Hurt and the Black Hand, and who later turns up at Wayne Manor in time to keep Damian safe from a group about to attack.  Who he actually is is yet another mystery in this series.   This issue would certainly make me wonder if he’s actually Bruce (and if so, pairing him and Damian in the next issue should be interesting), but I also can’t help but wonder if that’s not a bit obvious for Grant Morrison.

As you can tell, there’s a heck of a lot going on in this single issue.  Its a real testament to the writing that none of this comes across as rushed, and all starts to tie together the last few years of Batman books so beautifully.  I’ve got high expectations for the rest of this story now, and I can’t wait for the Return of Bruce Wayne, even if I do think that DC could get another year out of Dick and Damian as Batman and Robin easily.  And that’s all down to the quality of the story being told here.

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4 thoughts on “Batman and Robin #10

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  1. In a few issues back, due to some comments given to Dick from Jason Todd, Grayson took the ‘body’ of Bruce Wayne that Superman held in Final Crisis to a lazarus pit to ressurect Batman. The result was a crazed Batman with some semblence of Bruce’s memories who attacked them. We then had a flashback sequence from the middle of Final Crisis where DeSaad was telling Darkseid that he didn’t know why Bruce Wayne was resisting the torture device so strongly, since all of the clones programmed with his memories gave in. Darkseid told him to dispose of all but one of the bodies, saying a dead duplicate of Bruce Wayne could be useful for him.

    So that is who Superman held in his arms, who Nekron used to spark an emotional tether (it had his memories and looked the part after all) and who attacked Dick and Damien once the lazarus pit did it’s stuff. They quickly realised this wasn’t Bruce, at first believing it to be a temporary madness from the pit, leading Dick to know Tim was correct and that Bruce must somewhere be alive.

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  2. What I didn’t get though, was Dick accurately describes Bruce’s situation, trapped in time via the Omega Sanction. When did the DC heroes figure out that side of things?

    Given they can deduce from the cave painting that he’s in the past, and was last seen fighting Darkseid, they could guess that’s what happened to him, but it might’ve been nice having a scene with an better explanation of how they figured it out.

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  3. Indeed, it did seem like an offscreen revelation. Quite a jump from ‘he must be alive’ to ‘this is exactly what happened’. A throwaway comment about Orion mentioning it once could have resolved the problem. Anything really.

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  4. Agreed. It’d be a simple matter to present it more as “this is our current theory” (which so happens to be right), rather than “this is definitely what happened to him”. I’d wondered if there’d been an issue of JLA or something I’d not heard about that covered it, but near as I can tell, nope.

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