Saturday October 17, 2009 11:52 pm
DC Comics Review: Batman #691
Rating: *** 1/2*
A great issue by Judd Winick to close out his run on Batman. One of the problems I had with Judd’s first run on Batman was the inconsistency. He would write a very good issue of Batman and then a very bad one. In this short run, he started off with a great issue; followed by some mediocre ones and then this great issue.
We pick up where we left off with Dick Grayson as Batman returning to the Batcave after the alarms went off. He finds out that the intruder is none other than Two-Face himself and he’s now at his mercy. Two-Face has pumped Batman with some drugs and he’s hallucinating. He sees Two-Face in some weird Batman-like costume, but it turns out to be all in his head.
Two-Face is convinced that Dick is not the true Batman and he decides to beat him to death as punishment for impersonating him. This is a great scene here that I tip my hat off to Winick on. One of the things that I complained about when Dick was picked to take on the role of Batman was that you had to believe that this person is Batman. That same character that intimidated you when he walked into the room. I like what Grant Morrison is doing over in Batman and Robin, but when Judd had a smiling Dick Grayson as Batman, I started to feel that this will hurt the character of Dick Grayson as Batman, but this fight between Two-Face and Dick has made me a believer.
Two-Face is just whipping Dick’s butt here in these opening scenes. He’s basically trying to beat Dick into admitting that he’s not the real Batman and Dick is refusing to give in. This was a great scene as Dick is basically telling Two-Face what he can do with himself. However, Dick is still feeling the effects of the drugs Two-Face pumped him with and he can’t hold on much longer.
Lucky for Dick, Alfred is there and he shoots him with an antidote. Alfred is wearing a Batman mask to disguise himself from Two-Face. The antidote works and Batman goes after Two-Face. Batman proceeds to the beat the hell out of Two-Face telling him that he’s wrong - that he is Batman!
Two-Face lies unconscious after the beating and Dick thanks Alfred for the assistance and for shooting him with the antidote and not simply just shooting Two-Face instead to knock him out. This gave Dick a chance to “prove” to Harvey that he is Batman.
Two-face is on his way to prison, when the van transporting him to prison is ambushed by Black Mask and his gang of Arkham inmates. Black Mask gives Two-Face a choice, leave town or join him. Seeing that he’s in no position to fight back,Two-Face decides to leave town.
Dick and Alfred want to prevent another occurrence of someone sneaking into the Batcave so they decide to permanently shut down and clear everything out of the it. Dick decides to move the Robin uniform display case that is in the cave and discovers a secret compartment with a USB stick in it. On the USB is a file - the file is on the murder of Dick’s parents, The Flying Graysons. Dick is shocked and not sure what is the reason behind Bruce hiding this file and we end there.
A great moment here as Dick helps makes his case not simply to Two-Face, but to the reader that he is Batman. I’ve said before that if Dick appears weak, he will not fill the shoes of his predecessor, Bruce Wayne. I think he does a fine job here. As for the Grayson file? Very curious and a great cliffhanger that can tease the reader until the big payoff of why Bruce was hiding this file. We’re nine issues away from issue #700 so maybe this will be the story that this title uses to build up to 700.
Tony Daniel comes in next issue where he will explore the Black Mask and his gang war. Very happy with this issue; it’s too bad that the whole arc wasn’t as good. Looking forward to Daniel as I liked his writing on Battle for the Cowl and of course his artwork is amazing. As for this issue, pick this one up!
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