Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Batman #49 Review and *SPOILERS*



Brain Dead Batman


Written By: Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV
Art By: Yanick Paquette, Nathan Fairbairn, Steve Wands
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: February 10, 2016

*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*

It's been a long, hard road in getting Bruce Wayne to become Batman again, what with Jim Gordon taking the mantle of the Bat and Bruce simply digging his life with Julie Madison and his job working with children.  It's weird, as much as I want to get the Batman we all know and love back in action, I have to admit that I kind of feel sorry for Bruce as well because the life he's living now, without the memories of his parents death and what he previously did as the Dark Knight is a pretty awesome way to end his story and allow him to ride off into the sunset, all "and they lived happily ever after".  That might have been Bruce's end, but because people love the original Batman and that original Batman has the ability to print money for DC, Bruce was forced to start remembering his past because of Mr. Bloom's attacks on the city, his interactions with who I'm now claiming is the smartest man alive Duke Thomas and lastly because of his little powwow with the dionesium healed Joker in the last issue, Bruce now knows who he is and has to find a way to become The Batman once again and hopefully save the city in the process.  Let's jump into this issue and see if Bruce is able to throw his happy life away for the sake of others or if he's doomed to live that happy life, knowing that he previously could have made a difference............. Yeah, it's not too hard to imagine which of those options will go down.  Let's check it out.

Explain It!:

Our issue begins right where we left off previously, with Bruce demanding that Alfred show him "the cave".  Well, it doesn't exactly pick up where we left off because this issue is littered with strange scenes of Batman doing strange things, like working with a Council of Owls, Bruce Wayne being Mayor, Julie and him being married with a child, etc, etc.  This really threw me off at first, but while I tried to analyze each panel thinking that I was missing something, the answer showed up like it usually does whenever I try to get fancy and try to find something hidden............ all I had to do was keep reading.  So yeah, Alfred reluctantly showed Bruce the entrance to the cave, after a lot of pleading from him for Bruce to just let it go and we find out that the device that we saw Alfred destroy in one panel a couple of issues ago, which we saw in action during Detective Comics #27's anniversary spectacular, where Scott Snyder showed us how Batman intended on always providing the world with a Batman, through a machine that cloned him and then stuck all the knowledge of Batman into the clone's head........... Yeah, this machine has been hanging out for awhile, but I figured since Alfred went and destroyed it that that would be it and we'd have to move on to other means of getting Bruce back in the cowl............. but Alfred only destroyed the hard drive containing the mind of Batman and what kind of Batman would we have if he didn't have a backup?........... a pretty lousy one, that's what.  


So yeah, even though Alfred keeps saying that all the simulations that Batman ran on the machine ended up killing the subject because the mind of Batman is apparently too much for anyone, even a blank clone, Bruce is all about filling his head up with detective, bat shark repellent nonsense........ even if death is a possibility.  It's during Bruce's time in the machine that we find out that all this weird Batman stuff we keep seeing in this issue is do the machine trying to force the memories of Batman onto Bruce's new mind and the result is a history that comes together all wrong....... which is definitely a failure and Alfred wants to do the responsible thing and shut it down before it causes brain death, but Bruce isn't about to stop now and comes up with the idea that Batman never tried to run the program after brain death and in order for Batman to live, Bruce Wayne must die.  It's a really cool concept and pokes at your emotions a bit............ but then you remember that this idea is nonsense because he's essentially making his mind a blank slate in order for the Batman memories to imprint properly and we already spent half the issue being reminded over and over again that the simulations that were meant to be cloned blank slates all died............. So yeah, this plan doesn't seem very sound.


In the end, things get really convenient when Alfred tries to talk Bruce out of this plan by laying a guilt trip on him by saying that if he does this, he's essentially Joe Chill pulling the trigger all over again and because it's convenient to save Alfred from having to endure this trauma and because we need someone to go through will killing Bruce to make Batman, we have Julie Madison show up out of nowhere because apparently she's always known that Bruce was Batman and since the city needs it's hero again, she's willing to throw what her and this new incarnation of Bruce have away to save the day.  As our issue closes, Bruce is left brain dead before they turn the power of the machine up to full blast, just jackhammering the Caped Crusader into Bruce's blank mind and we're left with the brooding look of our hero telling Alfred and Julie that it's time to go to work.


That's it for this issue of Batman and while I don't think that anyone could tell you that this wasn't an enjoyable issue, there were certain aspects of the story that just didn't seem to jive, like Bruce's final plan to become Batman kind of went against everything that was set up in the beginning of the issue.  We're led to believe that Batman would have had clones of himself to throw his mind into and I'm pretty sure that it's safe to say that these clones were meant to be blank slates, but simulation after simulation showed that these subjects would have died, but Bruce's plan to become Batman again entailed that he become brain dead as well, giving him that blank slate status.  I don't know if the machine works on purely symbolic gestures, where Bruce Wayne has to die in order for Batman to live, but it just didn't seem to make much sense to me in the end............ as much as a memory beam machine could make sense anyway.  Besides for that though and the very convenient twist that Julie Madison knew that Bruce was Batman all along and showed up right at the perfect moment, I dug the story and how this teased machine finally came into the plot to get us our hero back.  The weird false memories were also a nice touch and actually made the book feel a bit Morrison-y with their inclusion due to them showing up out of nowhere and portraying something that just felt completely off.......... that's not a jab, it's just how i picture Grant Morrison's storytelling.  While I normally talk about the art section of this book very briefly due to Greg Capullo and the rest of the art team having a very consistent and awesome style, for this issue we get Yanick Paquette on art duties and Nathan Fairbairn on colors and even though they're not what we're used to from this title, they really did an excellent job in telling this story visually and I would love to see them paired up on more things in the future because I definitely had a good time with the visuals of this book and they even kept a similar feel that we expect from this title.  So yeah, not everything is perfect to me with this story, but it's definitely worth reading.

Bits and Pieces:

Bruce is all about being Batman again in this issue and with that we get Scott Snyder's "Machine" that was shown during Detective Comics #27 and what it has to do with our former hero regaining his former glory.  This is a strange, but fun issue that shows how determined Bruce is in doing what needs to be done, even in his memory impaired state and while things aren't perfect to me with it's execution, it's pretty awesome seeing a hero reborn.  One thing going in that might leave people a little put off is that we have a different art team on this issue, but with their devotion to keeping this book feeling like it has since the New 52, we end up with a really good looking issue.

7.8/10
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22 comments:

  1. I know I have terrible taste in comics, but this was kinda underwhelming. For me I think probably around a 6.5/10.

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    1. It's funny you say that because I had to sit back for a bit and reread this book because I wasn't sure how I felt about it. While I'm all about getting Bruce back in the saddle and I love that we get to see "The Machine" that's been teased for a couple of years now in action, there was a lot of saying the same things over and over again and some inconsistencies with the plan to get Batman back. Ultimately, I think I went from what I originally considered a 7/10 book to 7.8 due to Bruce and Alfred's interactions and the amount of emotion that was involved from what these characters were doing.......... Plus, I really appreciated this new art team for trying to keep the feel of the book.

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    2. Just read it again and I might bump it up a bit as well! Art is great but for the return of Bruce Wayne to Batman, idk it wasn't as awesome as I would like it to be.

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  2. Does this mean no more Robutt-Batman?? Noticed Julie even has tats on her forearms, I think I love her more now!

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    1. Soon she'll get her own book. Suicide Girl: Julie Madison

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    2. HAHA I HATE HER

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  3. I missed the part where they put the double A batteries in the machine to make it work.

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    1. voiced activated, with backed up files called the Alfred Protocols.

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  4. Glad Batmans back for sure. Poor Gordon left hanging another month though.

    Do you think we find out who Bloom actually is next issue? Or are we all just going to forget about this man behind the curtain? Since Snyders run is ending and he loves to revisit things I get the feeling we'll see some sort of closure/answers or death for Bloom ... ah well a boy can at least dream.

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  5. I think I hate everything this issue says about Bruce and Batman.
    i can't even put it into words #but....bruce has to die to become batman?? #because batman and bruce are so separate he can never be happy? #and his only way of being happy involves having babies with julie and not his already existing family??? #alfred you done fucked up #this is all fucked up #also this whole downloading his entire consciousness into a clone machine #that's not science

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    1. "Bruce" died in crime alley as a child, the day that "Batman" was born. So yes, they are completely separate people. And now that "Bruce" knows that he was "Batman" he could never be truly happy anyways. I actually thought it was pretty powerful that Bruce was willing to sacrifice himself in order to save the city. (But the whole clone machine thing was weak as fuck)

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    2. He is still our Bruce or he is only batman now ?

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  6. Bruce is not happy with Damian? are Damian and his adoptive children not his family? julie makes him happy and not his children ?

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  7. I've read it once and all else aside, I may have cheered like a fucking tool at that last page.

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  8. They are batmans family id even say damian doesnt see bruce as his father either way all those family ties come from and loaded with trauma what you kept seeing is bruce without that trauma dressing up as "batman" Bruce sees batman as a hero while batman sees himself as just doing what he must

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    1. Your right the relationship between Batman and the robins is that of Father and Son. But there are other things in there relationships that stand out more.

      Dick wasn't a Son to Bruce first. He was the Sidkick. In essence He been Bruce's best "Partner". Than I'd say they view each other as Father and Son.

      Jason view Bruce as his Father first Than his Teacher, than his Partner. While Bruce Views Jason as his Student than his Partner, Than his Son. And this why Jason takes his Death by Joker so serious, because of the father first mentality. A father should Want to avenge his son. And as Bruce's Son, Jason can't understand Bruce's logic to not put family above morality.

      Tim relationship with Bruce is that of a "Master and Protoge". Than a Partner, than a son.

      Damian's Relationship is that of A Legit Heir to the throne, on both sides of his family, and this is why he is a self entitled prick. Heir to head of the League of Assasins & Heir to the Mantle of the batman. But that is not how Bruce views it. Damian is his son but he Doesn't know how to be a father first, so he treats him like all the other robins. There relationship is that of a Student and Teacher, Than as a Partner, Than a Son & Father.

      What you can take away from this that Bruce is quite possibly the best superhero on the planet, but a horrible father. Because he does In fact prioritizes his family. But what do you expect from a man who dresses in costume every night, he's going to have some psychological problems, and in this case the way he deals with family.

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    2. The concern that Bruce shows for Damian is much more assertive than changing his name. At the end of the first New 52 Batman & Robin arc, Damian ends up being tortured by the villain (whose name is Nobody HAAH). When Bruce shows up to rescue Damian like several Robins of the past, the fight that ensues is more than just a hero saving his sidekick. It is a father taking vengeance out on the man that hurt his son. There is a moment in which Batman, having gotten the upper hand in battle, is going to kill the villain by dunking him in a vat of acid but stops the moment he sees Damian staring at him. In that moment, his bloodlust eases and he pulls back from the edge of killing. Bruce Wayne knows that he has to set the standard for Damian by following his own rules and not kill the man that tortured his son.

      Readers have seen Batman’s fatherly vengeance before in A Death in the Family when Jason Todd was murdered by the Joker. Batman proceeds to hunt him down and is convinced that only one of them was going to survive that encounter (though we all know they both do). What has been the consistent factor that pushes Batman to the edge of killing is the reaction to one of his son’s mistreatment. But unlike the prior Robins who were all approximately in their mid-to-late teens, Damian is TEN. He is literally a child. Literally a “boy wonder.” I believe that Batman’s overly violent reaction to Damian’s mistreatment shows the awareness of Damian’s, for lack of a better word, innocence. Writer Peter Tomasi and artist Patrick Gleason create a scene that shows Damian nearly broken from the torture. He is small and bleeding and in need of immediate medical attention. Batman sees his son in this state and if not for Damian’s presence, Batman would have given into his own dark urge for bloody vengeance.

      In addition to being young, Damian has special needs that Bruce has to aid in restraining. The need or desire to kill. This task is a work in progress as Damian kills Nobody to protect them all from Nobody’s threat of returning. Damian could very well be a psychopathic killer if not for the intervention of Dick Grayson and Bruce Wayne.

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  9. So for as wacky mad science out of character nutso as this is, my REAL problem with the whole thing is...What about Damian? Was Alfred just like "You know what, I know you like your son and all...buuuuut"?

    Snyder is so narrowly focused on HIS idea of Batman that he willfully ignores any relationships and continuity that doesn't suit him. He's so excited about what he can get away with based on his sales (which I'm convinced are 80% due to the art/character) that he never considers what he SHOULD do.

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  10. The end did feel forced, but I have to admit that I did get pumped with that last panel on the final page. I am looking forward to the next issue.

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  11. Dick, Jason, and Tim all started out as boys in need. They all became partners and eventually they would become Bruce’s sons. Damian has been Bruce’s son since the moment he was introduced. He enters the batcave a Wayne and a stranger, but always a son. Bruce has made mistakes while raising all of his Robins, especially in regards to Jason Todd. With all of the mistakes that Jason caused and endured it would be easy to see Damian following the same path. It seems that Bruce is trying harder with Damian than he ever did with Jason perhaps because Damian is his biological son but what is more likely is that Bruce rarely makes the same mistake twice. He is more patient and understanding. It seems that Bruce Wayne is doing things right with Damian, having learned from his mistakes.

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  12. http://static.comicvine.com/uploads/scale_super/12/121048/2532390-nobody2.jpg

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  13. . Not only his he unleashing his anger onto Morgan, he rips his mask of, symbolizing any number of things. Read it how you want. I see it as Bruce taking ownership of his actions; not hiding behind the cowl, this is 100% Bruce Wayne. In an instant however, you see his remember the promises he made to raise Damian correctly, and his face immediately softens. It is a very powerful scene, and one of the best in the New 52 (yeah, I’ll say it).
    Bruce Wayne is Damians Dad not Batman.Bruce almost kill Morgan .

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