3 out of 5
Man, Grant’s initial outing on Batman is – I’ll say it again – such a mess. He forces us through a cheeky take on golden / silver / dark age comic stylings, interrupted by an unrelated arc from a different creative team, then jumps to the future in a way that seems more like a wrap-up issue than something to come in the midst of a run, and then after finally getting steady footing on what seems like the start of a proper story… we have two freaking crossover issues with the (should be more related but isn’t) ‘Resurrection of Ra’s al Ghul’ storyline. And this is the worst type of crossover, in which the story takes place fully in the main titles – as opposed to having its own series, and just cameoing events in related titles – meaning that, as we have here, your entire story has to be hijacked for two months to make room for someone else’s story.
Evaluated strictly on those terms, these books suck.
But… if we allow that Grant’s Bats has been pretty herky-jerky those whole way through up to this point, that we divert to a solo Bat-venture in which he assists Ra’s – in a rotting body – to topple the Ra’s-replacer ‘Sensei’, isn’t so tonally out of line: Grant still tries to inject some of the themes he’s been working with – left field references, pretenders to the throne, fate – and manages to deliver some thrills worthy of an average comic book read. And had this not been a crossover, and not tried to send you to issue of Robin to Find Out What Happens Next, it likely could’ve been actually pretty strong. Even with that, I’ll credit these books as being intriguing enough on their own to maybe interest me in actually crossing over to another book that Find Out… except that I did that at the time, and recall the storyline being a lotta trash, which didn’t help my opinion of Morrison’s additions to said storyline.
So we land in the middle: taken on their own terms, these aren’t bad books, just unfortunate editorial b.s. of how crossovers are handled, interrupting our main Bat tale yet again.