Batman: Last Rites (#682 – 683) – Grant Morrison

4 out of 5

I’m not quite positive when in Batman’s timeline Last Rites is meant to take place – it’s some time after Final Crisis began, but before his timey-wimey return in the Return of Bruce Wayne mini-series – but that doesn’t really matter: it’s a wonderful cap to Grant’s run on Batman (y’know, before that run would extend through the aforementioned Bruce Wayne series, and Batman and Robin, and Batman, Inc.), using a mind control gimmick to essentially summarize all of Bats’ history, up through Morrison’s own stuff.  Instead of this seeming self congratulatory – since all the issues preceding this have been an attempt to make years of comics weirdness canon – it feels celebratory: witness how great and multi-faceted this character is, and yeah, accept that all of this stuff happened during some decade or another.

Artist Lee Garbett is a little too blocky and loose to properly illustrate some of the tighter action when the panel grid goes smaller than four or six, but I’m glad he worked on this over Tony Daniel, who would’ve been too overwrought to pull it off with the same kind of zippiness.

Sort of an epilogue, sort of a summary, sort of a reminder of how badass wild Batman is and can be.  (And will be, forever!, so suggests the final page…)