It’s been a week and I’m no closer to understanding the outcome of the highly-anticipated, widely-publicized finale to Batman R.I.P. Go ahead, call me stupid. I’ve heard and read all the theories. That’s the problem. I shouldn’t have to theorize. 

Grant Morrison pulled a lot from Batman’s long and varied past for this series (ComicMix has a great guide up) and I know a lot of that was lost on me but that’s not what’s so bothersome. In my opinion, R.I.P. was billed as it’s own story and something like that should have an explicit ending. Anyone who’s read it, knows it didn’t. We were left with vague explanations of who the villain actually was. Yes, Batman’s story continues after R.I.P. but wasn’t there supposed to be a real conclusion?

Something Morrison said earlier this year had me intrigued as to what amazing ending he’d pull out of his hat, “When we begin to suspect the identity of the villain, I think it’s the most, like I said the other day, it’s possibly the most shocking Batman revelation in 70 years.” If by shocking he meant, everyone will be shocked because they’ll be left empty-handed, then I could understand that statement. Of course, I have no idea what he really meant so now I’m left perplexed.
Message boards lit up the day R.I.P. came out. Some loved it, some hated it and a lot argued over the real meaning behind the ending. Newsarama actually has a poll up asking readers to rate R.I.P. Surprisingly (as of right now) most are voting three stars even if they didn’t get the ending. The most popular opinion seems to be the villain was really the Devil. Yes, THE Devil. 
I’ve actually been waiting for Morrison to speak about the series himself. I finally found an interview with him by Times Online from the UK:

Morrison hints that we’ve seen the last of Wayne. But what of Batman? “Well, do you really think a helicopter crash is enough to kill Batman?” he laughs. “The ultimate story of Batman is ongoing. Don’t forget he’s been around a while. He’s 70 next year. The story of these characters is never ending.”

Morrison goes on to say he thinks the status quo will eventually be restored but, “I don’t see the value in killing the character for the sake of it. I like exploring their mortality to see if they can survive in other ways. It gives them more depth.” 

So what about the villain in question that caused Batman to explore his own mortality? “I had a villain using all his resources to destroy Batman. Yet Batman always overcomes everything, including the ultimate evil,” says Morrison. That sounds like a definitive answer squarely in the Devil camp but then why not just say it flat out?
There is no question, however, that debate will rage on about this one for a while. So, it’s been a week. What’s your opinion of Batman R.I.P.?
You can also view and discuss this article at GEN.

16 Responses to “Batastrophe”

  1. Ugh, yeah I read the Newsarama interview the other day. What I don’t understand is why they couldn’t have said that from the get-go? I, and I’m sure other fans, get the fact that they have to set things up for collections but don’t advertise it as a complete story when it so obviously isn’t. And why they hell does the ending to RIP have to be in Final Crisis? I assume it’s a sales issue but still, what a raw deal for those who haven’t been reading FC from the beginning.

  2. GeekBoy says:

    I assume you're aware of this already? …

    And that kind of shit right there is the exact reason why I read so few DC & Marvel comics these days.

  3. Dhaise says:

    Mysteries nor schedules have never really been Grant’s strong points. He seems (to me at least) to excel at dropping hints (Animal Man),or utilizing tiny bits of silver age trivia (Doom Patrol)- but a whodunit? From the guy who explains his stories in interviews instead of the actual books?
    Had they scaled back the hype machine a wee bit, and let fans been ‘shocked’ or suprised by this turn of events,I think it might have been better recieved. Had Grant explained his story a bit more (We’ve been told the Batman was dead since halfway through 52, and yet, he’s everywhere outside his own books business as usual).

    I’ve been getting a “Knightsend meets Prodigal” vibe from the hype and I really did expect more. I enjoyed both of those stories and see no real need to revisit them when so much NEW stuff can come of this instead.

    And don’t remind me that they cancelled Manhunter :(

  4. I agree with your positive points Randy. I think you could be right about the pilot, I forgot about those guys. Annoying how one would just show up randomly at the end though. Sorta like Nightwing randomly (and finally) waking up while in Arkham.

  5. Randy says:

    Before commenting on your new theory, Jill, I want to take a moment to reflect on a couple positive things about Batman 681. Yes, I believe there are some.

    First, another awesome cover by Alex Ross. Actually, his covers throughout this series have been nothing less than spectacular. He lives in the Chicago area and I’ve actually had the pleasure of meeting him at cons and at the comic book shop he and I frequent. Yes, I shop at the same comic book shop that Alex Ross shops at.

    Another thing I liked, was (and some might disagree with me here, but I don’t care) the continuing factor of Batman always being prepared for any situation. Sure, the story was a downright confusing mess, but I still liked the fact that Batman revealed that he was onto it all along.

    As for your theory, I’m not sure but could the pilot have been one of those other Batmen from a few issues past? The three cops who were trained to be Batman’s replacement? That’s what I thought when I read it the first time. But on reading your theory, it’s as good as any.

    Well, the next issue is supposed to actually come out this week, so maybe we’ll get some answers.

    By the way, I actually turned 109 in October. I hit the big ol’ 110 next year. Or 40. Same diff!!


  6. Dan says:

    I wasn’t a fan of Morrison’s run on BATMAN, but I kept plugging along because I hoped it would all make sense (and be awesome) in the end. Well, in my opinion, it did neither (make sense or achieve awesomeness).

    Is Bruce dead? I have no idea. Is he mostly dead or just “dead”? Again, I am standing here clueless. And that’s the main problem I had with the whole R.I.P. storyline. Nothing was concrete. Nothing felt like it was real or actually happening. The Black Glove isn’t one super badass villain, but “five fingers”? Ugh. Is it wrong to expect a legitimate resolution from a comic about a hero who is referred to as “the World’s Greatest Detective”?

    Will I keep reading the Bat-books (what’s left of them)? Not at the moment. When everyone is back in the right cape, maybe. Until then, with the exception of GREEN LANTERN, I’m strictly a Marvel guy.

  7. So, while rereading the issue so I could review it for GEN I just thought of an interesting theory of my own. Let me know what you guys think. On the last few pages Batman isn’t wearing his cape or cowl. When Hurt is in the helicopter, the person piloting it is wearing a cape and cowl. I didn’t notice that the first time around. When you see this person Hurt yells, “No! Not like this!” which seemed to be in response to the helicopter being out of control but maybe it’s something else.

    Nightwing is holding a cape and cowl on the next page. Is it possible Nightwing and Batman switched places? It would mean Batman was the one piloting the helicopter (a stretch) and Nightwing was the one hanging on the outside (also a stretch since Hurt has seen Bruce’s face). It would play into the Batman is always prepared for anything rule but I could just be making things up. Plus I haven’t seen anyone mention the pilot in my many online readings. Anyone know what the deal was with the pilot? Was that just something I missed?

    Man this thing really has my brain working over-time!

  8. Dhaise says:

    And sorry guys, I love Grant’s writing too,but without a crystal ball I’m not going to jump out and say “his ending must have been changed”- Grant writes the occasional ‘story that misses’ at least as much as any other guy. It comes from taking risks,some don’t pan out.

    Xorn as Magneto was constantly cited by fans as proof that ‘editorial mucked with his glorious ending’ for years AFTER Grant told everybody ‘it was Magneto,it was always supposed to be Magneto’. Why would they change his precious batman ending when they’ve already changed and cancelled other books to accomodate it?

    Nightwing was in capable hands with Tomasi, now I have to read about Chump Grayson again from a writer who should know better? uuuuugh.

  9. sunandheir says:

    Morrison hints that we’ve seen the last of Wayne. But what of Batman? “Well, do you really think a helicopter crash is enough to kill Batman?”

    I could swear the storyline was called Batman R.I.P. not Bruce Wayne R.I.P.

    mea culpa.

  10. Wow thanks for all the comments guys. :)

    Thanks Eric, if you can borrow someone else’s I would just for the experience.

    @Dhaise, I agree. Just a regular old explosion? Over a body of water? I mean, come on! This is Batman we’re talking about. They even made the point in the last issue about how he’s ready for anything. I really agree with you about the Nightwing thing too.

    Thanks very much The Scale. The New Krypton stuff has been really good so far in my opinion but Action without Superman? Nah.

    Just so you all know, Randy is a ripe old 108 and still kickin’. Ain’t he something? :) But yeah, I’m still going to read Batman of course because he’s one of my favorites but this just let me down.

    @LordShazam, I wish that if the reason it got so strange at the end was because other people didn’t agree with what Morrison had come up with that they would admit that instead of trying to cover it up with other explanations. But who knows?

  11. LordShazam says:

    My feeling is that Morrison probably MEANT for Dr. Hurt to be Thomas Wayne but the idea got vetoed at the last minute.

    Shades of Captain Atom/Monarch in ARMAGEDDON 2001!

  12. Randy says:

    Well, I’ve read Batman RIP, as I’ve been reading Batman comics for…I’m not going to repeat. People who regularly read these comments probably know who I am by now and are probably sick of me saying it.

    But I digest.

    Batman RIP was not one of Morrison’s best, I’m sorry to say. I love his work. Animal Man, Doom Patrol, the BEST run of JLA ever, the list goes on. His Batman started out great. Until RIP. I got the past references to Silver Age stories that Morrison dropped. Dc definitely should have put out a TPB reprinting that stuff. The missed the boat there.

    I’m not one to get hung up on books being delayed and all, but I think the delays definitely hurt this story. When even a long-time reader can’t figure out what the @#$% is going on…something’s wrong.

    Am I still going to read Batman? Yeah, because I like all the characters involved. Even Jason Todd. I know that eventually Bruce Wayne will be Batman again. Just like eventually Superman will come back to Metropolis and Action Comics.

    Don’t forget, I lived through JL Detroit, Reign of the Supermen, Az-Bats and Action Comics Weekly first-hand.

    The only thing constant in comics is change.

  13. The Scale says:

    Good post. It’s nice to find people who can actually express opinions thoughtfully.

    I read the trades, so I’m afraid I’m behind on all these events. But I do check the daily news and the monthly solicitations, and they just leave me more and more confused. Action Comics without Superman? New Krypton? All these cancellations? It just makes me wonder if DC is trying to tighten its belt during the economic crisis. Drop Blue Beetle and Manhunter, focus more on the Big Three.

  14. Dhaise says:

    I’m right there with you. I found R.I.P. to be entertaining enough to warrant flipthroughs, but there was so much left open to interpretation that none of the stuff revealed really resonated.

    *If Bruce Wayne was really ‘taken out of the equation’ according to the fruit-suit Batman, why was he so fixated on finding Jezabel jet?

    * “An exploding helicopter over the river..bruce MUST be dead!”- Is this Alfred, Tim and Dick’s first night on the job?

    *Speaking of Dick..he spent the entire series drugged and awaiting a lobotomy only to suddenly spring into action and overturn his captors with little difficulty? what was the point of waiting,exactly..?

    Just meh all around. And that’s before trying to figure out how THIS story ties into whatever Final Crisis standalone spin off one shot mini series graphic novel Grant has proudly announced will be affected by the AMAZING events of R.I.P.

  15. Eric says:

    While I haven’t read any of the Batman: R.I.P. and perhaps that precludes me from having a definitive opinion, I have to say from your review that “Batastrophe” sounds like an accurate description.

    I love Da Bats, don’t get me wrong.

    However, I can’t give reason to part with my funds by way of Morrison. *blek*

    I’ll pass.

    Good review and details.