Yes, that’s right…one more BookBin review for the late, great 2013. I didn’t completely finish this one last year, but I finished the bulk of it…so it counts, dammit.
To be honest, I felt mostly lost the entire time that I was reading Batman R.I.P., written by Grant Morrison and illustrated by Tony S. Daniel (with cover art by the impeccable Alex Ross…who likes Batman’s eyes to be brown while the book artist makes them blue). I don’t really follow Batman in the comics. I know enough about him through comic book osmosis, the 1960s show, and the Tim Burton movies (well, at least the first one was awesome). The only thing the Christopher Nolan movies taught me was that I could really hate Batman under the right circumstances.
Nolan’s movies also taught me that I really don’t like The Joker being played as totally psychopathic and cruel. He needs to have some kind of softening humor to him. Some kind of Cesar Romero or Jack Nicholson joie de vivre. Without that whimsy, he’s just…like any other psychotic killer. Even Alan Moore’s Joker was more interesting than the way the character comes across now. And having him split his tongue with a straight razor (SPOILERZ) so that it looked like a serpent’s tongue? That was around the point when I kind of shut down on that character. I can’t help it. I grew up with Romero’s kooky, loveable Joker and “This town needs an enema!” Nicholson Joker. Besides, why does everything have to be so sick and twisted and dark anymore? Tongue-splitting Joker. Neck-breaking Superman. Spoilerz. What happened to having fun with these stories?
I get that Batman’s had a rough life. As rough as a life can be for a multimillionaire who never has to work an honest day in his entire life. I guess we should be thankful that he wants to do good and fight evil rather than jet off to Bora Bora every weekend with his latest fling. Still, lighten up, Brucie. Dark Knight is Dark. And mopey. Then again, this is called “Batman R.I.P.” Moping is allowed, I suppose, when everyone is always trying to kill you.
All in all, it was an entertaining read with some really fine artwork, even if: A) I felt like I was missing key information while reading parts of it; and B) It does go a bit off the rails here and there (although maybe those moments would have made more sense if I’d had all the pieces to the puzzle). Also, no one is ever going to believe that any of these characters is ever going to really die. People who don’t really die: Star Trek characters and comic book heroes. Whether they come back as half-Romulan hybrids or they’re rebooted back into existence, they’re always going to be around. Not even having a bridge dropped on him could stop Captain Kirk, in the books at least. SpoilerZ. So at no point did I ever believe that Batman was really going to die. Also, I have the pleasure of being in the now and knowing that Batman does, indeed, still live.
I also don’t really get the back story for all the different Robins. Yeah, I know that one of them is now Nightwing. And I think one of them is dead (okay, so some characters do die…but only the replaceable ones). Not that I really care all that much. Still…it feels like there’s something questionable going on in Gotham that they keep remanding all these boys over to Bruce Wayne’s care but not investigating when they “go missing.” Maybe that’s just me. I had to laugh at the appearance of original Batwoman, in her yellow onesie and her Bat lust for Bruce Wayne. Oh, Katy Kane. You so cray.
And now excuse me while I wash my brain out with peroxide for actually using the word “cray.”
Final Verdict: Even though I found the novel enjoyable enough to finish it, I guess it’s safe to say that I’m not much of a Batman comic fan. I still love the original series and I still love the Tim Burton movie. I also like the concept of the character, for the most part. However, I think I find others from the Bat Family more interesting than the Dark Knight. Still, I’ve got a “classic” Batman graphic novel in my collection that I need to finally read. I’ll let you know how that goes…