Sunday, January 4, 2009

Batman 671

Man, maybe it's because I'm not reading the other titles in the crossover, but this issue wasn't very good at all. If someone whited out the credits, I would never guess that Morrison wrote this. It's so... pedestrian. Also, Daniel, whose art is supposed to carry this action-heavy issue, turns in the muddiest, scratchiest pencils of his entire Batman run. Even ignoring the fact that people in the foreground are drawn with the same level of detail one expects of people in the background, Daniel also treats us to razor elbow on page 9, mysterious flying garlic cloves on page 14, levitating depthless boot soles on page 16, and several panels of unintentional shadow moustache throughout the ish.

Page 1: "They say all things of this world are impermanent," the Sensei possibly predicts Batman's departure from his own title, but at the very least forecasts his own demise at the end of the issue

Page 2: As far as I know, the Sensei's Men of Death are a new entry to the Bat mythos. Like Damian's foes in 666, I'd swear Morrison slapped these guys together from super villain color forms

Page 2: Rama Kushna, patron goddess of Nanda Parbat, transformed Boston Brand into the superhero Deadman. In 52 (in what I'm positive is a Morrison scene), Diana Prince expiated her murder of Maxwell Lord before Rama Kushna, who absolved her of the crime.

Page 4: Hmmm, tough choice Ra's. I know you really need a new body, and I feel just awful about it - breaks my heart - but you should take Damian. What? There's a third option so that nobody needs to be sacrificed? No Ra's, you can't take any chances, it's too dangerous. Go the safe route and take Damian's body, although I will surely be sorrowed by losing him.

Page 12: "My son," another instance of occupational inheritance, which we saw with Damian in 666 and Cyril the Knight. Who will inherit the mantle of the Bat? Find out in Battle for the Cowl, coming this March!

Page 12: "You and your witless daughters" - The 's' belongs, believe it or not. Ra's Al Ghul sired a daughter before Talia, the now 250 year old Nyssa Raatko, who obviously enjoys a good dip in the Lazarus Pits every now and again (unlike Talia). The by-all-accounts excellent Death and the Maidens by Greg Rucka expands Nyssa's backstory.

Page 21: Ra's now wears a monk's skin, yet another instance of possession.


  1. It's interesting that the League of Assassins, lead by a Demon, has been running parallel with the Black Glove, lead by a Devil, with similar modes of operation, similar "cheesy B-Level villains in their ranks", similar possession and both having a love interest for Batman ... and that the only real crossover they have comes from Nanda Parbat, and later when Talia starts killing Black Glove members in retribution.

  2. I'll correct that ...

    Things seem to cross over later, since all signs are pointing to the Third Ghost, Lane being the new Azrael, and he'll be wearing the Suit of Sorrows introduced here.

    Can Nicieza make something out of Morrison's insane, Devil-born Third Ghost, and the very random and arbitrarily thrown in Suit of Sorrows? That's going to be a neat experiment in Morrison application.

  3. While I highly doubt it'll be as annotation-worthy as Morrison's Batman (i.e. it'll be more straightforward), I have faith in Nicieza's Azrael. The man turns in quality work. In fact, I was thinking of doing a Recommendations section where I point blog readers to his Robin, a run that I felt was tight, punchy, and cohesive, unfairly overshadowed by the saliently OKAY Tomasi stint on Nightwing.

  4. The Seven Men of Death, as you've likely discovered, include a few preexisting characters. Merlyn you note elsewhere: he's been around sporadically since 1970's Justice League of America #94, and he was co-created by Neal Adams (just like Ra's and the Sensei).

    The guy with the hook is a reference to Hook, the LoA tryout who killed Boston (Deadman) Brand in his origin story.