I’ve spoken about this before but nothing prepared me for Omega Beam Fried Batman.
This post is a bit late, coming to the party. The cynical among you would diss this as just another publicity attempt and that Bats would “return from the dead” soon enough.
To that, I say… “Bah”
We already know that Bats (version: Bruce Wayne) is not dead from the final pages of Final Crisis. But this doesn’t stop DC from dishing out a plethora of “Life after Batman” stories.
Unlike the publicity stunt that was Death of Superman, the follow up stories to the death of the Bat were surprisingly good. The ongoing “Battle of the Cowl” series brilliantly highlighted many of the bits characters of the Bat-verse fighting it out to see who would be the next Batman.
Of course, special mention goes to “Whatever happened to the Caped Crusader” by, who else, Neil Gaiman.
I got the comics a few weeks ago. I had to visit 3 comics shop before being able to acquire Part 2 and Part 1 of the tale… at a cut throat price. I had to do it all with a ranting Girlfriend in tow.
So, the question to ask is… Was it worth it?
To be honest I bought the books based solely on the brand name of Neil Gaiman.
I am a Blind Fan.
And to be even more honest, I kinda hated the books on the first reading. It felt like Neil Gaiman was trying to outweird Grant Morrison, who, of course was the guy responsible for the death of Batman in the first place. (Check out: Batman: R.I.P. and Final Crisis for more information)
Grant Morrison is weird. Grant Morrison has a HUGE fan base from him being weird. Reading a Grant Morrison story is like trying to ride a roller coaster through the House of Mirrors while ingesting copious amounts of Magic Mushrooms.
I don’t like Grant Morrison.
Neil Gaiman, on the other hand, Neil Gaiman wrote the Sandman, for goodness sake. I simply cannot believe that he weird write just for weird writing’s sake. I had to assume he was doing a “Game of You” again. “Game of You”, for the uninitiated is one of the Sandman collection featuring Barbie (yup, actual name and not the doll) and her adventures into her dreamland. The story features a talking cockatoo, a man with a chestful of blackbirds (chest as in breast and not the wooden variety) and witches traveling by way of menses.
Hated the story the first time. Loved it on re-reading.
So I dug out “Whatever happened to the Caped Crusader” again today to give it a second reading.
Ok. Even on the second reading, I wouldn’t say it is a story that would live on through the ages.
But it’s starting to read good.
You start to appreciate how the various eras of Batman is represented in the stories.
You’ll appreciate the “Dream” leimotiff (fancy french word for snails) that Gaiman has since the start of his career.
You’ll see how Gaiman used the various short stories scattered in the series to showcase different aspects of the Batman myth. It’s almost like Neil Gaiman’s love letter to Batman.
There is even a central message through the whole story. A message of “At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how you die. People will always remember you for something. And that something depends on how you lived your life. On your part, you just die at the end of the day.”
I kinda like that.