By Grant Morrison (story), Tony Daniel (pencils), Sandu Florea (inks), Guy Major (colors)
Wait, what? Alfred is Bruce’s dad? If true and Dr. Hurt is indeed Thomas Wayne, well, this changes everything. Like the last two issues of this RIP story, things are disjointed and hard to follow at times. However, there’s a point in the story where answers are given (strangely enough by Bat-Mite, himself) and things are a tad easier to comprehend.
The Zur-En-Arrh is finally explained as a world created by Bruce when he put himself under the isolation experiment (but was something first induced by Dr. Milo’s gas). Eventually, the Batman of Zur-En-Arrh morphed into hidden personality that acts as a kind of fail safe mechanism (given Bruce’s current state of mind), which makes sense given how it is bluntly stated that Batman prepares himself for any scenario. But the lengths he’s gone through to anticipate something like this almost seems ridiculous.
Still, Bruce Wayne is a man driven by an obsession so I wouldn’t count it out. As for Bat-Mite, well, he seems to be Bruce’s conscience or more “rationale” side. Perhaps when the effects of all the drugs wear off, this “Zur-En-Arrh Batman” will go away. But for now, he’s on a rampage and seems to be playing right into Dr. Hurt’s hands.
After posting my review for last issue, I had one reader ask how I could give Grant Morrison a pass for this “incomprehensible nonsense”. I agree that this arc has been more of fragments and pieces rather than a story. Most of RIP requires digging into Batman lore, which I honestly don’t have the time to do, but I have read some of the annotations out there and found them to be quite telling. Based on the story’s merits alone, it’s a mess riddled with too many nods to Batman’s past. And I can’t think of too many readers who’ve been reading Batman since the Silver Age. Yet on the same token, what’s being told here is completely different and unique from any other Batman story I’ve read and because of that, I think it requires a closer examination. It may not be comprehensible at times, but it cannot be denied that there’s something intriguing going on with this story that keeps me coming back month after month. Bring on The Joker and Black Glove! (Grade: B-)
– J. Montes