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Welcome to “Bagged and Boarded”, a series of articles by Kevin Beckham and Dustin Cabeal. In “Bagged and Boarded” two comic fans express their thoughts/opinions about an issue or comic event.
This week we discuss DC Comic’s Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne 1 of 6.
Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Chris Sprouse
Covers by: Chris Sprouse and Andy Kubert
The most anticipated series of 2010 is here! Superstar writer Grant Morrison tackles his most ambitious project to date with THE RETURN OF BRUCE WAYNE, a special six-part series that chronicles the return of the original man behind Batman's cape and cowl! Each issue spans a different era of time and features the dynamic artwork of one of today's artistic juggernauts, starting with Chris Sprouse (TOM STRONG) on the extra-sized issue #1 – DCcomics.com
Dustin: We can start with that rocket.
Kevin: I thought the Omega Beams sent Bruce back in time, not a rocket.
Dustin: Well apparently it was a rocket.
Kevin: A rocket that, wait, had Superman’s cape in it.
Dustin: A Bat signal of some kind.
Kevin: What about the old guy, he was in the cave wasn’t he?
Dustin: He also has his face painted like Darkseid.
Dustin: Yeah just like in Final Crisis.
Kevin: Then Bruce has taken Superman’s cape and made a flag pole out of it and none of the cavemen have acknowledged it?
Dustin: Yup, absolutely no one. He’s just squatting by it to which is awkward. He’s just squat, squat. I don’t even know where he got the stick from.
Kevin: I take it the stick would be a spear from the Cavemen…
Dustin: But this is before he’s interacted with them.
Kevin: He pulls, I guess the stick out of his ass. By the way the first five pages are just missed mashed caveman gibberish that everyone gives up afterwards and starts speaking the King’s English.
Dustin: I get that Grant Morrison is trying to ease you into caveman dialog, but then either he gives up or your brain just becomes stupid and learns how to understand the broken English.
Kevin: Why would Batman have the belt straight out of the cave? Did the belt make through the Omega Beam too?
Ke vin: And the boots.
Dustin: He gets to keep the bad ass boots that they draw attention to given the opportunity. Moving on, there’s a rival caveman gang.
Kevin: And I guess the leader of the “gang” is Vandal Savage, correct?
Dustin: Yeah, but you wouldn’t know that because it’s poorly alluded to and he miraculously knows he’s a sky man. I never saw Bruce come from the sky.
Kevin: They mention sky man but did anyone see this rocket ship land? The rocket ship looks like it could barely fit the items that he pulled out let alone a full grown Bruce Wayne.
Dustin: And rocket fuel! No, he would be beef jerky Batman by the time that thing landed.
Kevin: Once Bruce starts interacting with the first cave clan, there’s clearly a Robin character just ready to jump on Batman’s teat and bail him out of every scenario possible.
Dustin: That’s just the biggest problem with Grant Morrison’s take. Batman is the ultimate man that is bad ass in every situation and yet here’s this boy that has to save him. He can’t even take on Vandal Savage mano y mano or even fist to fist. Bruce has to use his bat-a-rang and smoke grenades when he’s trained in every style of Martial Arts imaginable and he can’t beat cavemen.
Kevin: I would almost give them the part of maybe he’s a little rocket-omega-beam-lagged, but not when it comes to fighting. Fighting is a reflex that’s in-grained in him. It’s Bruce Wayne! There’s no way these cave monkeys would put their hands on him, let alone beat him, tie him up, and leave him to stare at this bat that’s the size of a pterodactyl.
Dustin: I get that Bruce is getting sick from the arrows they shot into him, but at the earliest convenience he takes penicillin. In neither fight does he have an excuse for sucking, but he does in both.
Kevin: When did Cave-Robin paint his face, paint a shield, and dawn the utility belt? Where were you the whole time? Were you getting dressed?
Dustin: The best part of that is the shield. Cave-Robin took the time to do stitch work around the shield. How about instead of inventing the domino mask, you just go save him in the first place. It just really aggravates me that he instinctively knew to paint a domino mask. (Imitates Cave-Robin) “Nope I gotta do this; you’re the Man of Bats so I have to fit in.”
Kevin: Wouldn’t that just be a smudge of shit across his eyes, because he’s a cave man? Oga bogah.
Dustin: Seriously he’s like, “Hey I brought your belt. Is this make-up okay for ya?” It’s really weird.
Kevin: I think the penicillin would have gone bad? Nope?
Dustin: Nah, it’s still good it’s Batman.
Kevin: It’s Wayne Industries penicillin.
Dustin: Good no matter the “time”.
Kevin: Now Bruce is wearing the bat pterodactyl on his head and he’s running around with Cave-Robin.
Dustin: There seems to be a real importance on the rock necklace that is handed down from Old Man to Young Man to Boy a.k.a. Cave-Robin. Batman seems to know this without communicating with them ever.
Kevin: Right, then they are so done beating the other “cave gang” that they decide to free fall over the side of a random water fall. Then who gets chased off by three random assholes?
Dustin: Vandal Savage.
Kevin: Vandal Savage the baddest caveman ever.
Dustin: And he can’t fight back because his ribs hurt.
Kevin: His ribs hurt because Batman shot him with a dart, and yeah all of Batman’s tools still work like he really needs them to beat a douche-bag cave-man.
Dustin: Lastly Superman, Hal Jordan, Booster Gold and Rip-van-winkle the TimeHunter or something.
Kevin: These guys show up looking for Bruce, they know he’s not there and yet they saw his paintings in the cave. Which I don’t believe they went to the cave, I think Superman was just being a prick about it. I know he’s being a prick because Booster Gold’s talking and Supe’s eyes are red! That means someone’s head is going to get zarked or Kal El is pissed!
Dustin: Yeah seriously. Leave it to Grant Morrison to not know how to write for any of these characters. It’s almost as if DC said, “Nah Grant, you’re putting them in.”
Kevin: Then bom, bom, bom spoiler! Superman out of the blue says that if Bruce makes it back to the 21st century on his own everyone dies. What?
Dustin: I have two problems with that. First, does that mean if they bring him back to the 21st century everything is A-okay? Even though he has no memory and no idea what’s going on. Second, if this was a movie, Superman basically turns to the camera and explains what’s happening to the audience. Grant Morrison had no logical way of making him say it, so he just had him say it anyways.
Kevin: Even if all of that held true, back the time machine up 20 minutes since I know he was here. How else did my cape get put into the ground like it was Iwo Jima and we’ll get him so we can stop all this and Grant Morrison can stop ruining Batman.
Dustin: “Hey Rip, back this fishbowl up 20 minutes!” Doesn’t matter they don’t even acknowledge the flag pole. It must have been thirty feet to the left and they only looked right.
Kevin: What happened to Bruce you wonder? He get’s pulled out by some 100 pound Pilgrim girl even though there’s some drowned pilgrim man right next to him. He’s now speaking perfect English and she calls him a Master Demon and the horse he rode in on? Dun, dun dun…
Dustin: Starro… Or something that damn well should be Starro. Which makes zero sense, but then suddenly he’s holding a broad sword.
Kevin: Yeah Starro, that dead Pilgrim you raped totally had a broad sword.
Dustin: Did we just flash back to the sword and the stone? I don’t recall pilgrims caring swords.
Kevin: Look at the water. It’s 2 inches deep yet there’s Starro like, “Surf’s up”!
Final Thoughts Kevin: When Batman puts on the pterodactyl-bat-cowl he turns into the biggest prick and puts on an “eat shit-face”. He kills everything and starts pepper spraying every caveman in a 1 mile radius. I get it, he’s in his garb, his element, which I always thought was backwards because Bruce Wayne is the character he plays for the public, he’s always Batman.
Final Thoughts Dustin: My final point is about the little “time hunters” that are trying to find Batman, it’s just a ridiculous team. There’s Booster Gold and Hal Jordan and they’re two of the chattiest a-holes in all of the DC Universe then you pair them with Superman and they forget how to act. It’s ridiculous for their characters. Also, Batman hates Hal Jordan they do not see eye to eye on like anything. So why would you bring the most unwelcoming face to find Bruce? So you can say to him, “Hey Batman, remember Hal… and how much you hate him?” Why don’t you bring someone he wants to see like Dick Grayson or even Catwoman or how about someone who would actually be in a Batman book, how about that? All in all, a really bad start to welcoming Batman back to the DCU.