Friday, March 25, 2016

Batman: Bruce Wayne, Murderer? (New Edition) by Various Writers and Artists (2014)

I've come and gone into and out of the comic book hobby since the late 80s when I was a teenager discovering that yes, I too could become obsessed with a hobby now that I'd outgrown being a lead singer in an air-band. The danger of leaving and returning, though, is that titles one used to like will become huge families of titles suddenly, and it's daunting to catch up. This is why I am very grateful for big omnibus kinds of books like this. During the period when the whole "bat family" (I don't recall that concept from the late 80s) is trying to figure out what happened that led to Bruce Wayne being framed for a murder, continuity apparently required that he be dealing with that issue in all the Bat-titles. So thank you, D.C., for helping me out here. I'll never catch up, but I can at least enjoy some storylines this way.

The creators did a nice job NOT being too jarring, it turns out. Good teamwork, good editorship, perhaps? I admire it though, regardless. The shifts in visual-art style was the only off-putting thing here, but I'm a grown-up and can adapt. I won't say I liked the styles in their entirety, but I must stress that this is not a criticism, but more about preference, though I wondered how the more cartoonish styles were supposed to fit with the writing at times.

The only storyline I didn't care for was that of Nicodemus. His motive was familiar and cliche. The story felt tired. I was also unsure of why (begin spoiler)around that phase of the book Bruce Wayne decided that he was not to be Bruce Wayne anymore and all of that - it seemed more like a way they could bring Batman back into the titles for fans to see their Batman kick-butt stories while still dealing with the murder frame-up storyline (end spoiler), but perhaps the next volume, which I will definitely read, will reveal something about this.

I have to say I really enjoyed the way the Bat-family has fleshed out. I like the characters, and the roles they have taken on. They have a really great team of writers and artists across the board. Reading this volume brought me back into the real of actually liking mainstream comics again. Most of my comics reading is more adult lately, fewer superhero titles. It feels like kind of a homecoming for me.

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