Batman and Son would have come in handy had I read it before I read Batman R.I.P. I feel I understand this all a bit more, yet I can’t quite seem to warm to Grant Morrison’s vision of the Bat-universe. Nevertheless, I enjoyed much of this tome, drawn by the omnipresent Andy Juber with Jesse Delperdang, Guy Major, and Dave Stewart. The Joker babbling about being shot in the face by Batman? It’s explained here. Bruce’s trip to London where he meets Jezebel Jet? It’s explained here, too. (I thought there’d be more to it, somehow.) The whole London section, for example, is quite enjoyable, and sees some ferocious Man-Bats courtesy of Dr Kirk Langstrom. My favorite part, however, is Alfred giving Bruce pick up lines. (And given that this is all post-Nolan!verse, the jokes about Bruce’s gravelly voice are mildly amusing.) I love the pop art/comic book art show setting for this section; it’s definitely the best artwork in a pretty impressive collection. (Oh and by the way, Talia abducts the Prime Minister’s wife. Cherie Blair, I’m guessing?)
The Man-Bats were, by the way, engineered by Talia al Ghul as an introduction to her son, Damian, who was the product of one night’s misguided passion (so we are to believe) and has since been genetically engineered to perfection. As I said before, though, he’s a stinker of a git. Nevertheless, if Talia was your mother, you’d be a git too. Bruce, being the responsible person that he is, takes Damian back to Gotham, introduces him to the Batcave, and tries to get him integrated into the happy household. Alfred’s patience is exceeded, though, and Tim Drake’s best efforts are thrown back in his face. My favorite part is when Batman shouts at Damian, “Patience is a virtue!” which is the only thing that gets Damian to calm down. (Ah, the joys of parenting.) Talia ultimately wants them all to live together as a happy family, but she is, as we know, insane. An explosion appears to kill both mother and son, but we know better.
I’m really not sure what to make of “The Clown at Midnight,” a sort of weird CGI mini-novel from Morrison’s most fevered imaginings. It’s some kind of reinvention of the Joker (it’s here he acquires his peculiar Jean-Paul Gaultier number) but to me all the florid prose makes no sense. I guess it’s one joke I just don’t get. Batman saves Harley from letting the Joker carve her face up, but it’s all pretty inconclusive. I’m a bit confused by Batman’s discussion with some of the prostitutes on the streets; one looks like Katy from Hush Money. It is quite amusing when Roxy says, “Hey, Batman! You want, I’ll do you a freebie!” “I’m busy right now keeping the city safe from dirtbags, Roxy.” This Bane looks more like what I imagined Bane to look like, but . . . er . . . it isn’t actually Bane. Are you confused? So am I.
The final story reproduces “Bethlehem” which I just read in Under the Cowl.