Comic Books


Writer Grant Morrison is joined by artist Frazer Irving (BATMAN: RETURN OF BRUCE WAYNE) for the first chapter of a 3-part epic!

Thomas Wayne – a man believed murdered over 20 years ago – has returned with an incredible tale to tell, and he’s claiming the entire Wayne fortune! He’s slyly demanding that Bruce Wayne must return if Bruce wishes to oppose the claim! Plus, the long-awaited return of the ultimate Batman villain!

Variant cover by FRAZER IRVING

Price: $2.99
iFanboy Community Pick of the Week Percentage: 9.5%


kennyg07/14/10NoRead Review
TheNextChampion07/08/10NoRead Review
SilverAgeTom07/08/10YesRead Review
DavidCW07/08/10YesRead Review
thescimitar07/08/10YesRead Review
Avg Rating: 4.6
Users who pulled this comic:


  1. Here’s hoping we get the GOOD Frazer Irving and not the bad one we got in Return of Bruce Wayne. I just read Days Missing and his issues were fantastically beautiful.

    Still, it has Black Glove and Joker in the same comic. So the writing should kick some ass.

  2. Never seen any Frazer Irving, that I know of.

    I have just reread Batman and Robin 1-12 and enjoyed them as much as the first time (Would have been nice to have a hint about the Sexton/Joker connection though).

    I think when this series is over I will look back and think that this is the Batman run I’ll think of when I think about reading Batman…shame there’s not a lot of Bruce/Batman in it. Maybe in volume 2?

  3. HELL YES!  Kite Man is coming back! (he is the ultimate villain, right?)

  4. @MisterJ: No you’re thinking of The Turtle. 🙂

  5. Im not sure how to feel about this cover. I’m not really digging it. I’m sure it’ll be better on the inside though. Somehow I thought Quitely was coming back at this point, but dreams rarely come true, sigh…

    I really hope Morrison clears up this whole Sexton thing from the get-go, I’m so confused. ;-(

  6. @MoodSmoothie,

    I think the over cover is Quitely, and is a Robin vs Joker. I’ll see if I can find it.

    Hopefully the interior art will be better.

    I think Quitely is gone now. It’s Irving, then Cameron Stewart again.

  7. @TNC-Silly me, I always get those two confused. 😉

  8. Does anyone else get an ‘Adam West’ vibe with Irving’s take on Batman?

  9. @Zeppo

    There were hints about Sexton/Joker. I figured it out after issue 10. 

  10. @Zeppo-That is a really nice cover.  I love the diagonal scrolling of ‘Batman’ going across.

  11. @Nawid, I figured it was either Joker or Bruce Wayne, but only because they were absent, I didn’t spot an particular clue, but I will go back for another look.

    @MisterJ, I can’t believe the FQ covers are the cheaper ones, they should be the rare varients because they are beautiful.

  12. @Zeppo-I don’t get it either.  Unless it is an accomodation b/c DC pitched this as having Quitely on the title more regularly.  If so, that is a nice concession to a disappointing situation.

  13. @MisterJ

    Absolutly – I’ll take that I can get. He is the only artist I want to draw Damian/Robin. Having him beat on the Joker is a bonus.

  14. Hope Quitely gets well soon then. Bad back = crappy situation and I love what he has done with B&R

  15. Glad to see this is coming out this week. 

    Also, has anyone heard from Edward?  I’m actually starting to get concerned.

  16. @Nakid-Did you find clues besides the ones that Dick talked about in issue 12, or did you just pick up on those before Dick said them?

  17. @vadamowens – I was starting to think the same thing myself…

  18. @3rdRedBird

    There were some clues outside of what Dick mentioned–Oberon was always covered from head to toe, something that you would need if you were disfigured like Joker. He wore all red and black, a motif that Joker had been using for all of Morrison’s run. Also, the name Oberon is from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the king of the chaotic, trickster-like fairies, and who else in Batman’s world is the king of the tricksters?

    Anyway, I’m REALLY looking forward to this issue. Can’t wait. 😀 

  19. ^Yep, I guessed that Oberon=Joker in the first issue Oberon appeared based on how he interacted with Dick Grayon. Plus he had knowledge of the Red Hood having been different people. Plus in issue 6 Dr Hurt spoke to him threateningly and with familiarity, which made sense based on how they left things after RIP with the failed Joker/Black Glove team-up.

    I’ve been waiting for this issue for a long time. Love the cover. And what’s this about Irving’s art being bad? It’s always been great and I noticed no significant change on that with the recent Return of Bruce Wayne issue he did.

    Good times to be a Batman fan.

  20. P.S. Plus there were a lot of "thematic" clues about the Joker being behind the scenes. The first arc, Pyg was set up in the old circus that the Joker used in the Killing Joke. In the second arc, Jason Todd was there as the Red Hood, and it was the Joker who killed Todd and the Joker who was the original Red Hood. Then in the third arc, Batman meets with Pearly King in his cell, and the scene is reminiscent of Batman’s meeting with the Joker in Killing Joke, and their meeting in the prelude to RIP.

  21. I guessed Oberon was the Joker before issue #1 even shipped because I’m way smarter than all of you.

  22. Personally I feel the "Who is Oberon Sexton?" mystery to be the weakest part of this run.

    Still pretty awesome comics, but considering Oberon doesnt really do anything other than show up in a few panels before being unmasked makes it kinda anti-climatic

  23. @drake


  24. @incredibledave: He was in a lot more than a few panels.

  25. A true Batman officianado would have noted that in the background of the Dave McKean illustrated "Arkham Asylum" about the Joker, you can see the phrase "neon boxes rot" which is an anagram for Oberon Sexton.  That nakes this mystery 21 years old, and not even challenging for those of us most familiar with G-Mo’s work.

  26. That cover is breathtaking.

  27. Thanks Zeppo. Your right. This cover is much, much better. Sad news about Quitely though. Glad he’s still doing the covers though.

  28. @akamuu What are you, Superman? How on earth did you notice that?

  29. @TheNextChampion: He didn’t. He’s being satiric.

  30. If Akamuu doesn’t win comment of the week, I will be disappointed.

  31. I’m surprised TNC fell for it.

  32. (hangs head in shame)

    Although I just saw a preview for this issue…..oh yeah this is the Irving I want in my comics. 

  33. Thank you, iFanboy, for always having the Quitely covers over the variants. I hate it when DC only shows the alternates in their solicits.

  34. Great issue, one of my favourites so far. Irving’s Joker is fantastic.

  35. God, I can’t wait to read this.  Finally!!  This is gonna be my POTW easily!

    BTW: How did people know that Oberon Sexton was the Joker in issue #1 if the dude didn’t show up until #4?

  36. Not even seeming blunders of logic and organization from years gone by are beyond redemption in the world of Morrison. Grant: the Long Gamesman.

  37. Well, I thought this was on par with the Quietly arc: that is to say it was mind boggolingly good

    But Ive been following this series pretty closely, may be different for other people

  38. There’s some things I don’t understand.

    Since when has the Joker, chaos personified, been known to set up elaborate charades and Riddler-like mystery trails decked out with incredible attention to detail? Has any of his previous behavior supported the idea that he might not be insane in this manner? For that matter, since when has "disguise" been one of the Joker’s many accomplishments? 

  39. @BornIn1142: He managed to pass himself off as some sort of middle eastern diplomat in "Death in the Family"

    And there are plenty of examples of Joker being as good as batman when it comes to planning stuff.
    He basically managed to build his own amusement park ride in Killing Joke.

    I know it doesnt count, but dont get me started on the amount of Joker planning that would have had to go into the Car chase scene in The Dark Knight

  40. Yeah the Joker has always alternated between random killing sprees and elaborate plans. He’s disguised himself as someone else a few times, never for this long but it has happened

  41. Don’t forget that Joker begins in the Dark Knight disguised as one of his very own henchmen. Pretty simple, but it was quite the plan right up to the school bus.

  42. I’m reading this in trades for the most part, not particularly worried about the spoilers but does this Joker reveal mean the upside down Quietly cover of issue #3 have more relevance then was originally thought?

  43. This issue has the Panel of the Week for me. Damien, Joker, crowbar. No words spoken. Just that look on Damien’s face. Frazer nails it! (I don’t think this is a spoiler – the cover is pretty much inside the issue)

  44. OttoBott – the extras in the Deluxe HC pretty much clear up that the #3 cover was never planned to be understood like that. It was just a fluke. A lot of people still don’t see it.

  45. @RolandoGilead

    You beat me, I was going to say the exact same thing. I love FQ’s cover, but Frazer Irving delivered on that panel. The suspence buit nicely as Robin reaches for something out of sight, then the blow was perfect. I love that it’s a silent panel, no sound effect, no cool quip. It is what is is. A ten year old beating someone with a crowbar….

  46. And seriously, who cares if that really is Dr. Thomas Wayne… because thats one hell of a party he puts on. 😉

  47. Joker really looked creepy in this one

  48. Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    My jaw went through two floors to the basement. Magic on every page. 

  49. This was Morrison at his best.  Revealing that everything you’d read up to that point had meaning and doing it with such bad-ass-ness.

  50. POTW for me, Paul is right there is just magic on every page. Irving step up his game and showed why I liked him in the first place. The beginning was a bit of a disconnect from the rest of the issue, but I’m sure that’ll be explained soon. Or in Batman #701-702 since Dr. Hurt’s origins will ‘finally’ be revealed. But everything here was a blast to read and I cannot wait for the next issue.

    Panel of the week though is the cops just letting Damien continue the torture.

  51. Wow….This was amazing. I love the fact Grayson was racing across town because he was worried about the joker being left alone with Damien(good stuff). Frazer Irving can drawn one creepy ass lookin Joker, cant believe I never saw this guys stuff before.

  52. This was stunning… some of the best Irving art there’s been yet. This is an Eisner nominee, fer shure.

  53. Oh man…Pick of the Week, most definitely. Just so wonderfully creepy and messed up. 😀

  54. The art was nice & the story was as wacky as we’ve come to expect, but if this *really* is Thomas Wayne then it’s one of the worst possible things that could happen in comics. It totally shits on & ruins a 70+ year old character. 

  55. It’s Doctor Hurt, who may also be Thomas Wayne (the demon worshipper from the 1700s), Mangrove Pierce and/or The Devil. 

  56. I loved this book so much.  Really, one of the best single issues I’ve read in a long long time.  Blown away by both the art and the story, and such a great, creepy, WTF opening.

  57. Perfect.  This is the issue (along with the first arc of this series) I will point to as the reason I want Grant Morrison to write Batman for the rest of his (or my) life.

  58. Wow.  I liked what Irving did with Witch-Hunter Wayne, but this is just fantastic.  And the writing matches up and we are really starting to see how the plan is coming together.  And Morrison is writing Joker so well.

  59. Hot damn what an amazing issue. Loved every page, especially the panels where Gordon acknoledges that it’s a different Batman. I wasn’t sure how much of that Morrison would do, but I think it turned out to be just enough. Gordon didn’t seem too beat up when talking about a guy he’s worked with for years, do you think he knows that the original Batman is on his way back?

    Oh, and crowbar. Amazing, POTW for me.

  60. @sturlach I cant agree more. Morrisons Batman is now as definitive to me as Millers or the animated series. He has created a new reality for Batman to live in and Im loving it! Im desperate to go back and read from the beginning now (I started late on this).

  61. @DavidCW – I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

  62. An idea I read elsewhere that I find really interesting to ponder: Jason Todd was shot in the face the last time we saw him and would have needed serious surgery.  Just who is in that cell with Damien?  It wouldn’t be the first time we’ve seen a Red Hood become a Joker.


    Not saying I believe it, and it certainly doesn’t mean it’s been the case the entire time given Sexton was operating before the series began, but it would give a lot of the story and this issue especially some interesting motifs.

  63. My favorite moment was "You sound just … like him." Watching Joker realize that Damian was Bruce’s son was wonderfully creepy. I actually got chills.

    Outstanding issue in an outstanding series. I will be a sad man when the final domino has fallen.

  64. yeah. where’s edward?


    this is all starting to make sense for me, now. thanks ifanbase!

  65. I knew the art would deliver, great start

  66. Just realized something… This issue came out on Thursday for people in the states, three days from then, tomorrow there’s an eclipse in the south pacific. Coincidence? hah i guess it’s the day after but still i thought that was weird.  

  67. Maybe I’m just dumb. But I did not get all the evil Thomas Wayne stuff at the beginning. Who that was or how the heck it ties in with the main story. I know it’s Morrison. But that was odd to me. Anyone with more Bat-knowledge able to help me out?

  68. @j206, Im not sure we’re meant to "get it" yet. I think the evil thomas wayne has something to do with one of the Wayne ancestors (also named Thomas) who was considered an evil devilworshipper. (Explained in issue 10 I believe). Could this Thomas actually be the Thomas Wayne fromthe past? 

    Also, I reread the last arc (Batman v Robin) and i think its possible that el penitente is the same person as the Thomas we saw pouring champagne on some woman’s rear. 


  69. @JaqueNargg: El Penitente and "Thomas Wayne" are the same person. My money says he’s also Dr. Hurt.

  70. We were talking about it on XBL, me and @praxjarvin, and he thought the beginning was Dr. Hurt ‘imagining’ the death of the Wayne’s in the beginning.

    I can kinda see that, but it’s really hard to tell with the art. I don’t really wanna knock Irving but if I do have any problems it was that transition (if it was one).  

  71. I’m not a fan of the art. They story was decent but the art was not my thing. It seems really stiff and the faces seem weird.

  72. I think he is an alternate universe Thomas Wayne, atleast I hope.

  73. Damn I thought for sure scarlet was going to be my potw but this stole the show. This issue makes me want to dig out the past 12 issues and reread them.

  74. Fun Fact

    thg guy banging on the door when Robin is beating up the Joker is actually my local comic shop owner (Travelling man in manchester eng) he is friends with the artist

    so there you go

  75. Totally didn’t like the art for this….story is doing great…but Grant can lose you in a heartbeat!

  76. Well NOW I have to go back and re-read issues #1-#12 dammit! 😉


Leave a Comment