Comic Books


Leviathan and the Heretic are on the ropes…could Batman be on the verge of avenging all he’s lost?

Story by Grant Morrison
Art by Chris Burnham
Colors by Nathan Fairbairn
Letters by Dave Sharpe
Cover by Chris Burnham, Nathan Fairbairn, & Guillem March

Price: $2.99
iFanboy Community Pick of the Week Percentage: 8.0%
Avg Rating: 4.3
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  2. Woohoo!! Love this book. It’s soooo pretty. What’s he doing after this?

    • Grant Morrison or Chris Burnham? To my knowledge, Morrison is finishing up Wonder Woman Earth One and his Mulitversity, but I have no idea what Burnham is doing. I would like to see him on an obscure DC book instead of another Batman book.

    • Ditto on Burnham on something either low-key or reinvented. If we got a bat-sh!t crazy writer, a new Doom Patrol series would sound enticing.

    • Maybe with the Vertigo comeback, that may be possible. It sounds too bliss to be a reality though.

  3. awesome.

  4. A month late so does that mean we get the last two issues this month?

    Also thank fuck Morrison is back on writing duties last issue sucked assssssssssssssssssssss!

    • I wasn’t fond of the last issue either. Why bother with a filler issue on a limited run such as this? I would have gladly just waited a month.

    • #13 is currently scheduled for the 24th, but I’d be shocked if it doesn’t get delayed till August.

      Issue #11 was such a waste of time and talent. Just because it was goofy doesn’t mean it was good. If Burnham wasn’t involved in “writing” that issue, then we wouldn’t’ve had to deal with fill-in and rushed artwork on previous issues. Hopefully he’ll actually be able to draw the entirety of #13.

    • I agree that was brutal.

    • Judging by Burnham’s twitter updates, he is still drawing #13, so I doubt it is coming out on the 24th. Fine by me. I would rather have the last issue of a 7 year epic drawn entirely by him than to have it rushed with fill in artists to get it out for the solicited date.

  5. so excited!

  6. I think I’d have probably dropped this if it wasn’t ending in two issues. The art is great and I’m usually a Morrison fan but I just find myself caring less and less each issue.

    Hopefully the ending will change how I feel about the series as a whole.

  7. I think the delays took some steam out of people’s excitement for this book, but I still get excited when it comes out. The end of this will mark the conclusion of a Batman run that has earned its place among my favorites.

    • I’m currenty re-reading the Grant Morrison Batman run starting from 52. It is getting me excited for this payoff (and its such a dense series, you almost need to reread it).

    • I agree the delays have really killed my excitement for this. That and how horrible the last issue was. I’m sure when I re-read all of this in order back to back though it will be much more enjoyable.

  8. Please let’s have these final issues be just Burnham on art. Can’t take the multiple fill in artists to get these done.

  9. The penultimate issue of The Greatest Batman Story Ever Told begins here!!

  10. Nobody excited to find out what happens to the Heretic? Does Bruce Wayne get arrested or is it just a ploy to pacify Leviathan? What about Alfred and Bruce’s relationship? Talia? These are the final issues of Batman as we’ve known it for the past 6 years (or more depending on how you see it) when the characters still made sense. I’m excited for every issue Grant Morrison will write no matter who draws it.

    • I am excited about the heretic, especially since I’m convinced that he will eventually become the future Batman in the 666-verse. It’ll be interesting to see how that happens. Only two issues to go and I’m so psyched for this!

      Oh, by the way, I finally got ‘Gothic’ and ‘Faith’ from ‘Legends’ – both really good. ‘Gothic’ scared the hell outta me. I also got all four parts of ‘The Last Arkham’, so I now have the first appearance of Mister Zsasz in my collection. ‘Destroyer’ is next…

      Did you check out ‘Blades’ yet?

    • I’m excited to see how the Heretic plays out big time. There’s been so much back and forth between Bruce and Talia about “who ends the world” and then Bruce thinking his dreams about the future were wrong. That 666 Batman is incredibly bad ass that I hope we get to see more of it in the future. Kinda bummed me out hearing all the negativity because of last issue (which I thought was pretty good). There’s still a lot of story to tell here. I’m going to read Batman The Return again so I can refresh on his first encounter with. Damian. He tells him some stuff about “the end” if I remember right.

      I have Blades in my bag and will be reading it today at work. I ended up putting the Englehart Detective run together and read and reread that (really, really, really good and definitely a homage to the early Batman stories), and last week had me pulling a bunch of books, so TODAY, its on the agenda. I still need to read Prey too, but my Hugo Strange fix was filled with Detective so I’m gonna give it a couple weeks before I dig in. Happy to hear you liked Gothic. I remember liking Destroyer too. It has that “history of Gotham” motif that I think helped inspire books such as Gates of Gotham. I think you’ll like it.

      Have you read the Batman 354/ Detective 520 Haunting of Hugo Strange story? After Apparitions I want to see him exact his revenge. I never heard of ‘The Last Arkham’. Does his origin play out like it did in Detective recently? Anyways, hopefully Morrison gives us some stuff to talk about. Catch you soon.

    • Oh yeah, I forgot. Flyer by Chaykin. Have you read it? While I wouldn’t really recommend it, it was definitely interesting in a few ways. It takes place shortly after Year One and is one if the few stories I’ve read that actually branches off of it directly, it talks about Bruce’s affinity for the violence he delivers as Batman, and the female villain is wild. It also is kinda corny and tries too hard, but if you can read it for cheap I would check it out. If you’ve read it, what did you think?

    • I don’t know why I didn’t pull Blades out of the back issue box earlier. It was great! The story and tone were perfect (I loved how Robinson used so many narrative boxes and the prose he used verged on poetic), and the mysteries were all intertwined so it was like 3 stories in 1. And Sale and Oliff provided beautiful art (the 2 page spreads were awesome). Thanks a bunch for the recommendation!

    • ‘Blades’ is impossibly great. A fine, fine Batman story. As you said, it really does read like three stories in one. Its hard to believe that the story is only a three-parter, because it feels like a whole trade’s worth on its own.

      Sale really hit his stride as an artist on that one. If you read the ‘Tales of the Batman: Tim Sale’ trade that includes a bunch of his early work (including the really nice post-Knightfall Alan Grant story ‘Madmen Across The Water’ – a charming (and funny) tale about a baseball game between the prisoners of Arkham and the prisoners of Blackgate (that includes our mutual friend Mr. Stirk being convinced to play because a baseball “feels like a Human heart” and Firefly using his wings in order to catch a high ball), you can really watch him grow into his own. The point is that ‘Blades’ is far and away the best story he drew for Batman that wasn’t done with Jeph Loeb. I’m glad you liked it.

      ‘The Last Arkham’ was the story that kicked off ‘Shadow of the Bat’ running from issues 1-4. It was by Alan Grant and Norm Breyfogle. The first issue came with a bunch of awesome freebies, including (and I swear I’m not making this up) a pop-up Arkham Asylum. In some respects, it was a rewrite of the Len Wein Irv Novick story ‘Asylum Sinister’ from 1980, as well as a sequel of sorts to ‘Serious House on Serious Earth’, but it was pretty original, too. It is also referenced in the ‘Arkham Asylum’ game. The story has a bit about the origins of Jeremiah Arkham, as he takes over his Uncle’s Asylum and attempts to build an ‘escape proof’ madhouse. Batman goes nuts and kills a cop (Of course, its a fakeout) and becomes Arkham’s newest patient. The story centers around Zsasz, but doesn’t deal in any origins at all, it just sets him up as a serious, main event baddie. In the day, the killer is kept upright in a large metal case, because he’s just so dangerous, but at night…Well, you’ll just have to read the story. In any instance, I’d recommend it. Its quite ‘of its time’ but I’d say it has aged rather well. There are also cameos of most of Batman’s foes, including Mr. Stirk (again), Cavalier (the original version), Crazy Quilt (a personal favorite), the Tweeds and others.

      I have not read ‘Flyer’, but the synopsis didn’t really appeal to me. To be honest, if I saw it cheap I might check it out, but I have a long list that I’m trying to track down right now and I might not bother with it.

      However, the ‘Haunting of Boss Thorne’ storyline is a great favorite of mine, mainly because it deals with Hugo Strange, but also because it features the great creative team of Jerry Conway and Don Newton.

      The Engelhart series is just so perfect (and if you have it in single issues then I am eternally jealous of you, sir). It really is the ‘definitive’ Batman. The Hugo Strange story is perfect and the Joker fish story…Well, we all love that one. Elsewhere we get Dr. Phosphorus (another underrated villain), Rupert Thorne, The Penguin, Deadshot…And Silver St.Cloud, who is my favorite Wayne squeeze. The follow up, ‘Dark Detective’ is quite good as well, but nowhere near on the level of its predecessor. Still, The Joker’s ‘Trick House’ is an awesome creation. Engelhart writes a great Joker. You could follow Marshall Rogers over to ‘Siege’ from ‘Legends’, which is a story that I really like, as you know.

      As you also know, I love the crap out of ‘Prey’, Moench writes a great everyone, but Hugo Strange especially. As an aside, have you ever read the Doug Moench/Gene Colan series of Batman, right before Crisis on Infinite Earths, where Nightslayer switches identities with Batman? I know you’re a fan of the period, but did you ever read that one? It takes place against the backdrop of Jason being ‘adopted’ by Nocturna and Hamilton Hill’s downfall as Gotham City Mayor.

      So, yeah, check out ‘Last Arkham’ its a one of the best 90’s Bat-yarns.

    • Oh, I forgot to mention, did you read this month’s ‘Legends’? Because the story was really good and it reminded me of the type of classic ‘LOTDK’ that we both love. I reckon its worth a look, personally.

    • The classic LOTDK is one of my favorites. Nice to see it getting some love here.

    • @elhuroc – Join us. WAC1 and I have been discussing old school ‘LOTDK’ for the last couple of weeks. What’s your favorite LOTDK story arc?

    • @APoet Thanks for the Recs. Ill be heading out of town this weekend and theres a really good comic shop where I’m heading with loads of back issues. I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for Last Arkham and Dark Detective. Ive been making a list which also includes some missing issues to the “Prodigal” storyline (just after Zero Hour). And yes I have “Strange Apparitions” in issues :). Its just kind of the way I am. Nostalgia and all that.

      That Doug Moench story with Nocturna that you’re talking about, it takes place pretty much in between The Haunting of Boss Thorne and Jason becoming Robin right? I have the tale end of it (or a few issues after- Bruce talks about it), but Don Newton pencils the Nocturna issues I have, and I thought Colon was on Batman before him. I’m working on putting that whole time frame together when Jason first comes on the scene, so maybe it’ll be in there (this time frame kinda sucks though because a lot of the stories jump between the two titles). I’ve really liked those issues and I’m a big fan of Newton’s pencils (and Alfredo Alcala’s inks in particular).

      I’ve been super bummed, I haven’t been able to make it to my LCS yet this week, so no I haven’t read the new Legends, but it sounds like a good read and Sprouse draws it, so I know its gonna look good. And this issue of INC sounds like a barn burner (even avoiding the spoilers) so I really got to get down there.

      @elchuroc- Any input is very welcomed. I’m discovering these LOTDK issues for the first time and have LOVED them. Its been great conversation and suggestions would be great.

      As for Flyer, you’re not missing much. But I read Venom today and it was pretty good. Kinda gets off track in the middle and definitely not as good (to my taste) as Blades, but it definitely has its moments, especially the first part. Anyways, enjoy the weekend!

    • @WAC1 – Right, the 80’s Batman/Thorne/Nightslayer story. You can consider all of these as recommendations. If you can get them cheap at your back issues store, I advise you to do so. First, a little background:

      Batman 345 & Detective Comics 512 contain a great little Dr. Death story that reintroduces Hellfern to the timeline. Gerry Conway, Gene Colan and Klaus Janson do a wonderful job of bringing in and establishing Dr. Death as a real threat. In terms of canon, this story is definitely out of official continuity, but its the only modern era Dr. Death story you’ll find that depicts the ‘classic’ version of the character. If we assume that R.I.P’s flashbacks suggest that Batman never deduced Dr. Death’s true identity, then we’re still on the up-and-up. This story firmly establishes Mayor Hamilton Hill as well, but apart from that, I only mention it here because its a good read.

      Next up, in Bats 346 & ‘Tec 513, we get a pretty awesome Two Face story called ‘Half a Hero’ – that’s by Gerry & Gene as well. This is relevant because it is frequently alluded to over the next few issues and because Jim Gordon resigns at the end of 346, replaced by Thorne’s puppet commissioner Peter Pauling. There is a cool and inventive solution to Batman being imprisoned in Two Face’s ‘trick house’ as well. Dick Grayson is still Robin at this point, and is hilariously horny for Dala (yes, the hench-wench of the Mad Monk).

      Thorne closes in on Gotham, during which there’s an awesome one and done Maxie Zeus story by Len Wein & Don Newton in ‘Tec 514 (I’ve mentioned it before). Its not especially relevant, its just a great, properly done, Batman story.

      Then, in ‘Tec 518, Deadshot comes back to Gotham, in a story which features Gordon fighting corrupt cops (again) and Alfred hiring a double to impersonate Bruce Wayne (who is, at the time, dating Vicki Vale). The trio of Pauling, Thorne and Hill then hire Deadshot to kill Wayne (because they believe that he is secretly Batman), this will eventually lead to Thorne and Pauling’s downfall.

      The we get our mutual friend Mr. Strange returning to scupper Thorne’s plans (probably partly because he is bizarrely protective of Batman, as we saw in Engelhart’s run). This occurs, as you said, in ‘Tec 520 and Bats 354.

      In Bats 356, Hugo returns and creates a duplicate of Wayne manor and also creates robot doubles of Alfred and Dick, he also dresses up as Batman again. This is a fun, but nonessential, Hugo story that follows on from the revelation that “the dead yet live!” (again).

      From here, in my own continuity, I introduce Post-Crisis Jason (up until he battles Two Face for the second time) and then revert back to Pre-Crisis Jason. Its choppy in places, but it mostly works as canon. I don’t have most of Nightslayer’s origin story, but there’s a nice Nightslayer/Nocturna story in ‘Tec 530 that sets up her character (as well as Jason’s rebellious streak).

      There’s a Crazy Quilt story I really like in ‘Tec 535, it follows on from a story in Batman 316 where Dick has blinded Quilt and Quilt goes after Jason in order to get revenge. There’s also some neat Alfred/Julia interaction as well. Once more, nonessential, but fun nonetheless.

      As I said before, somewhere around here we get Batman Annual 10. The one where Hugo bankrupts Bruce Wayne. That’s by Doug Moench and Denys Cowan (the very underrated artist of ‘Blind Justice’ amongst others). This is one of my top 5 Hugo Strange stories, largely because Hugo gets everything he’s ever wanted, only to lose it all again in the space of one comic. Its great and you’ll probably love it as much as I do for the same reasons.

      In ‘Tec 542, the custody battle for Jason starts. Hamilton Hill is trying to kill Harvey Bullock and our new Robin, now solo, has to save the big lug. That’s by Moench & Colan. ‘Tec 546 (By Moench & Colan) has Hamilton Hill frame Batman and then shoot Bullock himself.

      Batman 380 has Hill admonishing Dr. Fang for his failure to kill Bullock, meanwhile Gordon refuses to leave Bullock’s bedside. By the end of this issue (and I won’t go into how and why because I’ll be here all day otherwise), Nightslayer and Batman have switched places. Then, in ‘Tec 547, Moench and Pat Broderick continue the frame up/custody battle storylines. Nightslayer is now acting as Batman and vice versa.

      Finally, it all unravels in Batman 381 by Doug Moench and (another underrated Batman artist) Rick Hoburg. Jason goes back to Bruce, Nocturna is given a second chance at redemption and Batman proves his innocence. Perhaps most importantly, Hamilton Hill goes to jail. Unlike Rupert Thorne, who appears at least once more in the super-fun Royal McGraw story in ‘Tec 825 (‘The Return of Dr. Phosphorus’) Hill is never seen again in the comics (as far as I’m aware).

      From there, I go on to the sterling Mike W. Barr/Alan Davies ‘Detective Comics’ run and onwards to the first appearance of Black Mask. All of which is superb and deserves to be read. After that, following a few detours, I end up in ‘Post-Crisis’ territory and onwards from there.

      Personally, I love ‘Venom’ – its a hard fit into continuity (probably taking place around the same time as ‘Long Halloween’) but its so raw and earnest. Its one of O’Neil’s best Batman stories, in my humble opinion. Also, damn you for having ‘Strange Apparitions’ in issues. Damn you, sir.

  11. i looked through this at work and i don’t follow morrison’s batman but this was suitably badass.

  12. ***SPOILERS***

    From here on out, I be a-spoilin’ be ye warned! Yaaar!

    OK, OK. I was wrong.

    ‘The Fatherless’ does not become the Batman of the 666-verse.

    That moment however, where The Knight and Nightwing break his helmet open to reveal a bald, battered Damian and the look of utter heartbreak and rejection on his little kid face was so brutal. It just hurt so much to lose ‘Damian’ all over again. Honestly, that panel will live with me for a long time. It was horrific, but also very poignant.

    Beneath all that bluster and death, this monster turned out to simply be a Human being, a traumatized child, no less. You just know that was always a part of Talia’s plan. The closest comparison I could think of was from Morrison’s ‘New X-Men’ run, during the ‘Riot at Xavier’s’ storyline, where Quentin Quire dies. However, despite unashamedly loving that run 9and that story especially) I actually think this was better.

    I was all geared up to watch The Fatherless get his comeuppance and Morrison goes and makes me pity him. That accusatory look that he gives the reader, right before he dies, was just so well done.

    There’s a reason that Morrison is my number 1 comic book writer of all time. On a good day, no one else even comes close.

    Hopefully we’ll get the final installment later on this month, after which time I thoroughly look forward to going back and re-reading the entire run. Wow.

    • This was brutal, but done well.

      I actually don’t think it was a “kids” face. The “fatheless” is an adult, but the way Burnham draw, he makes everyone look young. In this case, it actually helps that he does, of course. Great issue.

    • I thought it was a child’s face, but you might be right. However, it certainly wasn’t Kubert’s adult Damian that we’ve seen in the 666-verse and not Burnham’s version of that same character, either. Then again, those stories are set in the future.

      I totally agree that it was done very well. It might have been too ‘on the nose’ in the hands of another creative team, but these guys were spot on.

    • I thought it was totally a child’s face too. And it really looked like Damian.

  13. See, this is what happens when Burnham gets an entire issue to himself. He KILLED it this issue with the layouts and the designs. It gets me a bit annoyed though cause every issue should have been like this. I also like how Morrison makes Bruce so damn angry in this. Him beating the shit out of ‘evil’ Damian (with a twisted reveal late in the issue) was brutal.

    Seriously, this story can end strong if the finale is exactly like this.

    5/5 (POTW)

  14. Getting Burnham to do the entire issue here was a big deal to me. If you read this Chris, thank you! This is totally worth being a late release for this. I won’t expect the extra-sized #13 to be all Burnham, but if he has 20+ pages in his belt I’ll be impressed.

    I have to say that seeing Batman scream a command to his bats in batspeak took this issue to an instant POW for me. Over-the-F’n-top!!!

  15. No one else was bothered by Damien’s clone’s tiny head? Pretty weird considering child Damien has such a huge head. I can explain it away, but only ’cause I have to. “Due to a genetic error in Talia’s cloning techniques, all the clones have tiny heads.” *Sigh* A severe low-point in a pretty solid issue.

    • I commented on it.

      My interpretation had it as part of Talia’s plan. It was deliberate. One more way to mess with Batman’s head. That’s why ‘The Fatherless’ always had a mask on.

  16. First, I gotta ask – why the fuck are Gotham elementary school kids on a field trip at night?! Is it really that fucked up of a city? Are the schools that inept at planning?

    Back to the rest of the book. This jumped the shark more than once for me. So not only are the bats carrying an antidote to the Man-Bat serum, they are somehow trained to attack the Man-Bats, and only the Man-Bats? Ridiculous.

    Was anyone else reminded of “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome” with the whole unmasking of The Fatherless? I was, so much that at first I thought he was also retarded.

    And the whole thing with the lightning striking the “W” on the building and it falling – I get the symbolism, but come on, way too heavy handed.

    3.5/5 for a decent but aborted smack-down.

    • Yeah, I just couldn’t really care about this. The story has gone on waaaay too long and the touches Morrison has added over the last year or so have NOT been enough to keep up my interest.

      I’m honestly surprised that people even care about “The Heretic”. We were introduced to him in 2010, and he’s “just” a Damian clone, which we’ve known for a long time now. Seeing a little kid’s face on a grown body was weird, and a good visual… but it made no sense. I don’t buy the “Talia did it on purpose” explanation because that would mean that Talia expected his helmet to come off?

      It’s just all too contrived and heavy-handed. “Look! It’s little Damian again!” “OMG the lightning hit the big W! It’s like… symbolism! Of… something.”

      Inc. vol. 2 has been a pale shadow of Vol. 1, which in and of itself was worse than Morrison’s Batman and Batman & Robin runs. The whole thing is STILL my favorite superhero run of all time, but the last year has been the worse year of the seven-year run, by far. It’s just way too decompressed and linear; the strength of Morrison’s Batman was its complexity and multi-layered mysteries. Not bloody action sequences with more characters than I can care about.

      Like others have said, if this wasn’t ending so soon, I’d’ve just dropped it, and then probably bought the collected editions years later on sale. Here’s hoping that the final issue will be able to bring back some of the greatness that Morrison’s Batman used to have, because I haven’t seen anything all that special in over six months from Inc.

    • I wouldnt say it was that bad but yeah, definitely some weird occurrences in this issue.

      The kids in the bus were brainwashed a while back but why would they just sit in a schoolbus brandishing weapons, then when the enemy they were brainwashed against happens to appear, they all cower with their knives and hammers. Bruce does show them that their figurehead is nothing but a bawling baby, but even before he does, the kids are already cowering and afraid.

      I really thought Nightwing and Gordon took care of that situation off-comic after it was established, apparently the children just decided to start their own Gotham based re-make of “Lord of the Flies”. Gordon must be hiding out until the rosey-red happy ending in the final pages of next issue.

      The Man-Bat antidote scene was pretty much the silliest part for me. I half expect Batman to shoot bats with bees in their mouths so when the bats screech, bees come out…Monty Burns style.

      The falling W scene wasnt really symbolism because the very tower gets destroyed in the end…which pretty much conveys that very same form of symbolism. I think it was just an odd way to stop Batman, Nightwing, and Knight from pursuing man-baby, therefor Morrison gets his throat-slicing scene before blowing the clone-kid up to smithereens.

  17. They werent on a field trip they were brain washed by leviathan a handful of issues ago.

  18. Very good issue. Seeing Damian’s clone’s head get chopped off really freaked me out.

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