Review by: akamuu

What did the
community think?

Avg Rating: 3.8
Users who pulled this comic:
Variant cover by CHRIS SPROUSE
Sketch Variant cover by ANDY KUBERT

Size: 48 pages
Price: 3.99

If you have absolutely loved everything Grant Morrison has written lately, then you will absolutely love this.  If, however, you read for story content, and not for the name on the front, then this is an interesting art project by Chris Sprouse with text that someone Stan Leed into the issue.  No, I’m not saying the writing is as silver-age over-the-top as The Generalissimo, or whatever Lee is calling himself on Twitter this week; I’m saying that this reads as though someone wrote the story to go along with the art.  As opposed to an artist drawing to the story.  There are typical Morrisony “clues” to what’s going on in Morrison’s head, but that doesn’t make this comic interesting, unless you are someone who really likes the inside of Morrison’s head (and I realize those people are myriad).  There isn’t a story here.  There’s code.  And it ties into Final Crisis and Batman RIP and Batman and Robin and probably The Invisibles and New X-Men and Animal Man.  And while Stephen King managed to almost seamlessly tie his entire universe together (almost, almost) in such a way that it made his work stronger, I think Morrison would be better served to just write a story, instead of trying to connect everything.

I read this title against my better judgement.  And while I will continue to read (and, hopefully, continue to enjoy, Joe The Barbarian), this issue assures me that Pilgrim Batman, Viking Batman, Pirate Batman, Cross-Dressing Shakespearean Boy Batman, and Naughty Nurse Batman will all fail to live up to the promise of their concepts.  They may, however, have very pretty art.

Story: 1 - Poor
Art: 4 - Very Good


  1. Sounds awesome. Can’t wait!

  2. "There isn’t a story here"?

    Typical "If I don’t understand it, it’s incomprehensible"-style response.

    There’s tons of story here.

    At least you realize that there’s more to this than the surface-level, but it’s disappointing that you can’t even name one of these "clues" or what you think it means. If you’re simply unable to comprehend any of these "clues", the way tens of THOUSANDS of other readers have no problem doing, then why even have the arrogance to say that the writing is "Poor"? Why continue to review Morrison Batman comics if you obviously neither like nor "GET" what’s going on? Are you intellectually threatened or something? As a fan of this stuff, I wouldn’t think less of you if you just said "It’s not for me, I hate it" and walked away. That’s a totally valid response. But reviewing every single issue just so say that it’s bad is kind of mean, you know?

    And how can all of this stuff be about "what’s going on in Morrison’s head" if it’s all so fundamentally connected to the history of Batman as a character? Morrison isn’t living inside his own head; he’s referencing Batman history. And the ideas of his that are HIS IDEAS – he’s hit on them before, yes. So what’s the problem? That’s like having a problem with all of the Lantern Corps in Green Lantern. "Ugh what’s this Red Lantern nonsense again!" At a certain point, you have to be willing to LEARN about what a writer is doing, otherwise you’re just continually, repeatedly reacting to your own prejudices of "MY Batman shouldn’t be like that".

    And to say that people only read this for the name on the cover? That’s insulting. We read it for the content. You can go to many, many message boards and blogs and see tons of posts all about the content. And, no those posts don’t continually call Morrison a "genius" and suck up to him. They actually talk about all the content and stories going on in the issues. If you don’t understand any of what you’ve read over the last few years, you might have thought to actually look some of these sites up so you can actually not be ignorant of what you’re reading?

    Joe the Barbarian? Meh.

  3. @froggulper: You haven’t actually read this yet, have you.

    You’re just responding to my review because it’s a negative review of a Morrison title that you HAVEN’T READ YET.

    Therefore your argument about what’s in this particular issue is completely invalid.  An while I’m sure there are some people who are reading this book for the content, and not because Morrison’s name is on the cover, you don’t seem to be one of them as you are, in fact, defending a book YOU HAVEN’T YET READ.

    I could say that your response is typically pseudo-intellectial, but that would be further insulting.  It would be on par with your "Typical ‘If I don’t understand it, it’s incomprehensible’-style response." insult.

    I reviewed this issue in hopes that I would enjoy it more than I’ve enjoyed the last few issues of his Batman & Robin.  Sadly, I did not.

    It’s great that you want to invest a lot of time tracking down websites with people who agree with your opinions on Grant Morrison’s Batman run.  I’m glad you’ve forund those communties.  But why are you so threatened by those of us who find his reading unnecessarily convoluded?

    I find that most of his Batman work is subpar for him, and subpar for Batman.  His page to page, issue to issue writing doesn’t hold up to his admittedly lofty, and probably well-planned out ideals.  Yes, you can spend a great deal of time reading into his work and discussing it over frappuccinos with people in small glasses who think his work on Batman is stimulating, but it seems to me that you (and I mean, in particular you, not everyone who is enjoying Morrison’s work) think that somehow liking this run makes you better than people who aren’t enjoying it.  Smarter.

    I have read pretty much (not all, but nearly all) of the modern era Batman stories.  A Serious House On Serious Earth is one of my all-time favorites.  The first few issues of Batman & Robin are right up there, too.  In the latter case, he seemed to have balanced his overall story idea with a fun, engaging story.  Something he rarely did before, and hasn’t done since.

    I don’t go to websites to read up on Morrison’s bigger picture for the same reason you might not read up on Brazilian Surrealist Sculptures of the 1940s (maybe you do, I’m using that as a random example): I don’t care that much.

    I’ve reviewed all his work because, in case you hadn’t noticed, I review many books.  Sometimes I read books that I don’t think I’ll like.  Much as you appear to read reviews that you’re pretty sure you won’t like.  In that way, we appear to have something in common.

  4. I probably should’ve stopped after the first sentence.  Morrison’s entire Batman run is probably in my top 5 of the past 5 years.

    It’s too bad you’re not enjoying this, but I can promise you the reasons the rest of us are has nothing to do with the name on the cover.  I dropped Joe the Barbarian after issue #2

  5. @akamuu Grant Morrison is a very frustrating writer to read in issues.  I’ve found, for me, that at least 8/10 times I go back and read an entire arc or work of his that I enjoy it more.  Maybe he’s just a tpb/hc type of writer.  I know, for me, this format has always been more pleasurable regarding his work.  Have you ever gone back and read any of his works as a comprehensive piece?  Has that ever changed your initial opinions?

  6. @vadamowers- I read Invisibles in one long run and was ultimately let down by that series. On the other hand, I read All-Star Superman as it came out and at certain points, I would finish an issue and read all the rave reviews  on the internet and really didn’t see what all the fuss was about. The art was awesome so I continued to get it even though reading it made me feel stupid because I couldn’t figure out why everyone was in such awe of it. Then when I reread it as one long story later on, it suddenly clicked in my head what Morrison was trying to do story-wise and my mind was instantly blown. For me it was like the comic book equivalent of a Radiohead album. 



    Sorry that was kinda long and pointless.  

  7. @vadamowens: I, actually, enjoyed a few issues of his Batman run early on, but when I went back and read them in trade, I found that I enjoyed them less.  (And then I went back and reread A Serious House On Serious Earth, and still loved it.)  I really feel like his work for the last few years has been tremendous outlining, but weak actualization, made all the weaker by comparison with the few issues that really work.  I don’t think that anyone would argue that the beginning of his Batman & Robin run wasn’t written with the same goals in mind as the rest of his run.  Yet, he told that whole story, not fragments of it. Ahhh, you know the tune I’ve been whistling.  😉

    @cutty: I"m glad you’re enjoying it.

  8. @JesseG: That’s what I think about Morrison’s Batman run!  *ba-dum-ching!*

  9. @jesseg.  mmmm. Radiohead. Also, you have a very Spartan physique.  Do you work out?


  10. Tough not to be suspicious of a review that accuses a Morrison book of not having a story.
    The review itself reads even more preoccupied with the Grant Morrison name than the imaginary people it’s accusing. Further irony can be found at the distinct lack of information about the book, to a degree similar to what the comic’s writing is also accused. This review contains really pretty artwork, though. I give the art a 4.

  11. Akamuu writes some generalizations in order to avoid spoilers.  He rarely, if ever?, writes reviews with spoilers. That being said, I really don’t think he’s attacking anything in particular.  Just expressing some discontent with his current work on Batman.  But once again, how can you know the flaws in his review if you yourself have yet to read the content.  It just seems like you’re arguing for the sake of argument.

  12. Thank you, @akamuu, for your honestly.  I hope I enjoy this more than you did 

  13. @vadamowens Cognitive brain function does wonders!

  14. @stulach: I hope you do, too. 

    @Mike: As vadamowens points out, I don’t do spoilers very often in my reviews, because I write them before most people read their comics.  My "there is no story here" comment is hyperbole.  There’s a plot outline here.  And stylized caveman talk that nearly works.  But it’s spare: a see-through sarong of stories: flowy, pretty, but barely covering anything up.  And I agree that the artwork is pretty, it’s by the same guy who worked with Morrison on this.

    What I like about a lot of the flack people take for not loving Morrison (I’m not nearly the only one, I just write the most reviews) is that, if they get really focused on why they don’t like the specific issue, the criticism is that you need to focus on his entire work because it’s so complex and interweaved.  If you critique his work with a wide angle lens, then you’re not giving credit to the specific issue.  A lot (not all, understand, not all) of the people will not be happy until everyone appreciates the sheer genius that they believe Morrison is.  Ehhh.  He’s a hit or miss writer like most people.  And, based on this first issue, I think this series is going to be a bigger miss than Batman & Robin.

  15. @MikeHasseloff: And your "Cognitive brain function" remark directed at vadamowens means, I’m not going to waste any more time with you, as that is exactly the Smarter Than Thou bullshit attitude that turns me off of many (not all but, in this case, you) Morrison defenders.

  16. @mike lol. grow the fuck up.

  17. @akamuu I had to look up sarong.  I hate you for that…

  18. @vadamowens: If you look up most strangers’ sarongs, you end up spending a night or two in the pokey.

  19. @akammu-Good review.  I will find out for myself later today if I agree with it or not, but your review has made me really want to see if the book is a story or a puzzle piece.  Thumbs up for presenting a cogent review of something that you didn’t like.  Most who wirte a negative review just bash.  But this review makes me want to see for myself.

  20. Sadly I agree with you akamuu.  I love this run and still have high hopes for the story, but this was pretty below average.

  21. It is official: I like Morrison as much as I like Geoff Johns. That is, not at all. Oh well. Too bad I had to preorder the first few "Return of Bruce Wayne" issues.

  22. In terms of sweeping generalizations, I think there’s a sizeable portion of discontent Morrison readers that would get a lot more out of their issues if they were less preoccupied with the reputation of the man (and how supposedly oh-so nutty he is), and focused more on the contents of their comic book. In terms of a review, I was disappointed that none of the remarks (or hyperbole) elaborated on the book itself. Informative text ("information") would’ve been nice and what I was browsing for, not to be confused with outright spoilers. This was a one-line user comment written for the trade.

    I don’t have any great problem with being critical of this particular writer. If anything, it’s almost par for the course that the first few floppy issues of a Grant Morrison superhero book are going to lack complete context by their very nature. In this case, we’re probably at least aware of some of the looming details because it’s adding retroactive context to stuff that’s been running throughout the entire Batman/Batman and Robin run. Which is a fun, characteristic layer of Morrison’s style that feels very indulgent of the serialized nature of comics, in particular the fluid big ideas of superheroes. It also makes it seem completely unreasonable to say there’s no (see; bad) story — which you apparently agree with (see; hyperbole), which is nice enough.

    When it comes to blunt confusion, the smarter than thous might have a point. That seemed to be the case with Final Crisis, where most complaints boiled down to a short attention span (something Josh noted on the last podcast as a factor in review) and loaded expectations of context. I can’t help but notice the iFanboy podcast reviews of B&R have lacked some of the more interesting details/context, some through oversight, some through a lack of indulgence (ie; Oberon Sexton’s identity).

    Obviously every reader is going to be subject to tastes. That’s as fair as reviewing a comic book issue within that singular context. It’s worth remembering in the MORRISON CRUSADES that this is a serialized medium that’s made on-going plots and contexts it’s bread and butter for seventy-odd years, however, and that reading it with that knowledge is a good way to enjoy the product you’re investing time and/or money in. It’s also worth remembering that it’s as easy to be fixated on the irrelevance of a name in the negative, as it is the positive.

    At the end of the day, we all presumably enjoy comics discussion regardless of agreement, and do it with our own frames of reference. I wouldn’t expect every reader to respond ecstatically to a Morrison book. I wouldn’t expect every user to respond to another’s hyperbole that way, either.

  23. Now that was a hell of a lot more civil.  Thank you for proving my assumptions wrong.

  24. @akamuu I wonder what you would have thought if Morisson’s name wasn’t on the cover. I agree that he is Hit or Miss but I don’t think you do. I guess I am kinda new to comics and guess what your gonna hate this… Batman R.I.P. got me into Batman, and buying comics every Wednesday. I don’t think he is a Genius but I like what he has done with Batman, pitting him against crazy supernatural odds has made him more bad ass as well as sparked interest in readers to go back and read some of the silly Supernatural part of the Bat. Thats just plain smart marketing. I am sorry you didn’t enjoy it, but I don’t expect anyone to enjoy a comic that they said they were not going buy/like.

    A 1 for story? You didn’t like the joker joke? I thought any bat-fan would like that. Or Chief Savage talking about eating his brains in the Morning? And the writer should get some credit for what you see because a lot of it comes from his imagination, so if you gave the art a 4 the story deserves at least a 2!

    As for writing for the Art, I think thats a plus. I am more interested in story but thinking about how your artist is going to tell that story, and not just the words, is equally important and even more creative. 

    @MattHaseloff thank you for your rant. 

  25. Here we go again.

  26. @hunter – to me you’re almost arguing akamuu’s side, any other writer and a laughing caveman called the joker is just stupid.  I’m a monster Morrison-Batman fan, but I think he gets more credit that he deserves, just as much as he gets dismissed by non-fans.  I don’t see how this issue was in any way imaginitive, it was a somewhat campy caveman story with pretty obvious homages.

  27. I’m just saying it was fun.

  28. @anyone really: I didn’t give it a one due to it being Morrison, or as a comparison to other Morrison works.  I recently finished reading all the Modern Age Batman stories in trade.  Some of it I loved (or else I wouldn’t have kept reading it), and some was awful.  I found this to be well on the side of terrible. 

    @HuntresSThompson: I didn’t find the joke funny.  Not because it was Morrison but because I just didn’t find it funny.  It’s great that you enjoyed the book.  I didn’t.  While I’m not enjoying Batman & Robin, I think it’s vastly superior to this. 

    @MikeHasselhof: "It’s also worth remembering that it’s as easy to be fixated on the irrelevance of a name in the negative, as it is the positive." is very true.  I feel that I was harsher with Batman & Robin than I should have been on the writing because of Morrison.  I still feel it was bad, but not terrible.  This, howver, I just thought failed to deliver on either fun time or a well-told story. 

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