I am sure that eventually, somebody within DC Marketing will envision a Grant Morrison Batman omnibus that collects his now historic runs of “Batman and Son” and “R.I.P.” (and its various preludes) along with his 16-issue Batman and Robin, the Arkham Asylum graphic novel, and even the tales collected as Batman Gothic.
That’s from Nathan Wilson’s review of Grant Morrison’s Return of Bruce Wayne up on the Comics Journal website.
And yes, you read that right: Morrison’s run on “Batman and Son” and “R.I.P.” are “now historic.” After all, they occurred in the past. And…Batman! Grant Morrison! They must be important.
The rest of the review slides seamlessly from that low terrain into dank and oleaginous depths of fannish bosh. Morrison is praised for the signal achievement of writing an episodic story that can also be collected into hardcover, as if the history of serialization started last year rather, than several centuries ago. He’s patted on the back for his utterly derivative and uninteresting “pirate voices” and for his utterly derivative and uninteresting “experiment” with time travel. Finally as a denoument, Wilson earnestly informs us that:
As with most of Morrison’s work, a second or even fourth read-through is essential not only to catch various clues and hints about the story and Batman’s larger, historical continuity, but also to unravel and appreciate the gems that Morrison often includes in each of his writings.
Or, you know, alternately you could not even read it once. You’d find about as many gems, and you wouldn’t have to pretend that the confusion attendant upon incoherent continuity porn is caused by intellectual depth.
I’m not opposed to someone liking the Return of Bruce Wayne. It’s a pretty shitty comic, but people like Jog or Tucker Stone or Matt Seneca can often praise genre comics I think are shitty in ways that are stimulating or interesting. But …”historic”? That’s just embarrassing. The Comics Journal was created pretty much explicitly to crush this kind of hagiographic fanboy drivel. Yet, there it is, sitting on their home page, blandly assuring us that if Grant Morrison says it, it must be worth respecting.
There are other things on the TCJ website at the moment. Rich Kreiner, for example, has a very entertaining old school drubbing of this year’s Best American Comics anthology: kind of late to the party, but nonetheless quite enjoyable. Still, that Morrison Batman review seems like a soggy headstone of sorts; a dull, damp “thplutz” as we close the door on this wretched, lazy, irrelevant incarnation of the Journal. Here’s hoping for better times soon.