Overview

Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #3

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Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #3

Credits

  • Words: Grant Morrison
  • Art: Yanick Paquette
  • Inks: Michel Lcombe
  • Colors: Nathan Fairbairn
  • Story Title: "The Bones of Bristol Bay"
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Jun 23, 2010

Although it veers a little too close to Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean in terms of story and plot at times, Grant Morrison's Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #3 is by far the best of the series.

With each issue, as Bruce recalls more and more of his forgotten life, Morrison expands the cast of characters to accommodate not only Batman's larger Gotham cadre, but also those heroes within the Justice League.  While the first couple of pages are fun pirate fare as Bruce finds himself shipwrecked and at the mercy of Blackbeard, the issue really takes off when Bruce leads the pirates into the Gotham caves in search of fabled treasure.  Part Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade, part detective genre, the interplay between Bruce and Jack Valor as they traverse the Miagani tribal caves is fascinating as Valor reveals intricate clues about the traps and Bruce relies upon his decades of scientific training and study to decipher them.  With each new revelation Morrison gives his audience, however, he only increases the suspense and intensity of the ensuing drama.  Witnessing how this story unfolds and how each layer is subtly pulled back to illustrate yet another is simultaneously frustrating and invigorating as Morrison plays with the intrigue surrounding Bruce's return.

Just what dire scenario Bruce's time travelling journey holds for the fate of the DC Universe is developed even further as Batman (Dick Grayson) and Robin (Damian) return to the scene of Darkseid's torture chamber where the duplicate Batman was gestated.  Even though the spiked syringes may have extracted Bruce's memories and core as part of Darkseid's experiment to create a doppelganger, a more insidious dilemma is perhaps what they may have implanted into Bruce that now drives him forward.  Darkseid's machinations aside, there are larger forces at work and the Miagani prophecies regarding the "all-over" may relate to the imminent destruction Superman hinted at in the last issue.  Whether or not Bruce remembers his real name and identity when he comes face-to-face with his cape, cowl, boots, and utility belt is still unknown.  It seems, however, that regardless of the humanitarian intentions, be it of Bruce or the Black Pirate, the records kept by Valor and the bat-designed casket may hold both the answers to Bruce's return as well as the keys to the ultimate destruction of the universe.

Batman: RoBW #3 also welcomes the addition of Yanick Paquette as artist.  Usually, when one artist leaves a well-established title and another comes aboard, the transition between styles, design, and approach can be disjointing.  Not so here with issue #3.  As it should be, each issue feels like a seamless movement from the last and by inviting new artists to interpret the different environments Bruce encounters, each installment stands equally with the last.  That is a testament not only to the artists involved with the series who capture the character's core essence, but also to the character of Bruce Wayne/Batman in that he lends himself so well to the many varied interpretations over the years.

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