But I’m certainly pleased that (if the rumors are true) it will not be the ending!
Batman #682 and 683, read together, creates a delightful look at Batman’s history, and really, in a way, Batman (and Alfred)’s psychological make-up.
Lee Garbett and Trevor Scott would not be my first choice for perhaps Grant Morrison’s last issue of Batman, but they do an admirable job on the artwork (and I think a step-up from Daniel’s art on R.I.P.).
Last issue depicted the events of the (mostly out of continuity) Pre-Crisis Batman, while this issue continues the story of Batman to the present day, as The Lump attempts to bombard Batman with false memories so that they can steal his real memories.
So we get a mish-mash of real memories mixed in with some what ifs, including what if Bruce Wayne’s parents never died and he became an ineffectual fop.
Ultimately, though, we see Batman figure out what is going on and actually use his own memories as a sort of weapon against the Lump (and the Bat-clones) by turning his torment upon them, causing the clones to try to kill himselves, as, essentially, no one can live with the amount of pain Batman has gone through.
Clever stuff, and it is quite impressive how well Morrison works in all the eras of Batman’s life (he even throws in a great line about Batman coming back from Bane breaking his back).
We also see Batman’s humanity, as he connects with the Lump, as the Lump knows as much about Batman as anyone else now.
There is also a scene tying the ending of R.I.P. in with Final Crisis which was nice to see, if only because I know some folks were quite concerned about that.
Finally, perhaps the best part of the whole comic is a little speech Alfred gives about Batman. I think I’m going to quote it here, if only because the rest of the comic is good enough that knowing this awesome speech is not going to really affect you one way or the other, but in case you think it would, don’t read the following!
I did once consider resigning my position in the Wayne household. “I need a disguise,” he said and I thought he’d finally gone mad with grief, especially those next words…but when I saw what he meant, when I watched how he surrendered himself to an ideal…how he used each ordeal, each heartache and failure, to be come a better man, in the service of others…what could I do but stand in humble awe? And keep his wounds clean and his uniform tidy. And send him safely on his way. “I shall become a bat.”
Alfred follows with a speech almost as cool regarding Batman’s obituary, but I think I’ll leave that for you all to read in the book itself.
So yeah, had this been the end, it would have been good.
But I’m glad it is not the end.