Unless you’ve lived under a rock, you know that next month “Batman” (and all other DC Comics titles) starts over with a new #1. So what do we get this week for the final issue of “Batman” volume 1?
Well, my first instinct is to call it a fill-in issue, but that’s not a 100% accurate phrase. It’s pretty clear that Fabian Nicieza was specifically hired to write this issue (rather than it getting pulled out of an emergency script drawer), but like most fill-in issues, it advances nothing and is utterly generic.
The issue is a retelling of the saga of Batman and Robin, with Batman bringing the different Robins to his side, a glimpse at Nightwing’s disco collar, and the eventual taking over of the Batman cowl by Dick Grayson. In some ways it’s a primer for people who might not know who Dick Grayson and Damian Wayne are. It’s remarkable timing, considering starting next month Bruce Wayne becomes the sole Batman.
To be fair, there’s an additional thread running through the comic about a henchman and his connection to past cases, and where his life eventually leads him. I appreciate that Nicieza tries to offer up something more to the reader than just an origin recap, but it’s still not the most exciting story. Not bad, but nothing special either.
Likewise, the pencils by Steve Scott, Daniel Sampere, and Andrei Bressan are all perfectly generic, but done well enough. I like the clean two-page splash of the early encounter with the Riddler, and (some incongruous blood spray aside) it’s a clean, somewhat wholesome overall look. Considering there are three different artists on pencils alone, I’m also glad that it holds together as well as it does.
“Batman” #713 could have been a nice way to wrap up the series, one big final blow-out issue. (Maybe even a final, “And this is how Bruce took back being the sole Batman” moment, although I suppose that might be getting saved for “Batman Incorporated: Leviathan.”) Instead, though, with Tony Daniel already gone to work on “Detective Comics,” this final issue of “Batman” is left to be a conclusion that no one will remember six months down the line. Not bad, but still disappointing.