Wednesday, July 11, 2012

SPOILERS: Batman #11

It's Bruce Wayne vs. Thomas Wayne Jr. Lincoln March! As Bruce gives his maybe brother a few shots to the face, his punches don't seem to do much to Lincoln, as he slams Bruce through a wall (Talons seem to enjoy that) as he rips off his cape, and sends him out of the building, all the while going on about brother vs. brother stuff. As Bruce is falling, he uses a line to grab on to Lincoln's leg, in an effort to pull him down as well, buuuuut, that doesn't go as planned.

You see, apparently the Owlman suit can fly, something Bruce wasn't expecting. With Bruce attached to him, Lincoln decides to take him for a trip through the city, showing it to his brother as he saw it from his bed in Willowood, maintaining he's still Bruce's brother. Now, as Lincoln slams Bruce into this building, into that bell, he talks... a lot. It's all thematic stuff, which should really be read, instead of my summarization of that, so I'll spare the details. The flight ends with Lincoln attempting to throw Bruce into a jet engine, in mid air. While Bruce holds on for his life, Lincoln doesn't realize Bruce managed to tag him with a little explosive, causing the flight in his suit to fail.

Somehow, Bruce manages to climb from inside the jet engine, to the top of the wing (seriously... I don't know how... it's one of those things where I have to remember the Grant Morrison quote about children and adult's perception of fiction in comics, and just move on, because there's no point in trying to figure out how in god's name one would be able to physically do that) but of course falls off, and starts to plummet back down to Gotham. As he's falling, for a brief moment, Bruce seems at peace, and looks upon the city from above, mentioning how Dick always liked the view from the air of the city, and now he knows why. Back into Batman mode, he activates his high velocity bat rope, and manages to swing into the tower he has under construction in Gotham.

Lincoln finds him there, pulling him out of some wreckage, planting explosives through out the tower, in an effort to kill them both (him only temporarily) while continuing on his thematic monologue. As the explosives start going off, Bruce jabs his thumbs into Lincoln's eyes, and makes his escape. As he runs, he hears Lincoln taunting him, that he'll always be watching him, and he'll never be able to truly escape. As Bruce makes his way out of the building, the entire structure comes falling to the ground.

Sometime later, recouping in Wayne Manor, Dick finds Bruce in his study, a bit disappointed that he can't exactly pay Bruce back for the punch. Bruce on the other hand is glad to see Dick, as the two begin to talk. Bruce informs Dick of the Court, he believes them to be still around, but hurting, and he promises to keep them hurting until he finds them all. Meanwhile, all the captured Talons have been transferred to a cryolab under Black Gate.

Bruce then begins to speak to Dick about the brother situation. Turns out that Martha was pregnant, but the car crash they were involved with left the baby to be born prematurely, but records show it died soon after. Dick plays the devil's advocate, asking if there was any chance his brother could have survived, if records were smudged so to speak. Bruce doesn't believe his parents would have done such a thing, but he admits that he found some informal records of a prematurely born child being admitted to Willowwood a week after his brother's death. He also found records that his mother visited the hospital regularly, but it could have been due to the fact she attended every charity event, and the heart pin could have been honorary. With all this, Dick suggests that Bruce's parents could have kept this secret from him, in an effort not to hurt him, much like the way Bruce kept secrets from him. Addressing that point, the one of Dick being selected as a Talon, and tells Dick even if things happened differently, he wouldn't have been a Talon, he'd be incapable of being one of them, just based on what's inside him. He tells Dick that he was the one who saved him from a dark fate, and continue to do every day. Taken back, now Dick feels really bad about not being able to punch Bruce, but promises to just try and sneak up on him one day.

Bruce continues, ending the arc one the same note it began, speaking about Gotham, and who it belongs to. He admits he was wrong, Gotham doesn't belong to him, but not to the owls, it belongs to everyone. Dick interjects saying "It's a little bit Batman, come on." Bruce tells Dick that he's grateful for the lesson the Court of Owls taught him, but promises that whenever they reemerge, he'll be watching.


Second feature, GO!

As Jarvis Pennyworth continues to be stalked by the Court of Owls' Talon, his letter to Alfred begins to conclude. We see that due to his refusal to comply to the Court's wishes on the day he drove Martha, he was selected to die, thus the Talon. During the Wayne's grieving for their "lost" son, they planted a willow tree on the edge of the cemetery, in honor, but at times, Jarvis would hear Martha whisper to Thomas, speaking of the lost son as if he was alive, but instantly stopping once they noticed Jarvis. As the Talon finally catches up to Jarvis, his letter to Alfred ends, apologizing for all his "fatherly sins," wishing to see him one last time, and pleading with him never to come to Gotham, but unfortunately, the letter ends up burning in the flames.

In the present day, Alfred looks over his father's grave as Bruce approaches. Having found a Pennyworth name in the Court's maze, Bruce suggests they could unearth the body to find what really happened. Alfred feels no need to, as he usually being the human element that grounds Bruce, reminds him that whatever they may find will not change anything, as he had spent a "lifetime" trying to make sense of who his father was, but doesn't want to "literalize the process." Despite all that, he tells Bruce that if the Court of Owls was in fact responsible for his father's death, what has happened in the past few weeks is more than enough tribute. Bruce, being the man of science he is, still thinks they should know for sure, but Alfred remains steady in his convictions, saying he knows everything about his father he needs to, same as Bruce does with his brother. Even if Lincoln is his biological brother, Alfred reminds Bruce that he still lost his brother that day, and that they should let the dead rest, undisturbed.


Soooooooooo, the Court of Owls epic is finally over. Final thoughts for me? Actually, I'm a bit disappointed. Yes, yes... how can that be so? Well, let me preface this, I thought the issue as a whole was great. It was heavy on thematic devices, of which I loved, I loved the final scene with Dick, which eased up on any "tension" some fans thought they had for some reason, the humanizing element of Alfred in the back up was brilliant, and the ambiguity left with the Court and Lincoln is perfect, fits great. All that being said, the pay off just felt a bit anticlimactic. A good bulk of the issue was just Lincoln flying Bruce around, while he talked. Like I said in the spoilers, a lot of the talking was stuff that played with the themes. Alright, fine... but at face value, not a whole lot happened in this issue. #10 was the big punch to your gut, but this one, I don't know. The best analogy I can make for it will be best understood if you know baseball...

Imagine it's the top of the 9th, home team is winning 5 to 3. The closing pitcher comes in to wrap the game up, but instead of a 1-2-3 inning, easy save, he maybe gives up two hits and a run, but eventually gets the third out, and wins 5 to 4. He got the job done, and it's great that they won, but it wasn't perfect.

Now, I can't fault Snyder and company for this too much. By the nature of this story and the climax it had last issue, it was a tough feat to close perfectly. The story has been nearly a year long, and there was SO MUCH build up, that anything short of absolute perfection would be somewhat of a disappointment.

In the end though, this issue was great, and this arc was fantastic, so whatever faults I may have with this issue, are greatly outweighed by the bigger picture.


No comments :

Post a Comment