Super Types

May 13, 2010

DC Reviews: Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #1

Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #1

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Chris Sprouse
Cover: Andy Kurbert

Warning: Spoilers Ahead!

14 months ago we last saw Bruce Wayne in the pages of Final Crisis as a victim of Darkseid’s omega beam, huddled in a cave, and lost in time (We’re just going to ignore the helicopter crash Bruce was also involved in from Batman #681). Though Superman emerged with a charred skeleton wearing shards of the Bat-suit, if you’ve been following Grant Morrison’s Batman and Robin, you’ll know that the body in Superman’s arms was merely a clone. After over a year away from DC cannon, the whereabouts of Bruce Wayne are finally revealed!

Beginning, as it would appear, only minutes after Bruce’s expulsion from the 21st century, Bruce emerges from a cave in front a clan of cavemen. Nearby is a mysterious rocket ship containing a few familiar objects. Unable to understand anything Bruce says, the cavemen, as most cavemen types do, accept Bruce as a god after a scuffle with a rival clan led by an early Vandal Savage.

When Bruce is captured by the rival group, his ritualistic sacrifice is planed, but a cave boy saves the stranger, and a fight between Bruce Wayne and Savage begins. A few gadgets from Bruce’s utility belt ends the battle, and Bruce and the cave boy flee from the rest of Savage’s men, jumping off a great cliff into a river. A time traveling search team consisting of Booster Gold, Green Lantern and Superman arrives, looking for Bruce, but misses him by only seconds as Bruce finds himself in a new era, thousands of years away from his previous one.

Bruce Wayne's last apparence from Final Crisis #7

The inevitable return of Bruce Wayne is an event that comics fans have been anticipating since the moment he disappeared in time, and doesn’t exactly live up to the expectations I think most fans had for the come back of the Batman.

The story takes an interesting angle, being told from the perspective of the cavemen who found him. Bruce has only a few lines of dialogue throughout the story in the form of gibberish as perceived by his Flintstone friends, but as we know, Bruce is the type of guy whose actions speak louder than his words, and that translates well through Chris Sprouse’s art. The caveman mentality of “Stranger…sorcerer…god” seems a little over used to the point of being cliche, and Bruce wearing a six-foot bat skin seems pretty silly, but at its heart, the story was simple enough to be enjoyable for any reader.

Sprouse’s style is as basic and stripped down as the time period Bruce is lost in, and that’s not a put down. This is easily an issue that could tell the same story without the dialogue. And Guy Major’s color palate really helps bring the simplicity of the pencils to life.

This was a fun issue and the series shows huge potential as long as readers are willing to not take it so seriously. I like to think of this series so far as kind of like “Bruce Wayne’s Excellent Adventure” even though I’m sure that wasn’t DC or Grant Morrison’s intention. I’m looking forward to the next stop through time.

Andrew Hurst



  1. Eli

    So happy that Bruce is coming back. I remember them (DC) really playing up Bruce “fighting” his way through time on his way back, and how awesome it was going to be. I guess we’ll have to wait and see what other kind of situations he gets thrown into. I’m pretty sure he’ll run into Jonah Hex at some point along the way, especially with the movie coming out.

  2. Wait, what? The skeleton was a clone? So when did the clone appear?
    Also…trapped in time???? Come on, they’re ripping off Marvel and Cap’s return. Lame.

  3. Hopefully all of that will be explained Kris and hopefully it won’t be as silly though it already is.
    I don’t remember Bruce being able to make clones of himself but it’s comics and it kind of makes sense when goin up against Darksied Bruce is just a normal guy when it’s usually taken Supes to put DS on his ass.

  4. Ah! I still have to read it!

  5. Muzzy

    Bruce didn’t make clones of himself, Darkseid made a lot of Bruce clones during Final Crisis. He killed most of them as they went insane due to the trauma Bruce has experienced in his life but kept one, claiming it would be ‘useful’ to him. He probably planted the body, knowing that if he managed to hit Bruce with the Omega Sanction everyone would find the body and think Bruce was dead.

  6. Jacob

    Bruce never made clones of himself, fools. Darkseid made clones of Bruce.

  7. Billy

    Ahhh, so it would appear that DC brings back “dead” characters too. Where’s the public outcry? lol

  8. InfiniteSpeech

    Final Crisis was a corny story that tried too hard and was pretty forgetable so forgive us if we forgot the fine points of that crucial but corny ass plot line. and see we did that without calling people names either

  9. Final Crisis didn’t try too hard at all- Morrison just knows his history of the DCU better than you!

    +1 Grant Morrison!!

  10. You can like FC all you want man I didn’t think it lived up to the hype and fell a bit short and with all of the tie ins which I own and did read some of those had more pop than the actual core title.

    Actually I don’t think that years from now FC will be on the lips of everyone as one of the pinnacle DC stories and definitely not one of the top Crisis tales.

  11. The finished cover for the book looks kinda like this Frazetta cover

  12. wvjdmu

    People on here shouldnt really comment on things when it appears they do not read into the things they say. Final Crisis may be too deep for some and complex. Corny?? Come on man..I agree with Andy all the way on that, if you know DC history then it would make sense to you. Calling stories lame because you dont know the details is incredibly noble also. Kudos to the guys that actually seem to follow and know about things before the post them.

  13. I just re-read it and noticed an angle that went over my head the first time around- did you see the beads Bruce holds at one point? And then the kid whose the caveman version of Robin- his parents get murdered in front of him just like Bruce.

    Morrison is fucking brilliant!

  14. Aron

    This was stupid. Batman doesn’t belong in space, space crafts, or trapped in time. Batman belongs on the streets of Gotham, kicking people in the face with his Bat Boots.

  15. Excuse me for not being on the FC bandwagon and yes I do understand that historical plot points were cleared up but that doesn’t automatically make it a great story. I own every FC book BECAUSE I wanted that finality and completion however some of it was IMO corny! Yes it’s an opinion that you can either agree or disagree with but just because it’s not the same as YOURS don’t kick back and put mine down.
    If you thought every tie in was a brilliant piece of work then that’s on you and that’s cool you like it, I just didn’t happen to think so but because my opinion differs from yours don’t assume that I’m ignorant to the source material or details either.

  16. […] Wayne is trapped in another time period. This time the Dark Pilgrim has been transported from last issue’s cave man era to the late 17th century. Set in the very early years of Gotham City, Wayne, […]

  17. […] This issue moves the many different plot points forward significantly. We get a clearer understanding of the messages Bruce has been sending Dick Grayson in the future, and how Bruce himself has had an impact on his own family history and the birth of the superhero as a whole, inspiring not just Valor to “continue the work” by dawning a cape and cowl, but an entire people (or Bat-People) dating back 11,000 years to the first issue. […]

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