BATMAN #49

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[ CAVE INTO THOSE COUPONS
We bat-fans have been waiting for the following comic book for quite some time. Not because it's about Bruce Wayne finally reclaiming his true past, but because Bruce may finally get a shave in it. It's February, 2016, and Scott Snyder, Yanick Paquette, plus DC Comics have gone to the barbers.

TO QUOTE Victor Frankenstein: 'It's Alive! It's Alive! IT'S ALIVE!!!'.

THE REVIEW:
This issue of Batman starts off as if it wasn't a continuation from last month's episode. Stylistically the colors are more vibrant in tone, and you can't help but notice that the books panels are circular in design, world-shaped, and depicts alternate versions of Batman being killed off, one by one by one.

By the second page of the book we're presented with a very strange tale where Bruce is the Mayor of Gotham City, and he's being advised by the Court of Owls not to take part in an imminent threat. Now we don't immediately discover what that imminent threat actually is, as it's merely insinuated that it's something big, too big for 'a Batman' to handle. Further down the line we then discover other things about this alternate sequence which is just as shocking: Like the fact that Bruce is now married to Julia and has had a child with her, as well as him hiring Joe Chill, his parent's murderer, to be his grounds-man, aiding him in his role as Batman.

Thankfully, by page five we jump back to where the last issue left off: With Bruce asking Alfred to take him down to the Batcave so he can take on his rightful mantel. Obviously Alfred doesn't really want to do this for Bruce, and pleads with him that he should stay in his current life, his current normal life, and just allow for another hero to fend off Mister Blooms attack on Gotham. But Bruce is insistent. He wants to be Batman. No. He seemingly needs to be Batman. And so after some more heartfelt pleading on Alfred's behalf, boo-hoo-hoo, Bruce somehow manages to persuade him to do what he wants: Try to make him Batman once again.




Well, for those of you who've been following this 'Super Heavy' story-line from the beginning, I'm sure you'll remember that episode where it's unveiled that Bruce once devised a machine to give birth to other Batmen once he was no longer with us. According to Alfred this machine doesn't work, as all it does is fry people's brains by bombarding them with memories of a Batman.

Yes. That's right. I said 'A Batman'. Just like the one depicted in the initial alternate sequence, thus making it's presence in this book seem more logical in context. 

From that moment onward's the narrative flips back and forth between Bruce and Alfred in this existing continuity, to Bruce and whoever in another. In one panel we see Batman leading a group of 'Batmen' comprising the likes of Poison Ivy, Killer Crock, and the Penguin. In another we see Bruce as a detective and Gordon as Batman. In another panel we see a grizzled Batman-Beyond styled Batman, gasping for his last breath. And of course, we also get the conclusion of the initial alternate reality sequence, where Batman, that brightly colored Batman, makes the ultimate sacrifice, BOOOM! Ta-ta!!!

Now I could go on and explain to you if Bruce (our Bruce) finally becomes Batman, that's if he and Alfred (and maybe Julia) can get that God damn machine to work. But no. You don't want me to spoil the surprise. What you really want me to do is say if I actually liked reading this issue or not. And I did, I suppose, I did like the fact that Alfred showed he really loves Bruce, and would do nigh on anything to make him happy.

I also liked the artwork provided by Yanick Paquette. Despite slightly missing the regular artwork by Greg, on the whole Yanick didn't do a bad job on being his replacement. His characters showed emotion and his style was clearly defined, making this special issue a very special issue indeed.

Scott's story-line was simultaneously special. On a conceptual level there wasn't very much depth to the general premise: Bruce has to persuade Alfred to help him become the Batman again. Yet with the additional layer of those alternate flashback sequences, floating in and out of the plot, in some way it made the overall experience more magical to follow, captivating even.

So yeah, all in all this installment of Batman is a must read for any Bruce Wayne fan. As much as it's an alternate take on his character, in the same breath it's also an innovation on what has come before.  

THE MUSIC:
You are really going to groan when you click on the video I selected for this months musical match up. It's a song by the English pop-quartet, Bucks Fizz, and it's called 'Making Your Mind Up', simply because that's what Bruce wants to do.

Sigh!




THE COMPARISON:
Was it just me or did you also get a weird mad-scientist type vibe emanating off of this comic? In my eyes it was as though Alfred was playing Victor Frankenstein and Bruce was playing the monster, strapping him down onto a work-bench and hoping that the beast will jump back to life.

Ouch! Was that too much of a comparison? But then again, comparison made.  

THE CONCLUSION:
OK. So this is it, Bat-fans. How do you think this story ends, and can you guess what Bruce's final fate will be? Could he have...

  1. Simply died: Arrgh!! Ka-put! R.I.P. B.I.G.
  2. Mistakenly been transformed into Batwoman: Beware Katherine Kane, you've now got some real serious competition!
  3. Gotten two cavities filled and had a quick mouth wash: Always brush twice a day, kids, Ding!
  4. Re-emerged as Justin Bieber: Nooooo! Nooooo! Nooooo!
  5. Become Batman: What? Too Easy?
  6. Decided to have a replacement knee operation despite not having any problems with his knee: What? Too much like my Uncle?
  7. Had a quick shave to tidy up his appearance: Funny thing is, Bruce's beard did a vanishing act in this issue, and I never even saw him shave.
  8. Fall asleep: Actually, that's not a bad idea. ZZZzzzzzz
Nuff said.

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