Bruce Pilgrim vs. the World

Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #2

Bruce Wayne is lost in time — after spending some time in prehistory, he awakens in colonial-era Gotham, fights a time-monster, and is rescued by a witch named Annie. Elsewhen, Superman, Green Lantern, Booster Gold, and Rip Hunter visit the Vanishing Point, the final 10 minutes before the end of the universe, where the high-tech temporal archivist explains a few details of time travel. Back in colonial days, Bruce has gotten acclimated and taken up a new identity as Brother Mordecai, a witchfinder with a serious bent toward detective work and uncovering non-witch scam artists. He’s opposed, however, by Brother Malleus, who takes his witchfinding very, very seriously. Will Bruce be able to keep Annie safe? Will he be able to foil Malleus’ plots? Will he be able to defeat the time-monster? And why is the time archivist stranding the superheroes at the end of the universe?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Artist Frazer Irving worked on the similarly-themed “Klarion” miniseries during Grant Morrison’s “Seven Soldiers” event, and his art is wonderful — though I do wish he’d made Bruce Wayne look a bit different from Brother Malleus. Aside from that, it’s another excellent issue. Gee, ain’t it a wonder that a fanatic like Bruce Wayne makes such a great pilgrim?

Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam! #16

Black Adam is back, and he’s empowered Freddy Freeman as Black Adam Junior. While Captain Marvel and Black Adam are mystically unable to harm each other, Black Adam Junior is able to hurt Cap, so while Junior pounds on the hero, Black Adam uses the distraction to look for the ancient scarab medallion he believes will make him even more powerful. When he can’t find it, he accuses Cap of hiding it, and he starts flinging cars at innocent bystanders to get him to tell him where it is. This doesn’t sit well with Junior, but all Adam cares about is getting the scarab back. And when Mary accidentally blabs that the Wizard Shazam has it, they’re all off for the Rock of Eternity for a final battle.

Verdict: Thumbs down. Just didn’t enjoy the story. And it turned out a lot darker, more violent, and more depressing than I’d rather see in an all-ages comic.

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