Bat Family Reunion

Batman and Robin #16

Barring the off-schedule ending of “Return of Bruce Wayne,” this comic is the final chapter of Grant Morrison’s long-running Batman epic — heck, come to think of it, it’s basically the secret last chapter of “Final Crisis.” How’s it turn out?

After a short visit to colonial times to see the evil Thomas Wayne make his bargain for immortality with the demon Barbatos, the rest of the issue focuses on the returned Bruce Wayne, Dick Grayson, and Damian Wayne taking on Thomas Wayne as Dr. Hurt, Professor Pyg, and the 99 Fiends. Bruce gets trapped in a deathtrap by Hurt — but of course he escapes, and he has to choose between aprehending Hurt or saving Alfred. All that plus the Joker! All that plus Bruce Wayne spills the beans to the press!

Verdict: Thumbs up. All the attention is going to Bruce’s announcement at the end (that he is Batman’s corporate funder) — I think it’s a pretty decent idea, though probably not absolutely necessary. But Morrison’s final issue here is a pretty rollicking story all on its own. It was grand fun, and I’m glad I got to read along with it.

Mystery Society #4

Nick Hammond lets himself get captured by the government so he can look for evidence that he and his wife Anastasia Collins have been framed. Meanwhile, the Secret Skull and Jules Verne (in his awesome steampunk robot body) chase down the man who stole Edgar Allan Poe’s skull. Can everyone get back together and figure out a way to rescue Nick?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Lots of fun stuff going on here, particularly anything having to do with the Secret Skull and Jules Verne (and his awesome steampunk robot body) (and its amazing butt rocket). The story’s fun, the art is fun, it’s all worth picking up.

Strange Science Fantasy #5

Rusty Irons is a palooka boxer with a heart of gold. He falls in love with a girl named Suzie, helps take care of her senile mother, and dreams of being able to buy her a ring. He finally agrees to throw a fight to get the money, but he gets double-crossed and sent to the hospital. Suzie shells out the dough for an experimental treatment — and Rusty is transformed into a hyper-elastic man. Can Rusty get over the birth pangs of his new existence and make it up to Suzie and her mother?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Great fun — Scott Morse channels Jack Cole in this great pulpish Plastic Man story.


Zodon, Guardian Angel, 84, and USA Patriot Act have traveled to an alternate dimension to prevent Victor Von Fogg from destroying it to power his reality-altering machine. Will the kids be able to fight off a squad of agents from the Trans Dimensional Defense Division? Why is Zodon so interested in keeping this superhero-less world safe? Will Forak be able to keep the dimensional gateway safe? Will Moon Shadow and Captain Clarinet be able to keep from killing each other while they’re lost in deep space?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s going to be fun to find out more about Zodon’s past in the next few issues. As always, Aaron Williams’ great storytelling and artwork make this comic a must-read.

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