This is the Way the World Ends.
Return to the world of Batman 666, Gotham is on the brink of destruction. Only one man can save it and it's not who you think it is.
I got the variant cover by Frazer Irving, and it's great. While I'm not always a fan of his work it works here. The way the crazed joker infested people appear behind the bars is done so well. Looking into their eyes you can just tell how crazed they are. The art here is stylistically different from the past issues. It's a bit grittier and more similar to that of Batman Incorporated #7.
The scene where Damian enters Wayne Towers and battles off the crazed citizens of Gotham is very well done. It's a brief but dynamic action sequence, and the backgrounds are extremely detailed. I was having flashback to Batman #666, the fire, bullets, and shattering glass really add to the page.
The art conveys how bad the world has gotten. Jackanapes's cell is tremendously well done. That crazed look in his eyes, his rotting teeth, and the blood all drives the point home that this is one crazy monkey. I
The scene with the flash forward to Batman lying dead in crime alley, and Damian making his deal with the "devil"(Doctor Hurt) really gives off this eery feel to it. Especially that creepy smile on Hurt's face. The usage of red, it really creates a creepy feel to it.
There is a beautiful panel the last one on page seventeen that just really impressed me. Most other artist would have just done a "BOOM" with a bit of smoke behind it but Chris Burnham does this incredible panel that shows these buildings slowly starting to break down. It's brilliant, perhaps this was asked for by Grant but Burnham knocked it out of the park with this one panel.
The colors here are amazingly bright for such a dark book. The last page of this issue is also really well done. Burnham really is able to capture Batman's emotion so well. That reflection showing Knight and Squire on the dynamite is a nice touch to the panel. The last panel is very creepy, but well done.
Story & Script
This issue is the one where things kind of unravel. We sort of learn what Talia's ultimate goal is, and it all ties back to Batman #666. Barbara has some sharp lines in this issue. Her talk with Damian is brilliantly written by Grant. We also get the long awaited return of Alfred, the bat-cat. That was really nice.
There is a little reference to Planet of the Apes when Jackanapes says that "It's a Madhouse" line. I really enjoyed that very subtle reference. The issue has a lot of interesting twists in this issue, who the vice president is, why the baby has no symptoms, and that final cliffhanger.
Grant really fills the issue with some nice Easter eggs from the Mutants, to Pink Flamingo, the Killing Joke, Doctor Hurt, and the return of Alfred. This issue has a really grand feel to it. It's strange considering that we sill have a bunch of issues left to go till the big ending in issue twelve. This is the best issue since Batman, Incorporated #2.
Fantastic issue all around! Grant Morrison's Batman epic is coming to an end soon and I can't wait to see were this is going. This is in my humble opinion THE bat-book you need to be reading outside of Lil' Gotham.