"I've seen the Future and it works."
*Very short review* "A MUST!" 5 out of 5 Stars.
Real review:There are a lot of people who reviewed this issue. All of them have valid reasons to tell you what they have told you and it is up to you to agree or disagree. One comment that I would like to look into detail is this being a "jump in point".
On a superficial level, yes, jump in. This is a "zero" to Batman Inc or we can just call it a one-shot to play it safe. It is "The End" of one Chapter and the "Beginning of another". Being the sly and clever guy Grant Morrison is, I know what he is up to now. I love it and I'll tell you why. Grant Morrison is reestablishing Batman by reworking everything Batman: History, characters, "Symbol", M.O.... everything. Grant Morrison has done his research and recently G-Man's 3- Minute Expert: Secret of the Batcave gave us a lot of info of the stuff we may have not picked up that Grant is flooding into his Bat Books. Grant Morrison has summed up what makes Batman and now refines him, while highlighting all the history. All the facts. Adding a layer each arc.
The Image to the left is a Möbius strip or Möbius band. For those who don't know what that is, dictionary.com defines it as:
–noun Geometry . a continuous, one-sided surface formed by twisting one end of a rectangular strip through 180° about the longitudinal axis of the strip and attaching this end to the other.
A Möbius strip in simple terms is a looping track. A continuous cycle without an end. If we were to mark a "Start" point, being where ever you like in Batman history. That point will loop around again. "History" is repeating each time it comes to that line and another lap begins again. In The Return of Bruce Wayne reviews I referred to this as the fourth dimension. History repeating it self, in closer intervals each time. This is what Grant Morrison is doing with Batman, he has placed Batman's universe in a Möbius strip. The Return of Bruce Wayne was really another lap finishing. This comic is the actual threshold between the events that started in Batman #663 (or The Batman and Son trade for the trade readers) to right before Batman becomes Batman Inc. With Batman Inc, it is another lap beginning. Grant Morrison is such a great writer, he can do this forever. This is The Invisibles formula but cleaner and mainstream. Two giveaways hints I found that Grant Morrison is having fun with us is he starts this comic how Batman began, (1) inspired by the Bat at night. Even paying homage to Frank Miller with "the bats of Gotham bigger and more vicious looking". (2) The second comment is on page 27, Frame 4, we see Bruce affectionately talking to Alfred: Bruce (bubble 3) "At the BEGINNING of something and not the END. Grant Morrison is joking with us. The man is a genius.
If Grant Morrison's Batman run really is this endless loop. This really is not a true jump in point. A superficial one for sure, but new readers will miss a lot, since his run "incorporates" ALL OF "BATMAN". The real jump in point is Frank Miller's Year One and hope everything you know helps you understand what Morrison is really doing.
The supernatural stories are likely going to slow down and the High-Tech Marvel level pyrotechnics will start (Hence David Finch jumping on board), but the level of depth never changed. Grant Morrison has just added more depth if anything. He has added a Batman universe where B&R can fly around like Iron Man. I wonder if Grant Morrison also listened to Prince's 1989 Batman Soundtrack. There is a song called "The Future" ( HERE is a link to Youtube remix of the song since Prince forbids the soundtrack version. I think the Lyrics are dead on). On the cover of Batman and Robin #6, it is a homage to Prince's Purple Rain. All that Prince talk is just food for thought. I am convinced that Morrison even weaves in the classic comics and movies into his Batman history. The 12-13 splash page makes the the key trophies (Coin, Card and Dino) Canon again as an example. Morrison is just snowballing the history with each lap. The more you know overall the better his Batman stories are. This is why it is fair to call this a jump on, but it is better to read as much of Bats as you can along the way. The Grant Morrison run is a good read that has many layers. It takes effort to get to the inner layers.
* Side prediction: The Heretic character is "Little Wayne" I mean Damian from the future. Page 23: Frame 2: Heretic "...you will know me". He looks like a Bat and little Wayne will one day be Bats. If this is that 4th D or Möbius strip stuff, then to me that is the next logical progression. If I am wrong, which I am likely, I am cool with that. I want surprise and excitement. If I am right, then I love it! "I see the future and it works".
The comic ends off like the "zero" to anything Bat related, this is why I think DC called it a "one-shot" instead of a "Zero". Part of the reason why its hard to see Morrison's real Magick, is because of all the fluff like Road Home. I just buy only Bat books with Morrison's name on it and that works for me.
I loved the special features in this comic. Scripts, covers, pencils, inks, character designs, great stuff. I am a huge fan of the scripts since it really shows how much quality is in Morrison's scripts, only Alan Moore has more elaborate scripts. Study those scripts and you are guaranteed to be a better comic creator.
This issue becomes the next "Guide" book. The direction Morrison is taking Batman now, this book is key and that is what makes it a must. 5 out 5 Stars ***** A Must!