Most people enjoy a good time travel story. To be clear, this isn't necessarily an actual 'time travel' story as it's more of a flash-forward to seeing a possible future. Batman fans have enjoyed Grant Morrison's run during the R.I.P. period and one of the highlights was BATMAN #666 with an adult Damian as a cold and ruthless Batman, trying to save the hell that Gotham has become. We also got a glimpse of this world in BATMAN #700 Visiting it one more time is a treat.
What is the reason for this visit to the future once again? Batman informs Damian that he realizes this future could exist. That shoots the story forward and we see Damian as a brutal Batman trying to deal with the Joker zombie epidemic we got a glimpse of in BATMAN #700. With the city in flames, it's high octane storytelling as we see Gotham City literally going to hell. There are some familiar faces from the other future stories and it all leaves you wanting more.
Chris Burnham's depiction of the future world is great. Nathan Fairbairn's colors enhance the gritty feel that Burnham brilliantly captures. Damian as Batman is almost like a tank. He plows through the obstacles and villains. The action has such a raw feel to it.
This is definitely an issue you'll want to go back and read again to see if you've missed anything. That sounds like a good thing but you're almost left wondering why this story happens at this point in the series. It does serve a purpose in connecting this future world to this series (and the previous BATMAN volume). The 'bookend' parts to the issue ties the possible future to the present but as Damian says, "Nobody knows the future."
I've said it before but what I would really love to see is a miniseries set in this time with Damian as Batman. In this story and the others, we get a tiny glimpse at this incredibly fascinating world. Grant Morrison has shown many different characters and villains. It's a shame to get such a tiny peek at them.
BATMAN #666 remains a favorite issue among many Bat-fans. After the portion in BATMAN #700, it felt as if we wouln't be seeing more of this possible future again, especially with the New 52 starting up. Thankfully Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham take us on a trip back to that hellish world. It almost feels a little out of place in the middle of the Leviathan story but the fact that we get this story is not a reason to complain. It makes some sense to see it here but how great would it be to get a full miniseries set in this time period? Burnham's art and Fairbairn's colors make a good story even greater. Will this issue change the status or future for Batman and Batman Incorporated? With Grant Morrison writing, who knows. But really who cares because I want to see more of this future world. We owe Grant, Chris and everyone involved some big thanks for this fun trip.