Friday, June 18, 2010
Batman #700 - DC
I had a hell of a time with this book. The day the book came out the entire stack of books that my shop owner got were misprinted. Half of them had the first 8 pages printed twice . . leaving out the second 8. The other half were printed with 8 pages of Titans #24. Needless to say, since it was an error . . I had to get both. Then, the following week, when he got in some correct copies . . of course I had to get one of those. Also, I couldn't read it until I picked up the corrected copy. The story was impossible to follow without the 8 pages connecting 'Yesterday' to 'Today'. But apparently the misprint wasn't that big of a problem because when I went to buy the variant off E-Bay, I was asking some of the sellers if it was a correct copy or one of the misprints. All of them acted like I was asking some stupid question. I was bidding on those before the correct printing came out, so I just wanted to make sure I got a full story so that I could appreciate it properly. Talk about a pain in the butt. But, I finally got a full copy which allowed me to enjoy the story. That's not to say that it was any less confusing. Grant Morrison did a heck of a job trying to keep us in the dark this issue. He didn't want us to know what was going on until the very end. And it worked. Basically, this Professor Nichols had developed this hat, the 'Maybe Machine'. 'It generates visions of how things might have been.' But it seems to me that it's wearer is basically traveling in time. I think they're seeing alternated dimensions because while they can send the wearer forward or backward in time, they aren't necessarily on the same vibrational plane. I think they're crossing dimensions without realized it. Anyways, we start out in the past where the Joker is using the helmet on Batman to help Catwoman find the combination for an impenetrable sarcophagus, and the brim size of Alexander the Great for the Mad Hatter. Then he decides that he's going to send Batman back to the moment of his creation. The event that turned him into the Bat. But apparently too many trips with the helmet can kill a man. It's pretty taxing on their system. The Prof was pulled into the Joker's schemes. He would never hurt a fly. When everything is over, Batman gives the Prof the Joker's Jokebook as a souvenir. So . . the rest of the stories . . the Today, Tomorrow . . and Tomorrow . . all seem to revolve around this Professor Nichols trying to set things right. In the Today story, Batman and Robin find the Professor in a locked laboratory, dead from a shot to the heart. What Batman notices almost immediately is that the Prof should be in his 60's. This man is at least 80. So he must be the Prof from the future. But if that's the case . . wouldn't his body automatically go back to the future once he was killed in his 'vision'? Unless . . maybe he just looks older because he's been using the helmet so much. Anyways, the rest of the Today story is spent with Batman and Robin trying to keep the peace in crime alley, because today is the anniversary of Bruce's parents death. And the stop someone from auctioning off the Joker's Jokebook. Apparently it's rumored to contain some deep, dark secret. Anyways, in the Tomorrow story, Damian has assumed the mantle of the Bat. And he's taken to the job with great enthusiasm. But right now he's fighting Two-Face, who's poisoned Gotham's Climate Control Initiative with Joker venom. Batman has 12 minutes until it becomes lethal. And Two-Face won't give up the antidote until he receives the Joker's Jokebook. He also has a child that he's abducted. And . . a middle aged Prof Nichols. The child's parents are Warren and Terry McGinnis, so . . I'm guessing that the baby is actually Terry McGinnis. The guy who grows up to assume the mantle in Batman Beyond. Anyways, in the end, it's a much younger Prof Nichols that shows up to save the day. And Batman ends up throwing Joker's Jokebook into the incinerator. And finally we get a story about Batman Beyond. I guess the point of all of this is to show us that even through all of this manipulation and scheming that Tomorrow, the Tomorrow of Batman Beyond, still works out the way it's supposed to. I thought it was an interesting concept that Grant came up with . . a storyline that connects through all of the various incarnations of the Bat . . Bruce, Dick, Damian, and Terry. And as usual, he kept it confusing as hell right up until the very end. But it was definitely a tale befitting the 700th issue of this book. The various chapters of this book were drawn by Tony Daniel, Frank Quitely, Andy Kubert and David Finch. I'll tell you what, it was really something to see David Finch drawing Batman Beyond. I never thought I'd see that. Anyways, we then get a gallery of pinups by Shane Davis, Juan Doe, Guillem March, Dustin Nguyen, Tim Sale, Bill Sienkiewicz and Phillip Tan. And some pictures of the Bat-cave by Freddie Williams II. It definitely had everything an anniversary issue should consist of, including 2 amazing covers by David Finch and Mike Mignola. If you don't regularly read Batman, or haven't picked up the title in a long time . . this would definitely be the issue to get. Even if you don't buy anything else.