Gather ‘round and hear a story from Grandpa Batman (Batman: Lost #1 Comic Review)

Batman: Lost Review

 

SPOILER WARNING: Usually our reviews are relatively spoiler free, allowing you to read and enjoy the issue. While this issue is still readable and enjoyable after reading this review, it may contain more spoilers than our normal content

 

Written by Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, and Joshua Williamson

Pencils by Doug Mahnke, Yanick Paquette, and Jorge Jimenez

Inks by Jaime Mendoza, Paquette, and Jimenez

Colors by Wil Quintana, Nathan Fairbairn, and Alejandro Sanchez

Cover by Olivier Coipel and Dave Stewart

 

Previously: Over several years, The Court of Owls has been anointing Batman with 5 metals that would make him the conduit to summon Barbatos from the Dark Multiverse. When the final metal struck, Batman vanished, lost to the Dark Multiverse.

 

What Happened: The story of Batman’s whereabouts during metal opens up with an older Bruce Wayne sitting in his study in Wayne Manor. His granddaughter enters, and asks him to tell her a story of when he was Batman. He tells her to grab a book from the shelf, and we see that Bruce has written down his many exploits with the same names as the comic books they appeared in, such as Hush and Knightfall. She grabs “The Case of the Chemical Syndicate,” and Bruce begins to tell his granddaughter about his first case as Batman. Bruce doesn’t feel like the story starts quite right, but his granddaughter reassures him that it’s exactly how it started.

The art shifts as we are taken to a recap of the first Batman story. We jump to the point in the story where Batman appears and confronts the GCPD’s lead suspect. As Batman reassures him that he doesn’t think the man is guilty, birds begin to crash into the window, leaving a bloody mark behind. Bruce mentions that this doesn’t feel right, that the memory i wrong, but the granddaughter tells him once again that the story is right. The story jumps again, and suddenly Bruce is overlooking a war that took place not long after the dawn of man. Talking to a mysterious woman, he sees the war between the Bird tribe and the Bat tribe. She shows him the leader of the Bat Tribe, a young hero who would one day be known as Hath-Set, and points out the leaders of the Bird Tribe will be known as Hawkman and Hawkgirl. Bruce continues to disagree, saying that was part of another story entirely, but the woman tells him that the stories are the same. She says that Barbatos saw Bruce when he was chased from the Dawn of Man to the Vanishing point by Darkseid’s Hyper-Adaptoid; in doing so Barbatos saw his wagon out of the Dark Multiverse, and marked him as a Bat.

Another jump in the story and Batman is now in the future, and he’s beginning to realize what’s going on. He remembers that he’s trapped in the Dark Multiverse, and that none of this is real. Bullets begin to fly as a group of futuristic soldiers wearing Hawk symbols led by an adult Damian Wayne attack Batman. Batman tries to reason with him, to tell him that it’s not real, but Damian orders his men to open fire. Rather than getting shot, Grandpa Bruce is suddenly awoken by his granddaughter, who prompts him to continue the story from before. The Chemical Syndicate story has jumped forward, and Batman is in his first deathtrap after finding the real killer. As he breaks the glass he was trapped in and begins to follow the killer out the window, Bruce’s granddaughter interrupts him, telling him instead to go down. In the past, Batman climbs down a conveniently placed ladder and finds himself witnessing a sect of Barbatos’ cult in the 18th century. They are preparing to sacrifice a young woman in Barbatos’ name, but the man with the knife hesitates. Bruce talks to the woman on the alter, who says she is dying for him, so that Bruce can be Barbatos’ Wagon.

Batman is getting frustrated, and begins to struggle more against this flawed reality he finds himself in. As he fights, his prison fights back, and he bounces from reality to reality, different versions of Bruce Wayne throughout time designed to imprison Bruce Wayne. He hears the voice of his granddaughter, who keeps telling him that he’s ruining the story, that it’s not right. Bruce disagrees. She manages to get him back to the Case of the Chemical Syndicate, but Bruce finds his way to the study, where he is sitting with his granddaughter. She slams the book shut, furious, and finally reveals that she is merely one of many projections of Barbatos in these realities. His jailer and his Host, Barbatos claims that he is trying to show Bruce the truth, how he made Bruce become the Batman he is today. That he planted the destiny of the Bat throughout Bruce’s history, so that he would be the wagon that he needed. Bruce tries to fight back, but is powerless to stop Barbatos. Back in the study, a much more docile Grandpa Bruce wakes up, and continues reading to his granddaughter.

 

Thoughts on the issue: Whenever a book is credited to several creative teams, it’s a possibility that you’ll end up reading a disjointed and inconsistent mess. The writers and artists working on Batman: Lost create a seamless and compelling story. Taking us back to Detective Comics 27, the first appearance of Batman in 1939, we learn that Batman’s origin may or may not be a time loop, but in a way that doesn’t rely on exposition to drive the story. A non-linear story that has versions of Batman both old and new, this is not only an interesting chapter in the Metal event but also an excellent story for fans of Batman who want to learn something crazy and new.

 

One Last Thing: The prison created here greatly resembles the one created by Lump and the Evil Factory in Grant Morrison’s Final Crisis, which is appropriate considering the time jumps also resemble The Return of Bruce Wayne, also by Morrison and taking place right after Final Crisis.

 

Final Score: 8.5/10

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