Batman: The Black Glove by Grant Morrison
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
WARNING: Possible Spoilers.
(My cover reads “Batman and Son” but the ISDN I entered pointed to “Black Glove.”)
I bought this book because I pre-ordered the movie, Batman and Son, on Amazon. I had enjoyed Justice League: War and Flashpoiint. I will not do that again. Having read the book, the movie was disappointing. Where I expected a deeper dive into the relationship between Batman, Robin, Damien (Batman’s son), and Talia al Ghul (Damian’s mother), I received a generic action movie complete with the usually tough and cunning Talia al Ghul dumbed down to a run-of-the-mill damsel in distress.
While Batman as father instead of father figure is interesting, the real draw of the book is Batman “relearning” to be Bruce Wayne. The lesson begins when Alfred convinces him to attend a fundraiser in England. An army of Man-Bats under the command of Talia al Ghul causes him to fail his first “Bruce” lesson. After several panels of fights and inner monologue, Batman is captured and Talia introduces him to their son, Damien, for the first time. Upon meeting his father, Damien utters what might become one of those oft quoted lines, “I imagined you taller.”
From there the stories deal with the anticipated culture clash Damien experiences in his new more “disciplined” life, culminating in a great big dramatic bang. I’ve read the books out of order so for me the book actually gets more interesting after Damien and Talia leave. In “Three Ghosts of Batman,” a hulking Bane-like Batman is introduced. You learn later that he is connected to the imitation Batman who shot The Joker in the face at the beginning of the book. By the end of the book, it is revealed that there is a team of three Batmen. They were police officers recruited for a special unit that would activate if the original Batman ever died. The program was discontinued and the trainees were left to their own devices. Though not stated outright, the idea introduces the notion of Batman as “man” (mortal man with a given time on earth).
In addition to the “Bat father” and the “Bat men” storylines, the book includes an interesting story of a grown Damian Wayne as a future Batman and a story with the Joker and Harley Quinn with illustrations that reminded me of Dave McKean’s work.
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