Batman #687 (DC Comics)
by Judd Winick, Ed Benes & Rob Hunter
Despite the branding on the cover, this really isn’t a “Batman Reborn” title; the credits and title page within correctly bill this as an epilogue to Battle for the Cowl, bridging the two directions for the Bat-titles. Writer Judd Winick spends a lot of time answering questions that really didn’t need answering — such as why the world doesn’t seem to think the Batman died at all, why the new Batman has a new base of operations in Gotham and what other super-heroes in the DC Universe think about what’s happened with the Batman’s world and family. Fortunately, Winick does include some elements that work quite well, and those are the ones focusing on characterization, on emotion. Alfred is really the star of this script. He guides Dick Grayson through a difficult transition, and it’s clear that this is how Alfred is dealing with his grief.
Unfortunately, Ed Benes’s exaggerated style, with the hulking heroic figures lurching about almost every page, doesn’t suit the grounded, emotional elements from which the story draws its strengths. His style just doesn’t feel right for these characters, for this story. It worked at times for the epic, colorful tone of Justice League of America when the most recent incarnation of that title first debuted. 6/10