Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #5 (DC Comics)
by Grant Morrison, Ryan Sook, Pere Perez & Mick Gray
I have a brother who sometimes tells some stories and jokes that prove to be thoroughly frustrating experiences. His problem is that occasionally, he skips over parts of the story. he’s always amused because he has full access to all of the pertinent details in his head, but he doesn’t realize he hasn’t conveyed it all verbally. His audience is left puzzled because pieces are missing. That’s what reading this particular comic book felt like. One can tell there’s an ambitious, weird and wonderful story unfolding here, but writer Grant Morrison seems to lunge ahead, skipping key elements (or at least expecting his audience to remember details from past issues of this series and other Batman scripts he’s written in the past few years).
Ryan Sook’s art is effective at capturing the noir, Sam Spade-esque atmosphere that the writer endeavors to use as the backdrop for this issue. It would seem Sook didn’t have the time to render all 32 pages of art, as Pere Perez fills in for pages 22-31. The shift in styles isn’t too jarring, as Perez clearly tries to maintain a consistent tone. Still, there are panels in which the divide between the two artists’ storytelling abilities is apparent. Once again, Andy Kubert offers up an image for the regular cover that isn’t reflected in the interior art, which is a bit disappointing. I love that three-piece suit with the bat-vest. 5/10