We talked about the first few issues of DC Comics on Funnybooks, but given that most the guys didn’t finish reading the series, I decided to take it OFFLINE and talk about here.  See, as we mentioned, the whole Return of Bruce Wayne, due to the artistic delays, is already turning into a mess akin to the return of Steve Rogers.

Not that any of us were really naive enough to believe that Bruce Wayne wouldn’t be returning at some point, and, again, not that the whole “romp through time” thing that Steve Rogers just did and now Bruce Wayne is doing was actually expected to be good…but it’s still managed to confound me at just how poorly this has all been handled. 

The recently concluded mini 8-part series Bruce Wayne: The Road Home, somehow, took place after Return of Bruce Wayne #6, but before Batman and Robin #15, in that it’s said that Dick and Damian don’t know that Bruce is back.  Not only that, Tim Drake does, so is it that Tim Drake is the only one who sees Bruce come back?  I guess we’ll have to wait until Return of Bruce Wayne #6 to find out.  The problem?    Return of Bruce Wayne #6 doesn’t come out until November 10th, a week after Batman and Robin #15, and two weeks after Bruce Wayne: The Road Home, which shows Bruce confronting (almost) all of the Bat-family, concluded.  Not only that, Brightest Day #13, which is due out today, shows Bruce Wayne on the cover, with a White Lantern logo on his chest.  Does Brightest Day have anything to do with Return of Bruce Wayne?  Thus far, Batman’s been pretty removed from the whole thing.

The 8-part Bruce Wayne: The Road Home series doesn’t feel like something that was planned all along, but rather like a shoehorned in series to help fill in the gaps caused by some of the delays in the other series.  Not only that, fans of Red Robin may be a little disappointed to find out that the long-standing Vicki Vale storyline going on in that series comes to its conclusion in this one.  While the conclusion of that story feels natural, overall I would have preferred to see it handled in half the amount of issues.  The majority of the tales, regardless of quality, feel like filler.  Batman and Robin and Red Robin appropriately introduce the storyline, right before it loses it’s purpose in Outsiders (which was awful) and Batgirl (which wasn’t half bad).  The following week, we had two okay, but overall throwaway chapters in Catwoman and Commissioner Gordon, before the story concluded in the Oracle (which was good) and Ra’s Al Ghul one-shots.

What’s most annoying about this series, really, is that Wayne has assumed a new identity as The Insider a costumed superhero who looks like Batman without the ears, cape, and Bat symbol. He moves and talks like Batman, yet is surprised when everyone figures out that it’s him.  Oddly though, what’s most surprising about that is that Dick Grayson and Damian Wayne…don’t.  Oracle knows, Batgirl knows, hell, even the Outsiders figure it out…but not Batman and Robin?  How does that make sense?

I didn’t dislike Bruce Wayne: The Road Home, but I’ve got to say … other than the Vicki Vale resolution, it doesn’t seem like it was really worth it.  An ultimately forgettable experience in what’s shaping up to be a bit of a mess of a resurrection.  Let’s hope today’s Batman and Robin #16 doesn’t disappoint.

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