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You Decide – What Was Grant Morrison’s Best Batman Story?

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With the conclusion of Grant Morrison’s long Batman run this week, we thought it’d be interesting to see what you felt was Grant Morrison’s BEST Batman story.

Read on for the choices!

33 Comments

How come I can’t vote for that 9 Eyed Man issue where Jezebel figures out Bruce=Batman?

HAHAHAHA!!!!

Just re-read the whole run in the last few days (along with a ton of supplemental [ie, non-Morrison] issues from the same era) and I’m still loving how great the entirety is. Even pondering doing a whole big typing bit about the themes of the run and imagery that recurs, if anyone’s interested.

But I voted for the Quitely arc (Batman Reborn), just because there are a bunch of fun bits, Quitely gives us some cool SFX, and Dick and Damian are fun together.

Although I’d greatly have preferred just to vote for GMozz’s Batman and Robin run as a whole, because there are great bits from each arc within B&R and overall that part of the epic is my favorite. But I certainly understand that you want to break it up as much as possible.

Can’t say that Incorporated (both volumes plus Leviathan Strikes) wasn’t really great, too, though.

It’s kind of blending all together right now, but didn’t Scorpion Tango go into Inc. v.1 5 as well? Mr Japan in 1 and 2, El Gaucho/Kathy Kane/Otto Netz intro in 3-5, issue 6 was that great issue showing all the players of the Inc. group, 7 was Man-of-Bats, 8 was Internet 3.0.

And while I’m talking issues that are missing here, I’d just like to point out that the Joe Chill in Hell issue is pretty good, and in thinking about it, I’m actually surprised that if you’re including the missing chapter of RIP you aren’t including the Final Crisis 2 parter (where the Lump is in Bruce’s brain). The last bit of Alfred’s narration of the second part is one of my favorite bits of the whole run, when I think about it.

I have 3 from each “era” that I think really stand out, the JH Williams murder mystery “The Black Glove”, Batman and Robin Must Die, and the second half of Batman Inc, specifically #1, #3-4, “Demon Star”. Fantastic stuff, all of it. But there’s plenty of other great stuff I could’ve picked…I’m baffled by the votes for Resurrection of Ra’s Al Ghul of all the goddamn things.

Can’t wait for Batman Inc. vol 2 deluxe hardcover Burnham was talking about, then I’ll have the whole run in oversized format and it all starts over again :)

And yes, Scorpion Tango should really include #5, it’s a 3 part story. Damn shame that’s dead last, it’s a great story with some fantastic artwork from Paquette and Burnham.

Guess I can’t vote sice Gothic is my favorite Morrison Batman story.

Morrison’s Batman was such an amazing run. It was packed full of great ideas and most of them were well executed, It is a shame that the art was so spotty for stretches, but that seems to be a fact of life in modern comics.

I clicked on this to vote for Arkham Asylum. Now I’m flummoxed.

My favorite was a three issue arc with the Michael Lane ghost of Batman, with the dream interlude “Joe Chill in Hell,” also absent.

hmm i quite liked tony daniel.
especially on RIP.

and batman and robin 1-3 only got #1 because of QUITELY – who is vastly overrated, imo.

Hard to say. It’s great in its entirety.

I’ve read all of Morrison’s Batman run in trades from my local library but wasn’t all that impressed by it. I voted for “The Black Glove” just because it was fun to see the old-school Batmen of All Nations again. (I had to look up the title, though, because I wasn’t into it enough to remember the names or issue numbers.)

R.I.P., straight up. I thought Daniel’s art worked pretty well for it, honestly.

Scorpion Tango should be way up there. It’s awesome.

If anything comes close to a good Batman story by Morrison, it’s probably in vol 1 of Batman & Robin.

Otherwise, the run is a waste of time. Several years of awful, awful ideas and bad writing.

Arkham Asylum is the best and should, therefore, be on the list. I refuse to participate since it’s not.

Good to see the regular Morrison haters here. It’s like there’s a bald guy signal that goes out to alert them.

And while it’s not spelled out, the voting is for the long run Morrison just concluded, not the few stories he did before that started. It’s amazing that some people seem to be offended that a free site on the internet doesn’t let them click one particular thing.

I’d be really surprised if I were one of the haters, but just for the record, there’s plenty of Morrison stuff I like. Not quite half of his output, certainly, and All-Star Superman was the most recent thing that I’d say I loved, but I like enough of his stuff to have an ongoing interest in his work.

I would have voted for JLA: New World Order.

Nah, buttler, you might not be in the bag for Morrison (as I admittedly am), but you don’t repeatedly make the remarks that others do. The kind that bring to mind your classic line “that reminds me, my axe needs grinding”.

Another Arkham Asylum write-in here. (And Gothic is probably second.)

I too would have voted for some of the JLA stuff. Loved his Batman there so much I’m actually surprised at how little I liked his actual Batman run.

Again, this is for the run he is completing, guys. Not JLA, not Arkham Asylum. Those are great, but they are not part of that.

I voted for “RIP” mainly because (before crazy New 52 Face/Off Joker), that was the first time in a long time that the Joker surprised me with how scary and disturbing he was. Self-administered tongue-split for the win.

Holy hell, this was a tough decision! I finally voted for “Batman and Robin Must Die!” It was the culmination of many long-building plot elements, the art was amazing, the setup and execution were flawless, and the whole thing was a standout in an incredible run of comics. Incidentally, it also marked one of the only times I’ve given a damn about a variant cover(the one with the Joker’s head split open, and all the tiny Joker-fied gremlin versions of various Bat-characters gleefully leaping out). That story is a high-water mark that even Morrison himself has rarely matched.

@TJCoolguy: The question as posed is “Grant Morrison’s Best Batman Story” with no “of the past few years” qualifier, and the top three answers to that question aren’t on the list. I’ll gladly exclude JLA as not being a Batman Story. The third choice would be “All of the above, taken as a whole [and adding Final Crisis in there as well.]“

@Jeff R: I totally see what you’re saying, but considering Brian’s reason for running the poll, and the fact that the list is basically a chronological rundown of each storyline (omitting some of the stuff that may not be as popular) in said run, I think the intent is pretty clear.

I guess in the end, it doesn’t really matter. The actual poll above will give us the most voted-on stories from the run, and if people want to give their opinions on every Morrison story that has ever involved Batman, we have the comments. I’m just saying I don’t think Brian made any kind of mistake in omitting the stories being discussed, if anything he just wasn’t quite as specific in the title as he could have been.

Like a great athlete waiting to peak, I felt like there was a definite momentum buildup during the early course of Grant’s run, peaking sumtime around RIP (Bruce at his lowest point vs his 2 ultimate enemies) ~ early Batman and Robin (Dick and Damien both in on over there heads and just going at each other). After that it was a slow steady burn to Batman INC vol1 and by the time vol2 rolled around, it was like watching that same great athlete in the wane of his career, the consistency was no longer there, u didn’t always get the sense his heart was in it, and the length between great moments/stories grew farther and farther apart.

I absolutely loved Grants run, but by the time Batman INC vol2 came around its just seemed to meander to the finish line. It certainly didn’t help that instead of going out in a extra length champion ship sized finale issue, it came out in a normal format no frills book that never really seemed to be the summation of what it should have been.

Anyway it was a tossup for me, but I voted RIP because its the culmination of Bruce’s story and so much packed into it, like a Hollywood blockbuster going at full speed.

Good to see the regular Morrison haters here. It’s like there’s a bald guy signal that goes out to alert them.

To be fair, when there’s a Morrison thread the regular Morrison LOVERS pop up as well. It’s like theres a bald guy signal that goes out to alert them too. The usual suspects on both sides come out. I don’t see why one side should get accused of beating an anti-Morrison dead horse if the other side is beating their own pro-Morrison dead horse just as vigorously and loudly as well.

I wasn’t that big a fan of Morrison’s Batman run because I felt he was more interested in telling stories that deconstructed and analyzed Batman as a concept rather than tell human stories about Batman as a person. He could never just do something, he had to explicitly call attention within the text to the fact he was doing it.

For example, in his first issues with Andy Kubert, he wanted to make Bruce Wayne more prominent again, and have Bruce Wayne be more of a real person. Fine, do that. But instead he has to have Alfred explicitly lecture Bruce Wayne about why he needs to re-embrace Bruce Wayne and you can tell that Morrison is just making Alfred an in-story mouthpiece for his own views on how Bruce Wayne needs to be more fleshed out and treated like a real person. I think instead of telling us, showing us would have been far better. Just write a story where Bruce Wayne acts the way you feel he should act and if it really is an improvement, the readers will see that. You don’t have to make your case in-story like it’s a dissertation. Much of his writing was similarly didactic. Another example is his Joker story, where different characters are describing the nature of the Joker, but you can tell it’s really Morrison using the story to educate the reader about HIS view of what the Joker is and represents, and show off how deep his observations are. To me a far more interesting story, again, would have been to SHOW us rather than just tell us. Maybe he could have had a multiple part story that had the Joker committing a crime in the present day that defied all his old modus operandi and then you could show Batman flashing back to past encounters he had with the Joker in an effort to see if the past crimes could give a clue to his next crime. Each flashback could then have been a homage to a different era’s Joker, with different appearances, different stylistic tics, and different ways of behaving. 30s Joker all the way to the new modern Joker, show them all in continuity in the same story. Then the reader could have drawn the same conclusion interactively through his own work of interpretation rather than just have Morrison beat the reader over the head with it in such an obvious, didactic way. It’s not just that he spells things out for the reader, but he does so in a way that feels like he’s patting himself on the back at the same time.

The same month Morrison’s Batman debuted, so did Dini’s. The reason I liked Dini’s so much better was that both writers obviously wanted to make Batman more well-rounded and make Bruce Wayne more of a real person, but Dini just went ahead and depicted the Bruce Wayne he wanted to read about rather than educate the reader about what he was doing in-story and make the intent explicit in the text.

Morrison seemed to be stuck in a mode of writing superhero comics about superhero comics rather than superhero comics about people who happened to have costumes and powers. He was stuck in the mode of writing from his head but rarely from his heart and his gut.

I only read the beginning of his run up to R.I.P. so I have no idea if these problems lasted his whole run. For all I know he may have started writing with more heart and guts later on.

That being said, compared to what came before Morisson with such dreck like War Crimes, and what came after, like Snyder, who is as unsubtle as a heart attack, Morrison is still overall the best Batman writer and era since Didio took over DC.

I voted for Batman & Robin #1-3, but mostly for Quitely’s art.
I haven’t read anything else from the rest of the run :p

And like many others I would have voted for Arkham Asylum instead.

I went for Batman RIP, but I think the following two issues (682-683) should’ve also been considered part of the story, if only because of Alfred’s speech at the end of 683 (which Brian included in his Year of Cool Comic Book Moments).

See, T, the difference is that while you disliked elements of the Morrison run, you came in with a well thought out description of WHY you disliked it and didn’t dismiss the whole thing in a sentence. Which is what the ones I consider “haters” seem to do.

I can certainly see your case for Morrison’s run as dissertation on Batman, but I will say that in re the Alfred bit at the start of the run, we did get a nice thing that HAD to be told due to the medium (we can’t hear this). Alfred tells Bruce “that gravelly voice you used to have to practice to be Batman? You’re doing it all the time, sir.”

Morrison’s two-part “Last Rites” story was one of the best Batman stories I’ve read and Alfred’s speech at the end is up there with anything ever written concerning the character in its seventy-year history.

I can certainly see your case for Morrison’s run as dissertation on Batman, but I will say that in re the Alfred bit at the start of the run, we did get a nice thing that HAD to be told due to the medium (we can’t hear this). Alfred tells Bruce “that gravelly voice you used to have to practice to be Batman? You’re doing it all the time, sir.”

I wasn’t a fan of that. I’m just sick of the metafictional on-the-nose in-jokes in Morrison’s current writing. I get what Morrison is trying to say here. What was once Batman’s sometimes personality has now become his all the time personality. And again, he has to make someone in-story comment on what Morrison feels is the excessive darkening of Bruce Wayne. It may lead to a cute joke but otherwise it sucks me out of the story. Again, I’d rather just have him just write the Batman he wants to see. Take for example Waid’s Daredevil. Daredevil had the exact same problem as Batman, due to the exact same source, Frank Miller. We could have had Foggy giving him some clever metafictional speeches about how Daredevil changed around the time of Frank Miller and then had some scenes showing Murdock making efforts to be more lighthearted, But Waid didn’t. He simply wrote the type of Daredevil he wanted to read without in-story commentary.

Also I think the Morrison “voice’ joke was a reference to the Batman animated series. When the series started on Fox, Bruce Wayne and Batman had different voices. When the series was brought back as part of the The New Superman Batman Show on WB, Conroy was now using the same Batman voice for both Batman and Bruce Wayne. The show became more doom and gloom like the comic books and now Batman and Bruce Wayne both talked in the Batman voice.

I don’t know why someone saying the poll left out the best Morrison Batman story is bagging on Morrison. I just don’t know that I find any of the current (at least pre-52) run on Batman filled with anything exceptional or horrible to rank something that much higher or lower.

@T. I may not have followed closely enough, or my memory is just bad, but in the animated series didn’t Conroy give Bruce Batman’s voice when he was around people who knew he was Batman, and talked like “Bruce” around the public? I thought that was one of the many tidbits that made Conroy the best Batman. Not only is Batman closer to who Bruce Wayne is than Bruce Wayne is, but also it’s more effective that Batman really does have a deep, scary, bad ass voice, and Bruce’s voice is more of an act. Something the films and everything else have seemed to get wrong. Wayne should talk deep and scary all the time, because that’s who he is. Bruce Wayne should be then be the voice that’s light and musical, putting on the act. (It’d also work better on film to take a higher tone when speaking as Bruce than to growl all the time as Batman). When Superman is in a movie, Clark Kent isn’t how Superman normally talks….that’s his act, not Superman’s voice.

M-Wolverine:

Batman The Animated Series had him talking in his gruff, deeper voice when as Batman or when by himself with people who knew who he really was, like you describe. When the series was re-conceptualized for the WB as The New Batman Adventures, one of the changes they made was to have him talk in the same gruff Batman voice all the time, even when dressed as Bruce Wayne and dealing with people who didn’t know he was Batman.

Ah, T, I see what you’re saying now.

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