Batman issue #713, written by Fabian Nicizea with art by Steve Scott, is the final issue of the long-running series before the infamous reboot next month. So, while many weeks the TCR tries to cover series firsts, this week is dedicated to a finale instead.
The final issue of Batman wasn’t about action-packed, nail-biting drama. It was an issue of reflection over the past 700 or so issues. Obviously, considering this was a normal-sized issue, the reflection was of the very generalized sort. Mostly this issue was a sum-up of the development of the Batman and Robin team througout the years. It began with the story that we all know so well – a young boy sees the death of his parents and is forever changed for it. He becomes a symbol of justice, yet it is a dark and fear-inducing kind of justice.
Then he meets Robin, and Robin adds light to his dark, though he, too, has had a traumatic life. Robin grows up and becomes Nightwing, and that in itself has significance. (If it seems I’m rushing the order of events, this is pretty much the pace of the comic). Batman gets a new Robin – who dies, leaving Batman with all sorts of new emotional scars.
The book briefly accounts the rest of the Batman and Robin big events up until this finale – the discovery of Batman’s son, Batman’ s death, his return, the new Batman and Robin combo – and ends with Damian wrapping up the story with the moral that through it all, the purpose of Batman has never changed. “Helping people is what Batman and Robin are all about.”
As a final issue, I have to admit that it was a little disappointing. Perhaps I would have made this issue 0 of the new run. Considering the depths of emotion, plot, and intricacy that the Batman title has reached throughout the years, this issue seems to have fallen a little short of capturing all of it. But yet at the same time, I appreciate the recap as someone who hasn’t followed the title as consistently as I would have liked to have done.
The ending point might seem a little elementary at first glance, but upon thinking over it for a bit, I think perhaps it rings rather true. Through everything – the villians, the various Robins, the successes and failures, the changes in Bruce Wayne as a man – the symbol of Batman never truly changed. From issue 1 – 713, he was the Dark Knight who taught villians what it was to fear justice. The fact that it was young Damian who came to this conclusion means something, I think. He is the next generation. And as Batman reboots back to issue number one, a new generation of readers are invited to join the avid lovers of the title. Perhaps this conclusion of who Batman is acts as a sort of a promise from DC – Batman might be going back to #1, instigating a change in the series, yet Batman as a character will be as he always was. Perhaps it is just me reading too much into this issue. Or perhaps it is wishful thinking. We, as a comic-reading community will find out next month with Batman #1.