I bought Batman #691 and honestly wasn’t looking forward to it. We finally got the Two-Face Batman and it was Judd Winick’s wrap-up issue, but I just couldn’t get excited. I hadn’t really enjoyed the story so far and knew I was getting into a Two-Face vs. Batman fight, and we know how those end. You know what though? Yup, Winick disappointed a little but in the end delivered a surprisingly good issue that is actually making me look forward to his return. That being said I’m pumped about Tony Daniel’s return.
Starting with the disappointment (spoilers start here); what PUNKS DC IS to give us MONTHS of sick looking Two-Face Batman previews just for it to turn out to be a 5 second long hallucination by Dick. I couldn’t believe this! It makes sense; Two-Face drugs Batman (maybe with some Scarecrow fear toxin) to weaken him, but was it really worth months of hype and a cover if it was just going to be 2 pages long? What a cool concept to have Two-Face take on his own weird Batsuit and try and compete with what he knows is a new Batman…but no. Instead we were hooked. This is just another example of DC overhyping some Batman stuff lately (like the entire Battle for the Cowl series). Makes me not want to trust them. Too bad.
As I said before though, this was still a pretty good issue. Anytime Alfred gets physical it’s fun, especially when he takes on his own cape and cowl (kinda). Sad that Two-Face can beat up Dick to the point that he needs 4 shots of adrenaline but it worked. And despite being disappointed with Two-Face I cracked a smile to see him turn down the Black Mask’s offer. The Black Mask is a tough cookie but you can’t expect bully everyone. Especially a guy like Two-Face. And something tells me this isn’t his grand exit from Gotham just yet.
I’m not sure how I feel about Dick’s decision to clear out the Batcave but I loved the line, “…this isn’t a museum.” And appreciate Dick taking even more ownership of the Batman role. He’s chosen the penthouse as his “cave” and although it saddens me to see an empty cave I respect Dick taking charge. I’m curious though how Alfred and Dick have no clue as to Bruce’s protection methods of the cave (including the magical ones) and lets be real…this helps set up new cave when Bruce comes back. Finally we get to the cliff hanger; Batman has hidden some case files in the base of the original Robin costume stand. I’m VERY excited to see what he might be hiding from Dick but honestly I thought it was a little unrealistic for Bruce to hide something secret about Robin in Robin’s own case. If there is some terrible secret about Dick that changes everything you would think Bruce would keep it to himself. That being said I appreciated Winick leaving us hanging and am excited to see what he might have up his sleeve.
This is far from a great Batman issue and Winick’s story in a whole was disappointing but this could have ended much worse. We were left with something to think about, a change up in the cave, and perhaps Bagley’s best Bat-art yet. Seriously though, sad that Two-Face Batman was a tease.