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Batman #687
writer: Judd Winick
artists: Ed Benes and Rob Hunter

And so Batman has been reborn, and didn't have to go to an alternate Earth inside Franklin Richards' imagination to do it. Okay, so Bruce Wayne might have, and it's in Grant Morrison's head, but that's another story for another time.

This week's issue of Batman might get lost in the wake of last week's Batman and Robin #1 (which did rock) and this week's Red Robin #1. Those are where the exciting revelations happen, right? We already know who's under the cowl.

That sells a solid book short, one undone a little bit by bad timing. Winick's story fills in the gap between the last three pages of Battle for the Cowl, and really gives more solid bang for the buck than that entire mini-series.

Here, Dick Grayson struggles with the decision that we already know he made - to don the cowl of his adoptive father and, in some ways, take his place. He can barely allow himself time to mourn, and history has shown us that the Bat-family isn't exactly that demonstrative in the first place.

But it's not just Dick's grief that we see; Winick handles Alfred's emotions with laser precision. Three panels is all he needs.

Those panels actually get delineated by Ed Benes, an artist of intense dynamism who isn't always great at small moments. But he stages it right here, and may be the right choice because again, the people in the Batcave themselves aren't great at small moments.

Then there are the big ones. A headstrong and overconfident Damian takes on Dr. Phosphorous. The Scarecrow sows fear across a bridge at rush hour. And Dick finally reaches the decision we know he must.

In the midst of big events and launches, it's important to remember that sometimes storytelling can make up for a lack of surprise in story. Winick, Benes and inker Hunter will remind you.

Hey, write to us and let us know what you think!

Derek McCaw


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