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I haven’t been reading Batman’s own title for some years regularly, but I had to give this one a look. If I measure out my life in the span of this title, the earliest one I can recall reading and owning was issue 102 from 1956 (long since gone). The first 00 anniversary issue I recall reading is 300 from 1978, which came out not long after I started working for DC myself. Issue 400 happened while I was on staff, and I probably did production work on it. Issue 500 was part of the Knightfall story, I was reading the book then, and lettering one of the other Bat titles, I think. I don’t recall issue 600, and probably didn’t look at it. And here we are at 700.
Grant Morrison has written what seems to be a complete mystery story taking place in four parts, each at a different time, each with a different art team. I say seems to be, because I found the opening confusing and the storytelling hard to follow. There were certainly parts I enjoyed, but as an overall story I didn’t really get it. Perhaps if I were to read it more carefully again it would become clearer, I don’t know. Grant likes to start things in the middle of a story, and there’s nothing wrong with that, I’ve done it myself, but there may be parts of this story told elsewhere, either in earlier issues of this title or other Bat titles, and to me it seemed more a puzzle with pieces missing than a complete jigsaw.
The art is all fine, with Frank Quitely’s section the one I found most memorable, but the others by Tony Daniel, Andy Kubert and David Finch are nearly as good. Lots of interesting characters, some intriguing ideas. Nice character moments, with The Joker in fine form. But the Joke Book plotline continued to evade me, and the supposed locked-room mystery mixed up with time travel just left me confused. Ah well, maybe it’s me!
Recommended, but only mildly.