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This arc begins another crossover thing, apparently, but as it’s the beginning, and written as a complete story, not part of a story, I was able to ignore that angle and enjoy it. The plot follows several threads, one focusing on young Damian, son of Bruce Wayne, now filling the role of Robin to Dick Grayson’s Batman. Damian’s mother, the daughter of Ra’s al-Ghul, has secret plans for him, and diabolical ways to control the boy that can do nothing but contribute to his twisted upbringing, not to mention bring unexpected danger to Dick. Grayson, meanwhile, is working with the mysterious fully-masked Sexton, exploring mysteries seemingly hidden in the Wayne mansion, which suggest Bruce Wayne may be lost in the past and trying to get messages to him. There are more surprises, but I’ll leave it there to avoid spoiling anything. Grant Morrison continues to be in fine form on this title.
The art by penciller Andy Clarke and inker Scott Hanna is also excellent, with a style that seems to combine several elements of past and present Batman artists to come up with a new, unified whole. I see echoes of Marshall Rogers in the architecture and lighting, Arthur Adams in the rendering, Frank Quitely in the page designs, and even a little of Brian Bolland in the attention to detail and realism. Really quite an excellent job. The story does wrap up, but of course the Bruce Wayne part will continue elsewhere. Meanwhile, the final page is another shocker that I didn’t see coming at all. Highly recommended!