Batman #47 – Tom King, Writer; Tony Daniel, Artist; Danny Miki, Sandu Florea, Inkers; Tomeu Morey, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Corrina: Dull Elseworld Bruce Wayne
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: The conclusion of “The Gift” takes the story to a dark place in Batman #47, even darker than we’ve seen before – and that takes some doing. Booster Gold’s attempt to create an alternate timeline as a wedding present for Bruce Wayne has gone horribly wrong, leaving him trapped in a world he helped create, with a Bruce Wayne whose seemingly perfect life has collapsed along with the world around him. As the issue opens, someone is working tirelessly to restore Skeets and finally succeeds at waking the robot up. That someone turns out to be Bruce, who needs Booster to fully reactivate him – and has been keeping Booster chained up in the Batcave ever since the death of Bruce’s parents a year ago. Everyone in this world has gone completely off the rails, and Booster’s mind seems to have cracked during his imprisonment as well. As he and Skeets are reunited, Booster is drafted into Bruce’s elaborate plot for revenge on Batman and Catwoman.
King has a tricky task here, balancing the inherent humor of Booster and Skeets’ characters with just how dark this story has gotten, and I think he does a good job – Booster’s fast-talking banter as Bruce impotently tries to force him back on task is hilarious, but you never forget just how horrible the events that led us here are. Ultimately, Booster and Skeets manage to take Bruce back to another timeline, where the events are forced to play out as they were supposed to, and the increasingly deranged Bruce from the “Gift” universe takes his own life. The final scenes are chaotic, confusing at times, and almost unbearably tense. I’m not sure about the final twist, as Boooster seeks out his own Batman and Catwoman to tell them what he did, to unburden himself. It’s very well-written, but the lack of any perceptible reaction from Batman makes it end on a weird note. I’m not sure that Batman fully believes Booster, and that’s ultimately pretty in character for a hero who no one ever really took seriously.
Corrina: If you’re going to do an Elseworlds Batman, it has to have something unique, something that makes it stand out, especially given that even as I type this, there are THREE other Elseworlds Batman stories being published: Batman: Sins of the Father (a TellTale Games tie-in), Batman: Creature of the Night (Kurt Busiek & Jon-Paul Leon’s brilliant reworking of Bruce Wayne’s trauma), and Batman: White Knight by Sean Gordon Murphy, which just concluded.
And any Elseworlds that deals with trying to prevent the deaths of Thomas and Martha Wayne also has to contend with Alan Brennert’s classic “To Kill A Legend” from Detective Comics #500.
Compared with those stories? This Elseworlds is slight.
“The Gift” gives us a one-note angry and selfish Bruce Wayne, a murderous Selina Kyle who can only say “meow,” a killer Dick Grayson as Batman who is barely there, and a depressing ending with no resonance. I guess it’s a decent Booster Gold story, though I’m tempted to ask how Booster managed to deal with his bodily functions, never mind his muscles atrophying, in the year he was kept captive while wearing his suit. (Also, why would he even think of this gift in the first place because, you know, he just let Krypton explode to save the timeline?)
It does make a decent case for King writing Booster Gold. I could go for that, if Busiek, Christos Cage, Murphy or Brennert could take over Batman.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.