Graphic Novel Review of "Batman: R.I.P." by Grant Morrison
Publisher: DC Comics
Publishing Date: February 10, 2009
Length: 208 Pages
Availability: In bookstores everywhere and on Amazon
Parental Rating: This book is recommended for ages 13 and up because of language, blood, and violence.
Batman: RIP is a graphic novel by Grant Morrison and is part of his Batman run. Batman is trying to stop the Black Glove, but they have plans for Batman and launch an attack that will cripple him psychologically. Will they destroy him or will he defeat them? Is this the end of Batman?
This Story Is Weird
Batman: R.I.P. is an ambitious project from Grant Morrison. Unfortunately, it’s an immensely confusing idea with the strangest execution I’ve seen in a comic book. This is my second time reading this book and I’m still confused. If I’m confused, the writing was not presented in a way that was very clear. Readers shouldn't be wondering what the story means and what the plot is.
The plot tries to be groundbreaking and grand, but I still don’t get what happened. The villains, save for the Joker, were boring. I didn't care about the villains in the story at all. This graphic novel tried to be something unique and different, and while unique can sometimes be good, this time it turned into a confusing mess. While I do enjoy Grant Morrison’s writing, I’m not someone who is a big fan of his work, even if I do like most of the stories I’ve read by him.
A Psychological Attack on Batman
While having villains attack Batman on a psychological level sounds interesting, I feel that the idea was poorly executed. Grant Morrison retconning all the old hokey Batman stories as some kind of weird mind-control plot was just dumb. It doesn’t help that all the trippy psychological stuff is just trying to be deep so it can sound deep, not necessarily because there’s any depth in the story or the events that transpire.
Batman: R.I.P. merely runs on the hype of the idea of the story’s premise, not the execution, and that’s why I don’t really like this book at all. It was a poor execution of an interesting idea.
The illustrations for Batman: RIP are okay—Tony Daniel did a good job, but nothing about this book is particularly memorable. The fight scenes are good and some of the imagery is interesting but nothing else about this book really stands out to me. It tries to be something grand but it just turns out to be a disappointing graphic novel that tries to be more than it actually is.
It does try to play up the trippy imagery, but it just ends up looking weird instead. It’s not anything that I found to be amazing or anything. The artwork was just okay.
This Graphic Novel Is Overrated
As a Batman story, Batman R.I.P. is an interesting one, but it didn’t wow me or blow me away like other Batman stories have. While a lot of people really loved this story arc, I feel indifferent to it, probably because I know that no one really stays dead in comics these days.
While the storyline in this comic did lead to a fantastic Grant Morrison run of Dick Grayson as Batman, the story that leads up to that is just okay. While a lot of fans really enjoyed this graphic novel, I found it to be too confusing to be enjoyable.
It’s not the greatest Batman story ever, but it’s not the worst either. It was just okay for me and not anything particularly memorable.
Is It Worth Reading?
Batman: R.I.P. is a comic that I found to be very weird—not the good kind of weird, but the confusing kind of weird that makes it unenjoyable because I can’t understand the story and what the author Grant Morrison is trying to tell me with it.
I won’t say it’s the worst Batman story ever, because it definitely isn’t, but I feel it isn’t one that stood out to me as a Batman fan. I can’t recommend it based off my personal enjoyment of the graphic novel, but if you want a highly acclaimed Batman story arc, you’ll probably enjoy it.
What Doesn't Work
Interesting story premise
Story is too confusing
Mediocre execution of the plot
Sounds pretentious and lacks depth
Final Grade: C-
I know that a lot of Batman fans will be surprised by my rating of Batman: R.I.P. because a lot of other critics gave it very high praise. I’m not one of them, and I didn’t find this comic to be entertaining for me as a Batman fan, even though the premise is a really good one.
The art is decent enough, but a comic shouldn’t be purchased just because the art looks decent. You need to have both fantastic artwork and a fantastic story, but the story is the most important part because the story is what matters the most to the reader. And this confusing train wreck of a story cannot be buoyed by the art at all.
This story tries so hard to be deep and profound, but it’s too incoherent to be deep and profound. It’s more like try-hard depth with only a shallow surface. The story isn’t nearly as good as the premise and that’s what makes it a disappointment for fans. It could have been a fantastic Batman story, but instead it just it’s just pretentious psychobabble in a Batman story. It's a bunch of pseudointellectual dialogue without any depth behind it.
Grant Morrison’s writing can be overrated. This book tries so hard to be good, it’s more like so bad it’s good, but it’s not really anything amazing, and it’s just not outstanding to me. I can’t really recommend buying it unless Grant Morrison is your favorite. It’s worth borrowing and reading from the library. I’ve done that twice and I still don’t feel compelled to buy it.
I can’t really recommend buying it because it’s just too confusing and pretentious for me to say you should buy it. You’ll keep asking yourself, “What just happened?” and not for a good reason either.
It’s not a story I’ll be reading again, and it’s not a book I can recommend unless you get it from the library for free so there is no money paid for it and you can decide for yourself if you like it. If you like it, pick it up, but I cannot recommend this book to Batman fans. It’s just too confusing and disappointing for me as a Batman fan, but there are other Grant Morrison stories that are better that came out of this story arc and you should read those instead. They let you know what happened without all the confusing nonsense.
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