Monday, July 2, 2012

Bat-Quest Part Two: "The Resurrection of Ra's al Ghul"

Now, if one is familiar with the Batman mythos, the title "The Resurrection of Ra's al Ghul" should be greeted with a yawn and a sarcastic "What else is new?" because perennial Bat-villain Ra's al Ghul's  main gimmick back in the day was that he would use a special pool he called a "Lazarus Pit" to bring himself back to life after being killed. He was killed a lot. But, during a storyline called "Death and the Maidens" in 2004, Ra's al Ghul died for real, after having run out of Lazarus Pits to use. He was finally brought back to life during an event called The Resurrection of Ra's al Ghul which spanned several titles, and several writers along with Grant Morrison contributed. This book was a twisty adventure story, that featured Ra's al Ghul switching bodies with someone multiple times, Tim Drake almost going off the deep end, and the continuing adventures of Damian Wayne.

Damian, surprisingly is less irritating than he was in "Batman and Son", and is shown to be insecure and vulnerable beneath his cocky exterior. Dick Grayson as Nightwing livens things up, especially when they get too bogged down in Tim Drake's self pity, and even though Morrison contributes just two issues to the gestalt he does do his usual magic, and revives the wonderfully wacky character I Ching (from Dennis O'Neil's late 60's run on Wonder Woman), who drops pearls of Buddhist and Taoist wisdom while kicking people in the face. Former Batman:The Animated Series showrunner Paul Dini contributes, and adds a sense of humor, but I wish the entertainingly loony Talia al Ghul had more to do in the story than just look angry. The art changes a lot, sometimes in the middle of an issue, which is odd, but it is often refreshingly cartoonish. Overall, this story was a refreshing detour from the main story arc that the next few Batman graphic novels follow, and is great fun.

Grade: B+

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