And so we come to the end of the tracks. It’s been a long ride but here we are at the final issue – and fuck knows what number it is overall – in the twelfth book in a row that I’ve read from the one author.
Starting this post isn’t as tricky when compared to that in which Damian was killed because, well, let me get one thing out of the way: for all the praise that I’m about to heap onto this ending, it’s not the perfect finale that I had pictured in my head, surprisingly small in scope for Morrison. The ending I had conjured up was grand in scale but this most certainly isn’t. It’s actually quite sad too, though that doesn’t completely surprise me. In one of my more recent posts for this particular series I did note that the humour had piped down considerably, and it shows here when the last gag didn’t even make me smile, but just feel tremendously sorry for Bruce. As a matter of fact, I was curious to see what Morrison thought of this ending himself and found this particular quote, which I agree with to a certain extent: “I really think a lot of people will hate it, because it’s super bleak.” Well, I didn’t hate it or think it was that bleak, but I definitely left feeling that it ended on a bittersweet note, which is how I would describe it.
This finale is technically told to us from the perspective of Commissioner Gordon, who is interrogating Bruce Wayne after his arrest, that which we’d already seen at the start of Volume 2. It proves to be a captivating narration this way, we skipping back and forth between the interview and the showdown between Talia and Bruce, but more interesting than the similarly structured issue that followed Damian’s death because Morrison steps into the shoes of Gordon to explain his actions in this run and why he’s ending it the way he is. And to be fair, when I think about it really hard, I’m not sure how else such an epic story could have ended but by acknowledging the fact that Batman is Oroboros, the serpent eating its own tail forever. In an earlier post, somewhere but god knows which one exactly, I actually left a link to Morrison answering an audience member’s question about the ages of his characters in this run, to which he replied that it didn’t matter, going on to talk about realism in comics and why it was a load of bullshit. But he also pointed out that Batman would be around long after he was dead. Yes, much like that post of mine that followed Batman R.I.P., what Morrison suggests is that another writer will come along after him (in fact, he references Scott Synder’s currently ongoing Zero Year storyline, which is a new origin story of Batman), and after that person another, and another after whoever they may be, and it will continue that way forever.
Which is why that, though Talia and Bruce’s fight ends abruptly with a gunshot killing the former character, in the end we find that both Damian and Talia’s coffins have been cleanly stolen from their graves, and it’s why in the story’s epilogue we find Ra’s preparing a new army made up of Damian’s remaining clones. The story of Batman will never end. Sure, Morrison’s run has, these two cliffhangers and the deus ex machina of Kathy Kane entering to murder Talia then disappearing just as fast forever remaining unresolved, but it doesn’t matter – there’s other stories to tell, and they will be told. That’s why it’s a bittersweet ending, I think. On the one hand, it concludes in the only possible way, Morrison saying these words through Gordon’s ending monologue: “All I need to know is this: Batman always comes back, bigger and better, shiny and new. Batman never dies. It never ends. It probably never will.” That’s nice in a way, knowing there’s so much other creativity out there to be discovered.
But, on the other hand, looking back at all these posts I’ve written for all of these books, made up of so many issues, some of which I read additional material for because they were so layered, it’s sad to think that the story ends here. Quite like Bruce describes the impact that watching his parents being killed before his eyes left on him – it left a hole, of course – it’s hard, I think, to let go.