Batman
Batman Volume 10: Epilogue
Medium: comic
Year: 2014
Writer: Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Ray Fawkes
Artist: Danny Miki, Greg Capullo, Roge Antonio, Ago, Riley Rossmo, Brian Level
Keywords: superhero, rubbish
Format: Batman 51-52, Batman annual 4, Batman Futures End 1, Batman Rebirth 1
Series: << Batman >>
Website category: Batman
Review date: 20 December 2021
Good grief, this was pointless. It takes genius to make Batman this uninteresting. I'd sooner read Gold and/or Silver Age gibberish... but, in fairness, I loved Batman Volume 6: Graveyard Shift. Snyder's record with this series's "bits and pieces" Batman anthologies is thus one hit and one miss.
This volume's efforts are:
1. REMAINS (20 pages)
The best story in this collection. An elderly Batman with serious medical issues breaks into Lex Luthor's laboratory to steal his cloning technology. Batman wants to keep cloning himself for ever, with an endless conveyor belt of Bruce Waynes popping out of the tank to don the Batsuit and punch the underprivileged.
It's that silly Snyder idea I mentioned. That's a supervillain scheme, isn't it? In any other comic book, all the heroes would be queueing up to smash it, with no questions asked. It would also undermine drama (turning the hero's death into just the latest clone activation event) and lead to SF clone story ideas that I can't believe anyone wants from Batman. But what the hell. This particular story's plot is just a big fight with Luthor's lab defences, which is reasonably entertaining.
2. MADHOUSE (38 pages)
The amnesiac Bruce Wayne pays a visit to Wayne Manor, but the Riddler, Clayface and Mr Freeze crash the party. This is mildly interesting-ish as a story about the villains, but Wayne himself is dull and so this is a story about a void.
Why wasn't this collected as part of Volume 8?
3. GOTHAM IS... (22 pages)
It's trying and failing to be a warm, thoughtful digression. It gives us a newspaper column called "Gotham Is..." that appears to be a vehicle for trite nothings. We see lots of vignettes, which can occasionally be nice (e.g. Jim Gordon), but mostly add up to nothing I cared about. "Gotham is... you." (A sentimental thank-you from the departing Snyder to his readers? Or a middle finger salute, bearing in mind Last Knight on Earth?)
4. THE LIST (22 pages)
Batman's hunting a super-thief who's trying to steal a billionaire's treasure, while in the past we see random and largely pointless snippets from his youth. Yes, he trained. Yes, he was a young boy whose parents died. Yeah, got that. These plotlines come together in a punchline that thinks it's heartwarming, but is actually okay-ish.
(This was written by James Tynion IV, incidentally, and I think it's clear that Snyder's a better writer than Tynion.)
5. BATMAN: REBIRTH #1 (20 pages)
"The future (and past) of the DC Universe starts with DC UNIVERSE: REBIRTH! Explore the changing world of Batman in this special bonus preview of BATMAN: REBIRTH #1."
This was DC's next reboot after its New 52 reboot. The Rebirth branding only lasted for a year, but its continuity wasn't rebooted until the 2021 Infinite Frontier relaunch. I can't believe I just wrote that sentence. Words fail me. DC is eating itself. This first issue has some fascinatingly gross ideas with a new timewarping version of the Calendar Man, but Batman appears to be grooming a replacement Batman and... no. (Although, in fairness, Tom King took over the writing duties with Rebirth and he's quite good.)
In summary, this book is sort of amazing. You could give it to scriptwriting classes, to study how it's possible to waste the opportunity of writing Batman.