Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Bryan Hitch
Colors: Alex Sinclair
Letters: Richard Starkings
To say that the Batman’s Grave was a slow burn would be an understatement. Over the course of twelve-issues this Elseworld’s maxi-series has slowly ramped up the tension to the point that this final issue is the incredibly violent conclusion to what has been an enjoyable take on the Dark Knight. Not that I expected any less from the creative team that birthed the widescreen action comic craze back in 1999 with the Authority.
The Batman’s Grave has centered around a war on justice in Gotham City. While this wasn’t apparent at the start, as this series originally looked like a classic Batman detective story with some really creepy antagonists. But as the story continued to unfold it became clear that there was more going on than what originally appeared and that Batman’s foe was far more dangerous. As we entered into the final act the real threat to Gotham became clear as Batman’s opposite, Scorn, rose to the surface. While Batman’s entire war on crime revolves around the pledge he made to his murdered parents. Scorn’s pledge to end justice in Gotham revolves around a pledge he made to his dying family; a family killed by his serial killer of a father who was subsequently killed by the Gotham PD. A family that Scorn feels was let down by the justice system.
The Batman’s Grave #12 is a widescreen brutal conclusion to this tale. Not that I would expect anything less from Bryan Hitch, whose artwork is a master class on how to do over the top destruction with amped up technology and vehicles more suited for a war zone then the streets of Gotham all while also making his characters incredibly human and realistic. This issue revolves around the final conflict between Batman and Scorn. Both highly trained individuals with apparently unlimited resources creates for one of the best Batman fights I have seen in years and is reminiscent of a Nolan directed Batman action sequence. Anyone expecting a dense story or amazing dialogue should go elsewhere as this issue is solely an excuse for Hitch to be his over-the-top destructive self and it’s through his artwork that this story is concluded.
There may be no better hero to lend himself to the Elseworld alternate realities storytelling at DC then Batman. The Batman’s Grave was another great example of this format and is a thrilling twelve-issue story that concludes in a fitting manner. There doesn’t need to be a return to this world as this issue is a beautifully rendered cap to this series. I would love to see Hitch draw more Batman stories, maybe on the flagship title or a story of his choosing, as his style is a perfect fit for an widescreen action-oriented Batman adventure.
Verdict: The Batman’s Grave #12 is a fittingly brutal and destructive finale for this maxi-series and anyone who stuck through the entire series will no doubt enjoy how it all concluded.