Batman # 673
“Joe Chill in Hell”
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Tony Daniel
So, at the end of last issue, the Batman is dying as his life hangs in the balance and he passes over to death, only to be brought back. In this issue, he dreams.
This is toned down Grant Morrison weirdness. Every so often he busts out with an almost totally non sequitur story that is thematically linked. It is in fact how he got famous with Invisibles. In almost all of his works now, an issue like this appears. This is actually one of his stronger efforts in this story type.
Batman near death, struggles to find a rational time when this could have occurred. He thinks first he is in a sensory deprivation chamber for ten days and then that he is being tested in Thogal after the previous Crisis. This does well to draw on the man always looking for an answer.
There is also a sequence about finding Joe Chill, which I won’t spoil, which is far from the rational, searching the revenge fantasy part of the Batman. The other scenes bridge the gap between the two extremes. This seems to be exploring the same themes as The Killing Joke in a more artsy, but less effective manner. The issue is solid, but all that’s said about the character is fairly obvious, even if it is interesting. And since it’s all in the character’s head, it’s hard to justify a whole issue spent on this. At least the art keeps things interesting and tense. The claustrophobia of it surely adds to the tone and the false set up of when this occurs.