Batman: The Resurrection of Ra’s Al Ghul

9006_400x600Everyone knows that death in comic books is temporary at best, especially for big name characters. Doubly so when that character’s defining trait is immortality via repeated immersion in magical rejuvenating Lazurus pits. And so, Ra’s Al Ghul has returned to life once again, surprising absolutely nobody. However, this time he’s come back wrong. To fix this error and continue his life he needs to possess someone who is a direct relative. Because Ra’s was born at least 600 years ago, he is a massive misogynist, so he insists that the relative be male. Thank goodness there is the newly introduced (at the time of publication) son of Batman and Talia Al Ghul, Damien Wayne. Unfortunately, Damien has been kidnapped to be used as a puppet for his grandfather. So Batman, Nightwing, and Robin must rescue him, before Ra’s can complete his resurrection and take over Damien’s body for good.

Because the book has multiple artists, the quality of the drawings varies wildly. Sometimes it looks like a superhero kung-fu adventure. At other times it appears to be almost a cartoonish parody of the above. It’s not all awful, but it veers so wildly all over the map that the book as a whole suffers for it. There’s some bodily horror and gore in the book as well as the usual violence inherent in a Batman title. It’s not awful, but I’d rate it for age ten and up just to be safe.

While this is not a bad story, it’s poorly told, which is sad, given that Morrison’s books are usually fantastic. However he was one of five authors, which reminds me of the adage, “too many cooks spoil the broth.” Much of the story felt wildly decompressed. While it takes place over eight issues, it seems to me that the authors could easily have solved it in half that time. Also the event mentioned in the title (Ra’s Al Ghul’s resurrection) actually happens off panel; most of the plot focuses on Ra’s trying to fix his botched rebirth. Thus the book is grossly misleading from the get go. A final complaint is that the last time Ra’s was alive the story implied there was a Lazurus Pit in the Batcave. The current story ignores this suggestion, depriving us of two interesting stories: Ra’s actual resurrection and his trying to do so in the sanctum of his greatest enemy. Given all this, I recommend that you only get this book if you’re a die hard Batman fan. Otherwise, don’t bother.

Batman:The Resurrection of Ra’s Al Ghul
by Grant Morrison, Paul Dini, Fabian Nicieza, Peter Milligan, Keith Champagne
Art by Freddie Williams II, Tony Daniel, David Lopez, Ryan Benjamin, Don Kramer
ISBN: 9781401217853
DC Comics, 2008

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