Most comics are easy enough to follow that if they're released monthly or bi-monthly you (the reader) still have a general idea of what the heck is going on. Grant Morrison's Batman run, however, is not one of those books. If you didn't pick up every issue in that series and didn't understand what the heck was going on--you're probably not alone. With Morrison, you have to not only read every single issue, but also look to the history of Batman comics to get all his references. The editors at DC Comics know this, and have since begun releasing hardcover volumes collecting the individual issues of that series, which include more than just the collected issues, but also insightful creator commentary as well. The most recent is Batman and Robin: The Deluxe Edition- Batman Must Die! (released May 11th, 2011) which compiles issues 13-16 as well as Batman: The Return #1.
While many of us are still waiting for an omnibus edition combining the series in its entirety, I'm almost tempted to drop the $25 dollars on this hardcover for Grant Morrison's commentary. Here's why this particular trade is so enticing.== TEASER ==
At first reading, Morrison's Batman & Robin run appears to be a giant puddle of imagery and metaphors meant to confuse you. While you may know what you're reading is amazing, you may not quite know what you're reading. That's why Morrison's commentary really enhances the experience, even if you own the individual issues.
When I first read Morrison's Batman, I recall being completely hung up on all of the satanic imagery connected to Dr. Simon Hurt's character-- something I only found out later was purposely done by Morrison to lead the reader down the wrong path. Yeah, I fell for it. Morrison explains this in his explanation of the imagery on the cover of issue #15 of Batman and Robin.
This cover was intended as a kind of Satanic reverse of the famous panel from DETECTIVE COMICS #38 published in 1940, where Batman solemnly inducts the young Robin into the crime-fighting fraternity.
Here the figures are flipped around, with left hands raised instead of right hands and a candelabra designed to hint at a trident or pitchfork shape, suggestive of the Devil. A huge, inverted cross appeared in the original drawing as an homage to the imagery of late ’60s and early ’70s “Devil” pictures such as Rosemary’s Baby, The Exorcist and The Omen, but this was considered to be too “on-the-nose” and was dropped from the final version.
Now that the story is complete, it's much easier to reflect on what we've read--and I admit, the commentary lets me read the arc again in a slightly different light.
Did you think that Dr. Hurt was Satan at the time? What about the run - did you like or not like, get or not get, and do you think that the new commentary will get you to pick up this trade?