the_mighty_monarch's Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #5 - Masquerade review

And It Always Starts With A Dame

The Good: Whoa, I thought I wasn't going to like this issue all that much. Batman, close to the end of his journey, in a time period really similar to his own? Meh. But DAMN. This issue manages to do everything an issue of this miniseries was supposed to do. Give us a tale of Batman clearly defined by the time period it's in while properly balancing out the elements of his return. This one does it BEAUTIFULLY. Everything is set in a Film Noir tone (not with art to match, but still) the writing captures all of it masterfully. Bruce finds himself being talked into acting the part of a detective investigating a case. What's the case? Martha Kane's parents are convinced that Thomas Wayne was a maniacal cult leader, shameless debauchery, drug doing, sex party, devil-in-human-form pile of scum who transformed Martha Wayne into a filthy cult drug slut and killed her and faked his own death. Sound familiar? Did you read RIP? If not, WHY ARE YOU READING RETURN OF BRUCE WAYNE? Furthermore, we've got a man named John Mayhey recruiting people for his movie called, you guessed it, The Black Glove. That smile? I can't be sure because of the art but I think that's DR. HURT. 
Wait a minute. What's that sound? Like bells... 
A nice little cameo from Batman #700's Professor Carter Nicholas. 
All the little threads are tying together. I love how Bruce is reading the diary and reading all the tales from himself in other areas and not at first knowing it WAS him. Plus Bruce is finally starting to piece this together.
The Bad: What's really confusing me, is somehting that started back in R.I.P. The Missing Chapter. Is this Dr. Hurt's doing or Darkseid's? It feels like Grant Morrison can't decide which road he wants to take, and changes based on his mood whenever he wrote the issue. There's A LOT of Dr. Hurt in here but almost no Darkseid. Although, I think I might actually know how it all adds up? 
In Conclusion: 5/5 
I didn't exactly 'like' this issue all that much. But a lot of that is on a personal level. It's going to be compared to the other ones and frankly, mumbling barely conscious caveman Batman and Dark as All Hell Frazer Irving VERY TOUCHING ANNIE Crucible Batman are going to win every battle ever. But this issue perfectly played out a balance of Era with Story and actually had the 2 working in tandem, something none of the other issues have been able to do quite as well. Plus the whole Black Glove thing was just so mind blowingly insane and brought up a mass amount of potential implications. Originally I thought the last issue would basically be Batman getting back to his own era finally, but this issue actually managed to finally show me how absolutely intense and insane the last issue could be. Regardless, this is an excellent issue, and actually well worth the wait.

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