Neil Gaiman and Andy Kubert wrap up Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? in thoroughly satisfying style, giving us more versions of the Batman’s probable end, unveiling the woman who has been his guide* and providing a happy ending/beginning that cleverly reflects DC’s publishing history.
Batman’s – Bruce’s – conversation with his guide is something I’ve always wanted to see and never thought I would, and it’s handled beautifully. Kubert renders these scenes masterfully, making them emotional but not over the top. And he manages this without the cowl coming off (something Batman’s self-image apparently doesn’t allow).
The book is wrapped up with a batch of Kubert sketches showing the artist’s process and while I can take or leave this sort of thing, they show a genuine craftsman at work. The cover, a take on Detective 27, isn’t as attractive as part one’s, being too blooming busy, and the colours – while obviously well-thought through – don’t really click with the image.
Still, that’s a minor quibble. We’ve had two instant classics that succeed as a salute to the Batman’s past and assurance that he’ll continue long after we’re all gone.
* I was right! http://dangermart.blogspot.com/2009/02/batman-686-review.html