By Philip Schweier
May 29, 2019 - 5:06
The story features the return of the Reaper, a homicidal vigilante from Brue Wayne’s childhood. Thankfully, there are a few pages of exposition for reader who may not have read the original story. The Reaper has ties to Batman’s early career, so Bruce and Alfred head overseas to investigate the reappearance of someone long believed to be dead. To Tomasi’s credit, the answer is far from obvious, but remains something of a convenient deus ex machina.
The story is left somewhat open-ended, suggesting it’s not quite over yet. Why not? Why re-introduce a character only to end him right away? In this case, it seems awkward and clunky, the way the Reaper wears massive blades on his gauntlets. I expect they would get in the way, but reality and comics almost never blend well, so I’ll just pretend the blades retract into housing in the Reaper’s forearms.
But all Batman aside, what I enjoyed about this story the most was Alfred’s dialogue. He’s gotten snarky in his old age, but overshadowing that snark is his admirable competence as a sidekick for Batman. No, he will never put on a red and yellow costume and fight side-by-side with Master Bruce, but he does lend a level of support all other heroes should envy.
I’d like to see Alfred star in a re-tooling of the Secret Six, alongside other supporting civilians who have proven themselves as investigators or soldiers. Handled by a thriller writer like Greg Rucka or Brad Meltzer, I’d buy the hell out of that book.