Monday, March 3, 2008

The Resurrection of the Deus Ex Machina

Recently, in the pages of DC's Batman titles, including Detective Comics, Robin, Nightwing and Batman, there was a multi-part story called The Resurrection of Ra's Al Ghul in which, believe it or not, the Demon's Head was brought back from the dead. Again. No surprise. So I read this crossover and I was thinking for most of the entire story, what is the frigging point here? Ra's doesn't come back in the crossover itself. He makes his first appearance in the prelude. Okay... and nothing is resolved at the end of the crossover either. After a lengthy fight in Nanda Parbat, the hidden city, a goddess stops the scuffle and kicks them all out, including the Bat-clan.

Wait, hold up. Let me see if I got that right. None of the characters actually did anything to resolve the conflict - a goddess did. Am I crazy or is that an actual "deus ex machina" being used in a comic book from 2008? That's ridiculous. The resolution to the Ra's Al Ghul resurrection is in the issue after the end of the crossover.

Wait, hold up again. Am I saying what I think I'm saying? That a seven part crossover doesn't actually contain the whole story, that it's in fact, a ten part crossover, and that ten part crossover includes not only terrible art from everybody involved, but an honest to god "deus ex machina" (pun definitely intended)? Wow. To paraphrase Chris Sims, a great crossover, or
greatest crossover?

Nothing happens in this crossover that's worth remembering. Ra's comes back. Talia loses control of The Hand the League of Assassins that Ra's commands. Damian realizes his grandfather ain't worth sh*t. The Sensei, some bad-ass I've never heard of that kicks the f*$% out of Batman turns out to be Ra's father (after some Wiki-ing, it turns out that Sensei has been around as long as Ra's). And at the end of the crossover, Ra's has been resurrected and is in the body of his son, the White Ghost (which is also a revelation - the son thing, I mean). But we knew this already. He was resurrected outside of the pages of this crossover.

This was terrible. And what makes it more terrible is the involvement of the great Grant Morrison and Peter Milligan. I understand that when you work with a trademark, you're under the control of editorial mandate, but I see no use for Ra's Al Ghul that couldn't be fulfilled by any number of characters.

Oh yeah, and one last thing. Why is Tony Daniel working on a comic with the God of All Comics? Doesn't he deserve an artist who can actually draw something other than posing?

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