This morning’s DC news reveal is the return of Bruce Wayne, who was Lost-ed into the time-flux during a big battle with Darkseid at the end of Final Crisis. Since then, Robin has been Batman and Batman’s stinky kid has been Robin. The real Bruce Wayne will return in April in a six-issue mini-series called, surprisingly, THE RETURN OF BRUCE WAYNE. Grant Morrison continues his well-received arc on the character, and artists involved include Chris Sprouse, who will draw the first, 38-page long story, and possibly Frazer Irving. Andy Kubert drew the concept art. Subsequent stories will be 30 pages long.
Morrison expands on his plans to hotel guests nationwide in an interview in USA Today:
The first episode is set in the Late-Paleolithic Era, the second is in Pilgrim-era Gotham Village, and we also get to see Gotham in Western or noir style.
Each of the stories is a twist on a different “pulp hero” genre — so there’s the caveman story, the witchhunter/Puritan adventurer thing, the pirate Batman, the cowboy, the P.I. — as a nod toward those mad old 1950s comics with Caveman Batman and Viking Batman adventures. It’s Bruce Wayne’s ultimate challenge — Batman vs. history itself!
I’ve tried to thoroughly research each time period so that the stories work not only as at least fairly plausible reconstructions of life in the real 17th or 19th centuries but also as romanticized “pulp” versions too, while at the same time referencing the more extravagant history of the fictional DC Comics Universe in the background.
Veteran comics readers will recognize this as the whole “Elseworlds” concept, a long running line of imaginary stories which saw Batman (or Superman) as a pirate, Victorian detective, viking or gay cowboy who went to the mountains for sex each year. The line was scrapped earlier in the decade because it getting really silly. Of course, Morrison has a knack for taking things which are really silly and making them far less silly and much more iconic and multi-layered, so this could be a fine jumping on point for non-veteran comics readers. If anyone can write a story where Batman slays and then dons a giant prehistoric bat-thing, it is surely Grant Morrison.