In the ever-evolving landscape of fandom, there are simply some things that should not have happened. In Retcon This!, we examine some of the more questionable aspects of our beloved geek properties.
The Road Home set of one shots by DC Comics were a mess. Between being published in an order that almost no one can decipher to perhaps even being published out of order, the stories that were supposed to herald the return of Bruce Wayne to his correct time were a bad experiment. The concept was a good one, Bruce coming back in the identity of the Insider to check on his extended Bat-Family, and gauge their readiness in his bold new direction was just woefully mishandled.
One of the biggest problems with this being a series of one shots was that there were too many cooks in the kitchen. This was a delicate story to handle that needed one voice telling a cohesive story. Instead we got 8 one shots by 6 different authors. Even worse, with the exception of Batman and Robin, these one shots took the place of their monthly books, interrupting some great stories that were going on at the time. (Birds of Prey coming foremost to mind.) If these books had been done as a mini these problems could have been avoided. You would have had one consistent team telling a coherent story that did not confuse readers, or stop the stories going on in the Bat-Family of books. You still could have used all the same characters, but it wouldn’t have felt as disjointed and rushed.
The other problem was that all these books came out the same month. Not even the whole month was used, these 8 books came out in the last 3 weeks of October. If DC had done a mini, and staggered the books over all 4 weeks of the month, it would have alleviated some of the burning pocket syndrome that the harsh release schedule created.
Another option was not to do this at all. Besides a couple of nice moments in each book, what was really gained in telling this story? It seems to me that going from the end of Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne, straight to the Batman: The Return one shot wouldn’t have been all that bad a way to go. If these books had just not made it out of DC editorial, nobody would have known any better. I would have had no complaints. Birds of Prey could have gotten back to the story in Hong Kong a month earlier. It’s like It’s a wonderful Life in reverse.
DC already has a bi-weekly book coming out called Brightest Day. Batman coming back to the DC Universe could really be interpreted as the brightest day. If they would have told the story in this book, a lot of the issue I brought up could have been solved. It also could have been a bigger story than it was, and weaved the threads of the DC tapestry even tighter. The story could have dealt with the idea of Batman testing not only his own extended family, but the returned heroes of Brightest Day and the DC Universe at large. It seems like such a missed opportunity to give Batman the return he deserved.
So, what do you guys think? Did you enjoy these stories? Were they something that did not need to happen? Do you have suggestions of your own? Do you still think I’m crazy over the Blackest Night article? As always discuss in the comments below.