Title: Batman: Bruce Wayne.
Story arc: Fugitive.
Series: Batman: Bruce Wayne, Fugitive #1.
Writer(s): DEviN GRAYSON, ED BRUBAKER, Chuck Dixon & Kelley Puckett.
Penciller(s): ROGER ROBINSON, Scott McDaniel, RICK LEONARDI, Phil Noto, TREVOR MCCARTHY, Sean Phillips, William Rosado & Dave Ross.
Inker(s): JOHN FLOYD, Andy Owens, Jesse Delperdang, Robert Campanella, ANDREW PEPOY, Sean Phillips, ROB STULL & Marlo Alquiza.
Colourist(s): GLORIA VASQUEZ, GREGORY WRIGHT, WILDSTORM FX & Jason Wright.
Letterer(s): BILL OAKLEY, John Costanza, ALBERT T. DEGUZMAN & Willie Schubert.
Publisher: DC Comics.
Release Date: December 1st 2002.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
My Overall Rating:
Previously in the Batman: Bruce Wayne, Fugitive Series:
Batman: Bruce Wayne: Murderer? by Chuck Dixon.
There can only be pure bewilderment upon discovering something as ludicrous as your mentor, your idol, your partner-in-law, your adoptive son or your significant other is convicted of the worse crime out there. Refusing aid and acting out violently also doesn’t allow that person to be saved from their predicament before things escalate and become impossible to undo. And for someone as isolated and proud as Batman, life couldn’t get any more complicated. Or can it? Continuing where things where left of in Batman: Bruce Wayne: Murderer?, several critically-acclaimed creators explore the mystery behind a murder that hides more than it tells. This first of three volumes collecting the groundbreaking “Batman: Fugitive” event thus contains Batman: Gotham Knights #27 and #28, Batman #601 and #602, Birds of Prey #41 and #43, Batgirl #27 and #29, and Nightwing #68 and #69.
What is Batman: Bruce Wayne: Fugitive (Vol. 1) about? Convicted for the murder of Vesper Fairchild, Bruce Wayne’s journey to Blackgate Prison brings his allies to wonder about the circumstances of this bizarre incident. Unconvinced of his culpability, the Bat Family (Nightwing, Robin, Oracle, Batgirl, Spoiler, and Alfred) go through hell and high water to understand what’s going on. Unfortunately, the sudden escape of Bruce Wayne from incarceration, only to renounce his civilian identity, leads many to despair. Without any cooperation from Batman, the team is off to find clues that could elucidate this mystery, while Batman goes off on a rampage, maintaining his crime-fighting activities, without a care in the world as to Bruce Wayne’s fate, on top of an extra dose of violence.
“It’s no smoking gun. But it answers some questions.”
— Chuck Dixon
There’s no denying that fans are better off reading the newly collected edition of this trilogy, released a decade later, to truly forgo the unnecessary cliffhanger and absence of any answers in this first volume. The choppiness inevitably resulting from the implication of various writers of different ongoing comic book series (although they were mostly involved in the previous volume) remains a hinderance to the story, notably consequential to its pacing. Nonetheless, as you progress, you obtain tidbits of information on what might explain the circumstances of the murder but never enough to truly point a finger towards anyone in particular. Mostly focused on exposing different Bat Family member’s pursuit of the truth, this volume is also composed of pages filled with several key figures in Batman’s life who wish to extend their hand to Batman only to see themselves shut out by yours truly.
Similar to the one-too-many writers working towards constructing this event, the artwork sees to the presentation of an interesting array of styles and, surprisingly, they mostly align themselves towards a relatively uniform vision that captures a cartoonish and charming style. With an accent on the procedural elements of this mystery, there aren’t much action, forcing the artists to focus more on the noir atmosphere, the desperation from Batman’s allies, and his grimness through his violent behaviours and mysterious isolation (especially with him being completely oblivious to the ongoing manhunt for Bruce Wayne). With the mystery still unresolved, it is clear that the unanswered questions are the only hooks left in readers as we pray that the following two volumes bring clever and unexpected twists to this event.
Batman: Bruce Wayne: Fugitive (Vol. 1) is an uneventful yet captivating chapter into Bruce Wayne’s strange ordeal as the Bat Family slowly hunts for the truth.