Were you one of the people who complained about Batman R. I. P. ending in a cliffhanger, and then having to read Final Crisis to learn what happens to Batman? Were you one of the people who complained that they didn’t fill in the blanks between R. I. P. and Final Crisis? Were you left unsatisfied by the attempt in Batman #682-683 to fill in this blank? If your answer was yes to all of these questions, then Batman #701 is the comic book for you.
With their previous attempt to bridge the gap between R. I. P., they show that Batman has been captured, and put into an isolation chamber that has been forcing Batman to relive moments in his life, in order to download Batman’s life and memories into “Lumps” to create copies of Batman. In the end, Batman is able to turn the tables, and manipulate a Lump into helping him escape the chamber. During the dream sequences, we get a page explaining that Batman did make it back to the Bat-cave after going down into the water at the end of R. I. P., and does speak with Alfred. From there, we can piece together that after his meeting with Alfred, Batman investigates Orion’s murder in Final Crisis #1, and is captured sometime during the investigation.
Personally, that seems pretty simple. However, someone didn’t think that was the case. In Batman #701, we find out that Batman makes it back to cave, goes back out to search for Dr. Hurt’s body, has time to see everyone, and sleeps for 3 days before he is asked by Superman to investigate Orion’s murder. And so, we leave issue #701 after picking very little new information.
It’s not a bad issue. Grant Morrison’s writing is good. Tony Daniel’s art is good. It’s just the timing of the issue. This is something that would have worked perfectly as a chapter in R. I. P. had they just expanded it beyond a 6 issue story. But instead, we’re getting this story a year and a half later. What could have been an interesting part of R. I. P. is now just filler while we wait for The Return of Bruce Wayne.