Review: Batman Pennyworth RIP #1
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Peter J. Tomasi and James Tynion IV
Letters: Travis Lanham and Tom Napolitano
Colors: Adriano Lucas, Rex Lokus and Nathan Fairbairn
Reviewed by: Carl Bryan
Alfred Pennyworth served the Wayne family for decades-even through the tragic loss of Bruce Wayne’s parents. His death at the hands of Bane is the only event that could possibly compare to that fateful night in Crime Alley, and it leaves Bruce at a similar crossroads. If Alfred was the glue that held the Bat-Family together, how will Batman deal with that all falling apart? And if the Caped Crusader is to be truly alone, he might either hang that cape up once and for all…or double down and carry on with this vengeful quest forever. Batman: Pennyworth R.I.P. #1 celebrates the life of one of the most important people in the history of Gotham City, while also addressing questions about what’s next.
Peter J. Tomasi and James Tynion IV did it right! I mean…they did it right! If there ever was a more poignant way to honor Alfred, it was this story.
As a dear reader of Batman, you knew that every Robin had to attend. And you knew that Barbara had to be there as well! And of course, Bruce… And for once, a Batman comic did not have Bruce in long soliloquy about Alfred. His silence, brooding, and lack of responses in some case seem very appropriate.
I appreciate Tomasi and Tynion IV’s acknowledgement of what has been going on across all the Batman comics as well as the DC Universe. DC has done a superb job of allowing their writers to be creative, but to also “work within the lines” so there is continuity.
By providing some insight as to how each of the Robins are feeling was brilliant. The frames providing why each of them are there at the hospital dedication helps a reader see the temperament of each Batman Family member as well as Bruce’s apparent feelings for each. But it is not about Bruce at the moment as Alfred had a will…and in that will, he wanted the family to take a night off from being vigilantes.
The sight of Catwoman leading the patrol with other lesser members of the Batman Family provides enough insight that Selina is in love with Bruce and recognizes the importance of this meeting.
This is story telling at its finest as each member of the family provides a toast, a retrospective story told in flashbacks as to what made Alfred who he was, and then a departure. Any hanging around from each member may have cheapened the meeting. Tomasi and Tynion IV knew what they were doing in leaving Bruce and Dick (sorry, not sorry as he is Dick to me and not Ric) alone to contemplate the next move by Bruce. It’s poignant and really a heavy moment in knowing that Bruce does need his first Robin, but Bruce is alone now. And his next move is hanging in the the air. As Barbara stated to Bruce, “We need the best of you so we can heal!”
Nothing. This was the appropriate length for a book that should be on every Batman fan’s shelf. Alfred is iconic. And some how, some way, you really want the “Control-Alt-Delete” to be set and he wakes up from some sort of prison, or that Clayface was actually portraying him all along, or that he is dunked into a Lazarus Pit. I don’t think that is going to happen!
The fact that this is Issue #1 begs that is there going to be an Issue #2 of Batman Pennyworth: RIP. This stand-alone project was well written, well illustrated, and simply well done. Again, in the words of Barbara Gordon….”So Beautiful…Thanks for this Alfred.”