We've finally reached the end of the stages of grief arc. Will anything be accomplished? Will we have a set up that doesn't put Dick as the golden child? Will Bruce try to make amends with the family members he wrong? Well we know the last one isn't happening.
I'm not really a fan of the simulator machines that tell the characters what could happen in VR. It's just a tired storytelling device and well, is this STILL denial? Has Bruce made any process at all? You would think he did in the Catwoman issue but then again Selina doesn't know what he's going through. He wasn't forced to confront anything with her around. And this, the way it's been written I can't feel much for Bruce. Tomasi can make me feel for most of the characters but his Waynes always leave something to be desired. First Damian was written as a spoiled brat that goes against his fathers' wishes, attacks his "brothers" and yet he never gets punished for any of it. This made him very unlikable and well Bruce is worse. I can't feel much sympathy for a man that treats his family like crap when their trying to help him and makes everything about how his grief is the most important thing in the universe.
The dialogue continues to range from good to horrible. Mainly the fighting banter which I never felt Tomasi got a proper handle on. Which baffles me because Guy Gardner always had the best lines in GLC. This is the first time any of this arc actually directly tackles the events from Batman Inc. That sort of raises questions about Bruce's behavior. The most obvious being why he acted the way he did and attempted to bring Damian back when there's no body in his grave! I'd even question why no one else brought this up in previous issues. Maybe the bat kids don't know but Alfred does. Are we to believe Tim and Barbara didn't share information with him? This is even more confusing since Jason was the one that saved Bruce's life and Bruce repays him by basically jumpstarting his PTS. Now we know he did that for nothing because there's no body for him to bring back! That alone makes this entire arc pointless and well, insulting.
So let me see if I get this right, according to the VR simulator they only would have won is if one of them (Dick in this case) killed the Heretic. Nice to know that we have proof that Bruce's way doesn't work that he'll forget about. Was that why Bruce suddenly decided to accept the death? Because he can't accept his way is wrong? Great, his morals are once again more important than his sons. At least Jason can know that Bruce wouldn't cross that line for Damian either.
Naturally it has to be Dick that sets him straight even though Bruce should have blamed him like he blamed Alfred. Hell Dick is furious with him in other books. We get a very cliché end to the usual Batman grief story. One where he runs in circles and ends in a very predictable spot while treating three of his allies like shit.
The only saving grace in this is of course the Alfred section. It also highlights something I always had trouble with: Bruce putting himself above others and not noticing their feelings. Alfred loves the boys and all too often it's overlooked. Otherwise this was a waste and says some very disturbing things about Batman. I wanted this to turn into a Batman Family book but I rather have a different writer. Which is sad because I enjoyed Tomasi before this title.