November 10, 2010
This is a panel from the beginning of Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #2 by Grant Morrison (art by Frazer Irving). This mini-series, the final issue of which came out today, follows a time-displaced Bruce Wayne as he claws his way back to the present day, experiencing various time periods along the way. This Lovcraftin mass of incandescent tentacles is a (the?) Hyper-Fauna, an interdimensional beastie that appears to be connected to the Ancestor Box, an alien device used by Darkseid (a major supervillain, basically the god of evil) to send Batman back in time, rewrite his continuity, and turn him into a living weapon that will destroy the universe on his return…or something like that?
Honestly, that’s where I get kind of hazy on the whole thing. The Return of Bruce Wayne is the culmination of Morrison’s epic run on various Batman titles, a sprawling web of stories that are densely packed with layers upon layers of references to the Caped Crusader’s entire 71 year history. So, as you might imagine, it’s a tad hard to follow at times. That being said, it’s totally worth the extra effort needed to drill down into it all. For anyone willing to take the plunge, I recommend checking out these annotations. And these.