The next seven pages recap events from Batman and his dead son Damian's life. It's a very thorough recap, basically brining any new readers attracted by the #1 or the promise of an "event" (the dead Robin Damian returning to life, as the title all but promises) up to speed, but it covers a good eight years worth of storylines. While meant to be a recap, it reads more like a required reading list.
Following the quick recap of Son of The Demon, it then references the events of various comic books collected in Batman and Son, Final Crisis*, the pre-New 52 Batman and Robin Vols. 1-3, Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne (all written by Grant Morrison), the post-New 52 Batman and Robin Vols. 1-4 (written by Tomasi), Batman Vol. 2: Death of The Family (Snyder) and Batman, Incorporated Vol . 2: Demon Star (Morrison again).
Now, because the eight-page review of the entire history of Damian Wayne was so damn throrough, one really need not have read or be super-familiar with all of those storylines to read this comic to understand and even enjoy this comic. After the recap, it is really nothing more than a big fight scene, given import by its players and the way it is explicitly linked to the previous eight years worth of Batman comics—or at least a single thread of those comics.
But I'm having a hard time recalling a comic book that made so many references to so many other particular trades before.
After all of that summary, which Andreson colors in a slightly gauzier manner, to give the scenes a fuzzier, dream-like quality designating them as flashbacks, pages 10 and 11 of the 40-page comic shows a two-page spread, in which Batman offers his final sentence of narration for the book—"Which brings us here, to the Himalayas...where it seems fitting that this all end in the snow"—and a character soon identified as New God Glorious Godfrey and the forces of Apokalips (identifiable as such by the presence of the Jim Lee-redesigned Parademons of Justice League amid the guys in battle armor) face off against a small army consisting of Batman, Ra's al Ghul, Frankenstein, Damian's great dane Titus and Ra's al Ghul's Man-Bats and ninja warriors. Two weird, black vaguely ancient Egyptian hover-coffins float at the feet of Ra's; these are the coffins of Damian and Talia al Ghul.
After four pages of parley, in which Godfrey informs them that he's come for "the original chaos shard" which can "amplify energy like nothing else in the universe and defy physics," and concludes that Ra's has hidden the shard inside Damian's coffin, the two forces fight.
For the rest of the issue.
Normally, that would seem pretty dull and excessive, but American superhero comics so rarely show action of any kind lasting longer than a few panels or a splash page, it's actually sort of refreshing seeing a battle scene given a few dozen pages to breathe, even if the number of participants means the set-piece is still a little too heavy on the posing, and a little too light on the panel-to-panel sequential action. Still, nice to see Kubert get a chance to draw so many characters and so damn much fighting.
During the course of the battle, Ra's gets blasted with a laser weapon and he and Talia's coffin both fall into a deep crevasse, and are seemingly lost. Batman grabs ahold of the disputed crystal, just long enough to recover his memories of the events of Crossworld, and, well, read the last panel:
Wonder Woman, Captain Cold, Lex Luthor, Cyborg, Aquaman and
Oh, and if you're wondering what a pod of orcas is doing anywhere near the land-locked Himalayas, well, join the club.
I suppose it's kind of silly to question such things in a book like this, where Frankenstein is teaming up with Batman and an immortal warlord to fight extra-dimensional invaders over a power crystal, but, well, when there's this much fantastic going on, you want the real-world stuff to be, you know, real. I'd say this is almost as bad as Wolverine finding a polar bear in Antarctica to kill and skin just so he could wear a polar bear skin for a few panels of Avengers Vs. X-Men, but then, that was a Marvel event comic, and this is a minor, book-specific storyline, so it won't be read and therefore noticed as much.
Wait, what the hell was I talking about before I started google the range of orcas and maps of the Himalayas...?
Oh yeah, so then Cyborg is able to Boom Tube away all of the Apokaliptian soldiers who weren't killed already, but Godfrey has Damian's coffin and the crystal when he steps through one of the portals.. Batman's set to pursue, but Shazam pulls him away from the closing Boom Tube, and then Batman proceeds to yell at him while punching him in the face for three panels, and then, when Luthor says something, Batman punches him too.
The guy just lost the body of his son, but even still, Batman seems a little high-strung. I kind of wish Cap would have flicked him and sent him reeling a few feet back into a snowbank or something. Instead, Cyborg breaks it up with an "enough."
The book ends with Batman pointing at the Justice League and screaming at them in a red-ringed dialogue bubble.
Kill-happy Justice League, punch-happy Batman and the out-of-place killer whales aside, it's pretty nice, big, stupid, melodramatic stuff, provided you know enough to follow along.
And, if not, well, the first eight pages or so sure gives you plenty of homework you need to do to catch up. Then you can come back and read this issue in context.
*The panel referencing Final Crisis simply has Batman narrating "I died" with an image of an Omega Beam—not in a pair, but just a single one—angling around the panel before striking Batman in the temple. The next two panels summarize the events of Morrison's Batman and Robin and Return of Bruce Wayne, which, frankly, is awfully odd. Final Crisis isn't, or at least shouldn't be, continuity after the events of Flashpoint.
Or, to use the in-story rationale for the New 52 reboot, it still happened, but after Reverse-Flash, Flash and Pandora messed with the time-stream, with Pandora merging "New Earth" with the WildStorm Universe and some version of a Vertigo Universe into a new, altered timeline, no one should remember the events of Final Crisis. As far as we know, Batman and the heroes of Earth have encountered Darkseid exactly once, in the pages of the first story arc of Justice League.
Also unexplained? Damian's age. It doesn't seem to matter too much here, as there's no explicit reference to how long Batman has been active. In the New 52, he's been around about seven years or so now—The Zero Year, the five years between the first Justice League arc and Batman #1 and 'TEC #1 and so on, plus the one year between 'TEC #1 and Death of the Family—whereas Damian was conceived at some point during that time, and would now be about 11 years old if he were still alive.
I think we're supposed to assume Talia used some kind of super-science to accelerate his aging, even if that makes no sense at all, because otherwise, the Batman with a seven-year-career having an 11-year-old son breaks the very, very fragile and hard to take seriously New 52 timeline. But, like I said, there's no explanation here, despite all the explanations given in the first chunk of the book, and, read without thinking about the reboot at all, it doesn't really affect this particular comic book.