COMICS: Batman Incorporated #1
Yet another Batman book hits the stands today...does it get lost in the crowd?
After a long wait, the second volume of Batman Incorporated is finally released, was it worth the wait?
Grant Morrison tends to write lengthy, elaborate, and often confusing Batman stories with the intention of creating an epic, long-spanning narrative. I feel that, for the most part, he has succeeded. Sure there have been ups and downs, and Final Crisis added an impossibly puzzling piece to what was already a puzzle of a story, but in the end, his Batman run has been one of the most intriguing and original stories about Bruce Wayne ever written.
After one of the bleakest cliffhangers imaginable(several Batmen were killed, and Damian was forced to kill again), Batman Inc was postponed for several months due to the New 52, and the future of the series in the new continuity was unclear. Finally, the new issue hits as part of the "Second Wave" of New 52 comics.
The series is a welcome addition to the new DCU, and Grant Morrison actually sidesteps most of the continuity issues and just pushes ahead with his story. This issue sees Batman and Robin squaring off with the freelance assassin, Goatboy. The issue opens with a flash-forward to Bruce Wayne standing in a graveyard and renouncing his role as Batman, before being put under arrest by a legion of police officers. This immediately builds tension and gets me excited to see how the series continues and leads Bruce here.
The majority of the issue features Bruce and Damien working together against Goatboy and trying to bring down gangs which are in league with Leviathan. What makes Batman Inc stand out among the various other Bat-Books out there right now is Grant Morrison's ability to deftly blend zany ideas with real dramatic tension and create a compelling story. When a book features an assassin named Goatboy and a "Bat-Cow"(I'm not making that up!)but still remain serious and thrilling, you know that the creator is doing something right.
Goatboy himself is actually a pretty cool character. He manages to be both an expert assassin and a sympathetic character simultaneously due in no small part to his own narration of much of the issue.
The dynamic between Batman and his son is also compelling, and its nice to see Morrison reference the current Batman and Robin series, cementing this series as a part of the current DC continuity. On the subject of continuity, Morrison also manages to explain how Batwing, who was killed in an earlier issue of Batman Inc, is alive and well following Flashpoint.
Artist Chris Burnham turns in his best Batman work to date, illustrating this action-heavy issue with flair and zeal that fits the wackyness of the book perfectly.
Overall, this issue is reminiscent of Morrison's earlier work on Batman and Robin; fun, colorful, action-packed, and with some great character writing. Ending on a killer cliffhanger, I can barely wait for the next issue.
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