As DC Comics continues to shuffle their New 52 around, some muckity muck along the line decided that well, hell, there’s only forty six books with Batman in them, so let’s throw another into the mix. So, it seems that a few years back Batman died… or rather appeared to die, and when he managed to get back to life, he decided, much like the DC editorial staff did, well, if one Batman is awesome, how about a whole network of them. Thus was born Batman Incorporated, a multinational group of crime fighters funded and founded by the original Dark Knight, himself. Characters like Batwing, The Black Bat, Man of Bats and his sidekick Little Raven were created but with the exception of Batwing, none of them survived the reboot.
Batman Inc is back and how does this volume 2 of this side story in the Batworld stack up? Hmmm, well, how much are you enjoying that hamburger you’re eating right now? You like it? Then, maybe you better finish that on up before you start in on this one, because the first major fight scenes in this book involve a bunch of villainous freaks wearing goat heads and cutting up cow carcasses, juxtaposed with close up panels of fat people eating bloody meat. Look, I am a carnivore by nature, but you that sort of squirminess that comes with hearing someone slurping and chomping their dinner a little too close to your ear? Yeah, it’s like that. Thanks Morrison and Burnham, I’m on an all carrot diet from now on.
Grossness aside, this is a strangely coherent story from Morrison, not his usual off-the-rails silliness, just a continuation of the Leviathan story from his original volume of Batman Incorporated, which I never read, but you don’t really have to have read it to understand what’s going on, once again unusual for Morrison. The plot is simple. An apparent murder hit put on the current Robin, Damian Wayne, by his own mother, Talia Al Ghul, the daughter of Ra’s Al Ghul, probably to piss off Batman. If the opening scene, set a month after the dramatic ending page, is not misleading, the assassin, a down and out desperate who goes by the name Goatboy, was successful, and Bruce is giving up being Batman at the graveside of his son. Of course, it can’t be that easy and still be Grant Morrison, so while this is a rather straightforward Batman tale, it’s still just the first issue of something much bigger.
Art work by Chris Burnham looked to me like Frank Quitely and Howard Chaykin had a baby. It’s adequate, and clear but there is a roundness to facial features and a bit of extraneous scritchy scratch that simply doesn’t sit well with me. I will admit that ten year old Damian in his Robin costume standing next to a cow with a bat symbol across its face proclaiming it Batcow isridiculously endearing though. Burnham does a really good job making Damian look like a child, even as he is kicking henchman ass, but that’s not really enough to save the art in my opinion.
All in all, this book is ok, not great, not groundbreaking, not particularly worth adding one more title if your pull list is already fairly Bat-heavy. Also, if as of right now, doesn’t seem to have any ties with the current Night of Owls storyline that is tying the rest of the Bat family together. Like in the rest of the New 52, Bruce is apparently five years younger than he was pre-reboot, but Damian remains 10 years old, so where exactly this fits into continuity… well, maybe it’s just best not to think about it. My verdict, read this book if you are a diehard Morrison or Bat-Fan. If you aren’t, you aren’t missing anything really. Pick up Scott Snyder’s Batman. It’s really the only Dark Knight anyone needs.
Batman Incorporated #1
In the Eye of Leviathan
Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Chris Burnham