By: Grant Morrison (writer), David Finch (penciller), Batt and Ryan Winn (inker), Peter Steigerwald (colorist)

The Story: Bruce Wayne is back in Gotham and giving orders. It might be best to say that General Wayne is back, because he’s got a small army of people he can draw on for his new vision of crime-fighting.

The Review: This book wowed me pretty much from cover to cover. The production (paper and thickness) felt satisfying to sit back and open. David Finch’s art, ably interpreted by Batt, Winn and Steigerwald, was awesome. There were a few gratuitous poses here and there, but the evocative settings and dynamism of even the heroes standing about made the whole story seem to be in motion. As an example, take a look at some of the non-standard chores the art team really knocked out of the park. First, the three-page opening with the wounded bat, especially the background of the library. Then, check out the batcave in Batman’s first briefing. The level of detail in the backgrounds and in the characters (unfortunately posing like they came out of the 90s) was eye-catching. And, check out the overview of Yemen. Great stuff. Money’s worth it for the art.

On writing, Morrison was nearly tone-perfect. He caught all the characters at their best (with one exception that I’ll get to in a sec). Morrison writes a good Damian. He’s a hateful, spiteful little bastard you’d just like to shake some so he gets his head on straight, if you thought he wouldn’t bite you. His growth under Morrison (via Dick Grayson) was genuine and Dick earned Damian’s respect. Damian’s insecurities here under Bruce completely transform Damian’s axis of aggression as he realizes that Dick is his only hope to keep on being Robin and growing into what he and his father want of him. It was really fun to watch. At the same time, I loved the role Bruce carved out for Dick. It is appropriate, logical (given Bruce’s new vision), and promises to keep my favorite member of the Bat-family at the front of things for a while yet. The quiet moments between Alfred and Bruce were also great to watch. And finally, as a reader of Batgirl, I also like the direction here that will play out in a book that needed a shot in the arm.

On the exception, and partly plot-wise, I had to jump a bit to keep up with the changes in Bruce and the expansion of the scope of his crime-fighting vision. My big thing was, where was this new vision coming from? It didn’t come from before his “death”. It wasn’t developed during the Return of Bruce Wayne miniseries. So, as a reader, I was left to fill in the drivers for this visionary change that is going to take Batman Incorporated far beyond Gotham. Luckily, I can buy the theory that a guy with an obsession (crime-fighting) having a near-death experience (job not done) redoubles his efforts when he gets better. Now, will Batman Incorporated fit within the Batman concept (revenge-seeking vigilante who operates at street level within a psychotic city)? Maybe. Is it going to be interesting? Yes. What about the bad guys? We’re getting into sophisticated spies and industrial crime-fighting and most of them look like they’ll be metas. And looking through some of Bruce’s new kit, it looked more like a trip through an Iron Man book that a Gotham one. This is a clear signal (as if we needed another) that Morrison has a different vision of Batman than the one we’re used to.

Conclusion: This book was very entertaining, and DC obviously threw their A-list creators at it. I’m very comfortable giving it a grade that will put it among the best comics of the year. Go pick it up.

Grade: A

-DS Arsenault

 

Grade

Conclusion


  • Matthew Grayson

    I was disappointed.  I bought this thinking I’d at least get a recap on how Bruce Wayne came back as I stopped buying the other lead in titles. Nope. 

     I admit I’m intrigued about the possibility of Babs as a Batgirl again, even if it’s only in an avatar form. The reasoning behind why Damian would be with Dick was also good. (Although during the mussion with him, why would Bruce say his full name?)

    I thought it was harsh how Bruce “told” Stephanie what to do, but it’s cool that it shows he fully accepts her in the fold. But, why did it have to cut instantly to another scene? Why no follow up with the questions? I’m not buying another title just to find out. 

    I liked Bruce’s call to Selina, and I hope DC will follow through with this and get rid of Tony Daniel’s depiction of a lying, haughty Selina with Dick and Bruce. 

    I’ve known about Batman, Inc from previews and not interested. I like the concept but not that so far, save for Knight, they’re depicted in a traditional folk costume, which isn’t necessarily bad but it just reminds me of Apache Chief way too much. (yes, I know of the Silver Age Batmen)

    Overall, I thought it gave me nothing for the price. I really thought I’d be clued in on what has happened and also have great read for the price, but it didn’t come through. 

    I feel ripped off and this is another reason why after 30 years of collecting and reading comics, except for Supergirl and Gotham Sirens (for now) I’m done. 

  • DS Arsenault

    @dean – i’m gonna have to go with matches on this one. ecology, like physics, may be flexible for stylistic or narrative reasons. or, perhaps they represent an invasive species for which the local ecosystem is unprepared, like when the simpsons brought a frog to australia?

    • dfstell

      I know, I know….you guys are 100% right. And I LOVE Batman, but I’ve always loathed that Year One scene of “the bat” smashing through the window as Bruce sits there bleeding. Bats don’t smash windows. They weigh ~1 pound. I could throw a 50 pound dog at the window and it would crack the glass, but not continue on into the room in a fluid motion. But, I could live with Year One, but the problem is that writers keep going back to that scene over and over and fiddling with it: Now the bats have wolf shaped heads and the bat will perch purposefully like a hawk after flying into the room.

      It’s a scab they need to stop picking at because they make it worse, especially because Batman is supposed to be quasi-real world.

      They get a pass on this stuff just because no one knows what bats look like b/c their out at night. If they did something equally weird with cats folks would go bananas.

      I just wish writers would get consults on this stuff or do some research. 🙂

  • I always say don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story. How do we know that in the DCU, the bats that mostly hangout in SE Asia and Australia in reality don’t live in the Eastern US there? 😉

  • dfstell

    Agreed on these points. I was a little lost too about “his experience” and wondered if I needed to reread Return of Bruce Wayne, but I think your explanation makes sense.

    I also love that DC sometimes plurges for a higher quality paper. I’m mostly a Marvel reader and Marvel books are never this nice to hold.

    My only quibble with this issue is the bat sequence in the opening. I hate when “they” draw bats with wolf-like heads. There are bat that look like that called flying foxes, but they all live in Australia & SE Asia. The bats we have in the eastern US are mostly little tiny things with itty-bitty teeth. Sometimes it sucks to know about science stuff…. 🙂

  • I think you’ll find that every city has some sort of psychotic street crime element, we only hear about the city that gets written about the most.