Batman Incorporated: Chris Burnham, Grant Morrison, Frazer Irving, Pat Brosseau, Nathan Fairbairn, Aaron Kuder
I can’t believe how much fun this issue was. I can’t believe how cool, and how much of a surprise this title has been in terms of my expectancies. Jumping right in, the very first thing I notice is that Frazer Irving is back from his run on the preboot “Batman and Robin” title. I was always torn over this computer-animated style, and even here there are times when I’m not thrilled by it…but mostly I did like seeing these characters done differently.
This Zero Issue picks up at the end of the Black Glove arc concerning the villain John Mayhew, and actually takes place before the preboot “Batman Incorporated” series consisting of 8 issues. It shows him in the board meeting at Wayne Enterprises talking about the forming of Batman Inc, and of Batman scouring the globe to pick up the various members.
It feels a lot like a montage, actually, like if this were a movie. And there we come back, once again, to my comparing Morrison’s writing style to a film, and having that very cinematic feel. But it’s true, this feels like part of the 2nd act of a movie, where the hint of the mysterious Leviathan organization looms threateningly, and Batman recruits a team to combat them.
We meet Knight and Squire, Johnny Miller - the Dark Ranger, Ravil - the Russian Batman, Nightrunner - the French Batman and my favorite, Man-of-Bats and Raven Red - the Native American father/son Batmen team, Jiro - the Japanese Batman, and El Gaucho - the South American Batman. There are a lot of cool moments involving all of them, and how they interact with each other. I loved all the shrink ray comments.
Even better was the discussion between Alfred and Bruce at the end of the issue. Alfred was cracking me up, and Bruce’s dialog was really funny as well. That’s something that, yes, we do see in other New 52 issues, but just not nearly enough. These two characters are supposed to be close…and Alfred is not a tool for Bruce to use and abuse.
Interestingly, though, the beginning of the issue shows a bit right out of “Batman: Year One,” with Bruce bleeding in his study, saying he could ring the bell just before the bat comes crashing through the window. I appreciated this page a lot, I think, because I JUST watched the DC animated film “Batman: Year One,” which left that whole sequence fresh in my head. Very cool.
The issue is brilliantly paced, and I love how it goes from a scene in which the characters are talking, right into a scene where they’re fighting alongside each other. There’s a lot of good movement in this issue, when it comes to the art. Johnny Miller, for example, has good moves, as does Nightrunner.
The issue does do a good job of explaining things, which Batman Incorporated didn’t do on its first run. Why didn’t it, though, I wonder? It worked that we just jumped into the new story with all the new characters because we all went along with it and adjusted just fine. But it seems ridiculous to tell half the story. Did Morrison have all of this already thought out? In any case, this issue closes the case.
Batman Incorporated #0, the verdict: A really fun issue that seriously hearkens back to the preboot in style and story. I had a great time reading it, and the dialog was very funny. It was nice getting the whole picture, this time, and showing how the other Batmen were “incorporated.” More and more this book is surprising me and forcing me to enjoy its exploits. How fun. I heard somewhere that it’s ending soon, and that’s kind of sad. I was only starting to get into these characters. Will we see them again? Part of me thinks that, without Morrison - who’s leaving DC Comics - these characters won’t have a place to go and they’ll fall into obscurity. Not Batwing, of course, because he has his own title…but Knight & Squire? Nightrunner? Jiro? Man-of-Bats? El Gaucho? What will happen to them all?
(Photo Source: DC Wikia)