REVIEW: Batman Incorporated #1

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Talia al-Ghul has been revealed to be the mysterious Leviathan that Batman has been fighting, and now Bruce and Damian are being targeted by assassins hired by the jilted lover and her organization. Batman Incorporated hasn’t really been seen as a part of the continuity since the relaunch, so everyone wants to know how and where this Second Wave title will fit in.

BATMAN INCORPORATED #1
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Chris Burnham
Color: Nathan Fairbairn
Lettering: Patrick Brosseau
Cover: Burnham and Fairbairn
Variant Cover: Fran Quitely
Assistant Editor: Rickey Purdin
Associate Editor: Brian Smith
Editor: Mike Marts
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99

THE ARREST OF BRUCE WAYNE?

The issue starts out on an ominous note, with Bruce Wayne being arrested, presumably because of something related to Batman Incorporated. Unfortunately we don’t see why, as we immediately flashback to one month previous, where Bruce and Damian are out taking down some baddies.

ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS DC HAS, ART-WISE

I got interested in Grant Morrison’s Batman primarily due to Morrison’s writing, but Chris Burnham’s work with Morrison has grown to be an equal draw for me; some of the layouts in this issue reminded me of Francis Manapul’s current work with The Flash, and Burnham’s attention to little details, like Batman’s footprint in the raw meat on the floor combined with the meat dripping off his raised boot. When he first started working with Morrison it was clear he was doing his best to ape Frank Quitely’s work on Batman and Robin, but has developed it into something a little cleaner and less harsh than Quitely. On page one his Bruce Wayne looks clearly influenced by Greg Capullo, but whereas I’ve never quite liked how Capullo draws Bruce, Burnham has taken the good elements of Capullo’s work and mixed it with his own style.

BRILLIANT SOUND EFFECTS

The only other artist who does sound effects as (forgive the absolutely intentional pun) effectively as done in this comic by Chris Burnham is Francis Manapul. I particularly love the way the sound of the circular saw arcs in three-dimensions so that the CLANG! of it hitting armor is actually backwards. The only panel in the entire comic that I didn’t like was one of the red-tinted panels where Bruce and Damian are in the car, and Damian pulls his hood over his head; it’s hard to put my finger on it specifically, but there’s something in the proportions of that scene that bugs me every time I look at it. But if I only have complaints about one panel in an entire comic, you know the art is incredible.

A FUN AND EXCITING STORY

Morrison has been crafting a fascinating story over the last several years, and I was worried it was going to be a casualty of the DC Relaunch. The continuity of this and the Leviathan Strikes one-shot with the rest of the New 52 remains to be seen, but I’m not terribly concerned; Morrison is a great storyteller and even if it doesn’t fit perfectly with everything in the relaunch I’m sure it won’t be any worse an offender than Tony Daniel’s work on Detective Comics, and unlike Detective this is actually enjoyable to read. The inclusion of Batcow was a particularly fun touch, and I loved seeing the Outsiders and am excited to hear more about Wingman.

THE VERDICT: My Favorite Bat-title Yet Again

I have been enjoying Scott Snyder’s work on Batman, but I’ve been eagerly anticipating this book ever since the New 52 began. This is an absolutely perfect book, incredibly well-written and with fantastic art. Easy five out of five stars from me, and if you didn’t pick this up already you certainly should do so. Morrison and Burnham are the best writer/artist pair in comics right now.

Rating: ★★★★★