Grant Morrison’s run on Batman may be over — but that doesn’t mean the show can’t go on, does it? As Morrison says in the afterword: “He’ll still be here long after I’m dead and forgotten; long after all of us have come and gone, there will be Batman.” A little scary and eye-opening, but the man makes a point — and this special is ample proof.
So what are Raven Red, El Gaucho, Dark Ranger, Knight and the rest of the Batman Inc. gang up to after the fall of Leviathan and Talia al Ghul? Is it good?
Batman Incorporated Special #1 (DC Comics)
The enjoyment you get from Batman Incorporated Special #1 is going to hinge on your expectations: Are you looking for some strict continuation of Morrison’s epic concepts and multi-layered narrative? You might be in for a letdown.
Do you see the entire thing as some money-grubbing marketing ploy in the vein of Before Watchmen? You might want to steer clear.
Or do you simply geek out for the globe-spanning army of Batman Inc. and have a hankering for even more of their adventures? Then by all means, follow me.
Batman Incorporated Special #1’s first story “Rending Machine,” follows the exploits of Jiro Osamu, the Batman of Tokyo. Just like we saw in Batman Incorporated #11, this little yarn is written and drawn by Chris Burnham, long-time Batman Inc. artist.
The story is fun, self-referential, and doesn’t take itself too seriously — but ultimately can’t live up to the wacky premise. Burnham kills it with his anime-styled/Battle Kenya conflation art but the main villain is a lame duck despite the obvious tongue-in-cheek overtones.
“Without You” is the second offering; written by Joe Keatinge and drawn by Emanuel Simeoni, the story features Beryl Hutchinson, former Squire and new Knight, as she copes with the death of Cyril Sheldrake, the previous Knight who had his neck crushed by the Heretic back in Batman Inc. #06. A surprisingly heartfelt little story that’s worth a read.
Next up is “Brave” with Raven Red, son of Man-of-Bats — the Native Batman. This one is quick and straightforward, but writer Nathan Fairbairn infuses the whole thing with poignant ideology and a mysterious old man whose cynical, yet Romanticism-charged narration would feel right at home in Cormac McCarthy’s Border Trilogy.
Nightrunner, Dark Ranger, and a character fast becoming one of my new favorites, the Lothario Batman from Argentina known as El Gaucho star in “The Danger Of La Muerte En Vida,” a story that sees the Bat-trio a powerful occultist that has brainwashed the entirety of Buenos Aires.
And of course, what Batman Incorporated Special would be complete without a little “Battlin’ Bovine” action? That’s right: It’s Bat-Cow, bitches.
- Interesting collection of Bat-related stories.
- Strong, varied art.
- Fun little tales.
- If you aren’t already a fan of the characters, this probably won’t sell you.
- $4.99 price tag.
Is It Good?
There are some endearing, fun moments and visually appealing panels but ultimately if you aren’t already down with the agents of the Bat that Morrison already explored during his seven-year run, plunking down $4.99 on this issue probably isn’t going to do much to change your mind. Already a fan of the supporting cast of Batman Incorporated and the concept of Bat-men and women across the globe bashing heads like myself? You might get a kick out of this, but you aren’t missing anything earth-shattering if you pass.
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