Comic Review: Batman Incorporated #1 / Writer: Grant Morrison / Art: Chris Burnham / Publisher: DC Comics / Release Date: Out Now
Batman Incorporated has finally hit the shelves, with writer Grant Morrison and artist Chris Burnham at the helm, and though the series is restarting at #1, Morrison picks up where Batman Incorporated: Leviathan Strikes left off, with the Bat’s international crime-fighting syndicate under fire from the enigmatic Leviathan. Though previous issues had been marked by ambitious if occasionally confusing plotlines, Morrison maintains links to Batman Inc.’s pre-reboot continuity while serving up a tightly orchestrated, fast-paced story that will please old and new fans alike.
Morrison’s run on Batman Incorporated has seen generous use of non-linear narratives and in this latest issue, his trademark multidimensional storytelling works to his advantage. The book opens with a tearful Bruce Wayne calling for the end of Batman and, one would assume, Batman Inc., before being set upon by an angry mob calling for his arrest. Morrison then jumps back in time by a month, with Batman and Robin diving into the middle of a firefight, and Burnham’s dynamic art propels the story with unrelenting intensity. There are few artists who would be able to cram seventeen panels onto a single page without sacrificing the story’s flow, but Burnham makes it look easy.
Leviathan, the worldwide criminal organization headed by Damian Wayne’s mother, Talia al Ghul, is once again wreaking havoc, this time with their sights set on the ever-malcontent Robin. There is a price on the Boy Wonder’s head and, with a series of narrative acrobatics fleshed out Burnham’s inventive art, Morrison leads us on a whirlwind adventure and ends with a potentially game-changing cliffhanger.
The greatest strength of Batman Incorporated is its potential to showcase members of the extended Bat-family who lack their own titles. In the pre-New 52 run, issue #7 starring Man-of-Bats was arguably the most compelling installment in the series. By keeping Batman’s obligatory appearances to a minimum, Morrison allowed a character with otherwise limited exposure to spearhead an issue. While Morrison delivers exactly the kind of richly layered story we’ve come to expect from him, it seems a shame to center the plot on Batman and Robin, who already star in several titles in the New 52, while devoting only two pages to the other members of Batman Inc. Though it’s certainly a promising start, one can only hope that Morrison has plans for the lesser-used members of Batman Inc. to have their chance to shine.