on April 25, 2012
This is the most fun I've had in a while reading a comic - Morrison's writing crackles with wit and joy. This is a substantial book with a lot of great stories illustrated by great artists.
You should know that this is the latest in a long-running series of Grant Morrison Batman stories. It makes sense on its own but a far richer way to experience this is in order. You can buy these books at your local mom and pop comic book shop. Or, barring that, I'm pretty sure you can get them online!
*Batman and Son
*The Black Glove
**The Return of Bruce Wayne
**Batman & Robin (three volumes)
These stories add up to a huge addition to the Batman mythos that stands with the very best Batman stories, and is a sheer delight to read. I highly recommend that you read them all!
on June 1, 2012
I don't generally go for mainstream superhero comics, but Grant Morrison carries a lot of weight with me; his All-Star Superman and Flex Mentallo series are, in this reader's estimation, the very pinnacle of what can be achieved with the superhero archetype. So I gave Batman, Inc. a chance, and I'm glad I did. Though this story kicks off after a much longer story arc, it stands on its own remarkably well: I didn't feel as if I missed any of the plot or background details despite having no knowledge of the preceding material beyond what I'd read in publisher summaries of those books. And though Morrison loves to dig deeply into the most obscure corners of Batman's history for inspiration, the lens through which he filters those carefully-mined ideas is distinctly unique and not at all dependent upon the encyclopedic knowledge of continuity required by so many superhero titles. The work stands on its own, and does so in very entertaining fashion. Batman, Inc. wonderfully combines humor (a surprising number of genuine laugh-out-loud moments), action (Morrison is adept at using the medium's "limitless FX budget" to create outrageous action sequences), and quality character moments. The art is top-notch throughout, and the manic pacing ensures the reader will finish the volume both entertained and exhausted.
Is it great graphic literature, like Black Hole, or Maus, or Morrison's own Flex Mentallo? No, but that's not the intent here. Morrison's goal is obviously to create a ripping good adventure yarn that takes the Batman character into interesting new places, and he achieves said goal. What more could one ask from an escapist superhero fantasy?
on April 17, 2012
As much as I call myself a fan of Grant Morrison (I own various material from the man), I have not actually read his run on Batman. I'm not saying I've never heard of it or not kept an ear open about it, because I've read many blogs, story discussions, and heard it from friends at the comic shops, and also read the occasional pages here and there...but I've never actual own any of material from Batman and Son through Batman & Robin Volume 3: Batman & Robin Must Die and actually sat down and taken in the material. I can't explain why I have neglected to give it a try, maybe it's the love-it-or-hate-it affair surrounding it or maybe because I've was focused elsewhere during his run, I don't know. But after much inner debating, I've decided to start here and give it a try. So please bear with me and this review.
BATMAN INCORPARATED includes BATMAN INC. issues #1-8 and LEVIATHIAN STRIKES! Parts 1 & 2. After Batman & Robin Volume 3: Batman & Robin Must Die, Bruce Wayne who has returned from the past and has had a revelation to branch out to the world and franchise the Batman ideology (with Dick Grayson staying in Gotham as Batman), but during his and Damien's (the current Robin) first foray at globe trotting, they already discover a global conspiracy by the name of Leviathan, which then begins in this book BATMAN INC. It immediately continues with Bruce going around the world building his Bat-army by looking for suitable representatives that follow the ideology of Batman, such as no killing, no guns, etc. All the while Bruce continues his mission, he's slowly piecing together it's all connected to a man by the name of Doctor Dedalus/Otto Netz who's involved around the "Oroboro", as well as this "Leviathan" plot that is much bigger (and smarter) then he can comprehend.
Bat Inc. is a globe trotting adventure that spans Paris to Tokyo; Argentina to Australia; battle-torn Africa to Native American reservation (I didn't misspell that!), and even the internet...3.0 style! Various people of the Batman Inc. run around the story doing numerous errands that are to much to name (and give away), but you'll see some book time with Catwoman, Batwoman, Red Robin, Damien, and Black Bat as appearances. Yes there are some more Bat Inc. people you'll see as well.
More of book follows Bruce's personal involvement of each continental representative including Mr. Unknown (Batman of Japan), El Gaucho (Batman of Argentina), The Hood (Batman of England), Man-of-Bats (Batman of some third-rate Indian reservation in the U.S.) and Batwing (Batman of Africa). Morrison adds a little flavor to each character making them different and interesting to look at, as well as the cities Bruce meet. Mr. Unknown showing sacrifice in the line of duty shows his dedication, while showing the flashy highlights of Japan. El Gaucho has a Spanish written biography (better know your Spanish folks, otherwise look that up to read it) while having a tango piece(!) to bring out the Spanish flare. Or seeing a old-school dedicated Man-of-Bats patrolling around a dead dessert town in a beat-up truck. And even going inside a Tron/Ghost in the Shell internet database fighting a (zombie) virus with Oracle. It's quite powerful and truly diverse for words. And added to the whole thing, each character practically gets there own villain (many of which Morrison has resurrected from Silver Age comics) or group that stands against that characters ideals. It's just unbelievable Morrison could pack this much into a book, and it makes it all seem like a large scale about it that's hard to find (in my opinion) for a Batman book.
Besides the vast amounts of heroes and villains running around the globe, I'd like to point out the general theme here for me: influence. Considering Batman has always had a Robin by his side since 1940, he's always had a legacy of sorts, but what of influence? I feel Batman answers that without telling the reader. Think about how Superman has the Legion of Super-Heroes and Legion of Supermen which are societies that carry on Superman's ideals in the future of existence. This is sort of Batman's version of it, but more akin to you the reader in today's times. Each representative of Batmen have various backgrounds, either it be a rich horse breeder, English spy, or a French speed runner...but each person are just normal humans with no powers at all, who dress up and want to help the city where they reside at. Isn't that one of the reason we all strife to be Batman because of it? I'm sure I'm probably one of the few who feel that way, but it's an interesting case study if you think about it.
Art holds extremely well here, with art including Yanick Paquette, Chris Burnham, Michel Lacombe, Scott Clark, Cameron Stewart, and Dave Beaty. Each artist has some different and vibrant that doesn't hurt the flow too badly (maybe Scott Clark and Dave Beaty's work for the internet issue maybe, but it's decent.) Most of the art work is Yanick and Burnham at the helm, so the art narrative holds together pretty strong as a whole.
Now if there's negatives I didn't like, I guess some of them were traits people hate about Morrison. The narrative shifts to places on the fly without any explanation (either it be a flashback or present day), certain issues don't flow into another, pacing jumps un-accordingly, and there's ways of feeling like there subtle holes in each issue plot. These problems are simple and lenient compared to what many would thoroughly delve into (and have from Morrison reviews before), but since my Morrison Batman reading is lacking, I'm trying to take it in stride and easy. I'm entering deep waters on the subject. But for my taste, I actually got the narrative reasonably well. Some of the opening plot holes were Morrison doesn't answer how or why the issue started out that way, would be answered mid issue for example. Another thing is taking in every detail. Morrison leaves information hanging until down the line, where it fills in the holes. You really have to remember and take it all in, or else it will fly over your head and you'll miss it. But again, I got most of the book, and that says a lot for someone who hasn't read most of his run. But the last issue of the book, Leviathan Strikes part 2 is a Morrison issue that is not faint of heart, and is an example of Morrison's extreme indulgence. Doctor Dedalus is a great character, but Morrison has this character written in a level of thought that I can see why people hate Morrison's work, and it took me three or four times to read that last issue to understand things. I admit though, most this issue has many plot points that go back to his whole run to understand (as well setting up many plot threads for Vol.2 of Bat Inc.), so that's my fault for not knowing it, not so much Morrison's.
As for extras, this deluxe edition comes with character biographies on each Batman Inc. member and villain. This is really cool, because we get some fun facts about their creation and background. We also get some variant cover sketches. Decent little extras. Though, I wish DC had included the "Corporate Takeover" plot summary that was originally included in the Batman Incorporated Leviathan Strikes #1 that gave a phenomenal summary of the Batman Inc., as well as a summary leading up to Bat Inc. This would have helped tremendously for new readers considering getting this book, since new readers are probably curious about reading it with vol.2 coming out this year in the New 52 line.
BATMAN INCORPARATED VOL.1 is not at all for new readers (and if your already know and dislike Morrison this book won't change your opinion one bit), and is best read once you read all of Grant Morrison's entire run on Batman. It's not perfect, but I consider myself a semi-newbie in Morrison's Batman, and I actually enjoyed this for the diverse world and scope Morrison has cooked up. Seeing as this is near the tail-end of Morrison's run (the big reveal for his entire run is in this book), I'm actually interested to go back where it started with Batman & Son vs. The Black Glove and read his whole run now when I can. I can't say the same for others, but once I'm caught up, here's hoping for Batman Inc. Vol.2.
on September 25, 2012
Title: Batman Incorporated (HC)
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artists: Yanick Paquette, Michel Lacombe, Chris Burnham, Scott Clark, Cameron Stewart, Dave Beaty, Pere Perez (pencils, inks), Nathan Fairbairn, Scott Clark, Dave Beaty (colors), Yanick Paquette, Michel Lacombe, Chris Burnham, David Finch, Frazer Irving, J.H. Williams III (covers)
Collects: Batman Incorporated #1-8, Batman Incorporated: Leviathan Strikes
Wow! There's a lot going on, here! So much so, in fact, that it's hard to tell if this book was intended to be in the regular continuity or just a sort of "Elseworlds" title. I think it's the former, though with the complete DC universe revision that just took place, any potential changes to the previously-existing universe are pretty much moot, anyway.
The set-up of the book is this: Bruce Wayne comes to the realization that a secret global terrorist organization has been setting up plans and sleeper cells of operatives all around the planet, and so he decides to establish his own world-wide network of operatives to counteract the threat. He calls the group "Batman Incorporated" and makes it public knowledge that he - Bruce Wayne - and other philanthropic rich guys and gals will be personally financing the operation.
I have a couple of problems with this plot point right from the get-go: How would Bruce Wayne know who to trust in remote parts of the world? Is it realist to think he would give them not only access to high-tech gadgets but to also let them in on his secret identity? Wouldn't Bruce Wayne be in a jeopardized position from that point on for the rest of his life? This just all seems very implausible and, frankly, out-of-character for Bruce Wayne. Still, the idea machine by the name of Grant Morrison will not be denied and what's done is done. I remember when he was writing X-Men and tried to do a similar sort of thing with those characters. For the most part, those events were all undone, and I feel like these events will be undone, as well, if they haven't been undone already.
While I don't feel good about the premise of the story, I can't argue that I didn't like some of the characters and concepts showcased in the book. Morrison takes Bruce and friends around the globe on a whirlwind trip, interacting with different version of "Batman". These include cowboys and Indians, masters of Kung Fu, flying Africans, Tron-esque digital avatars, and more. Along the way, the Batmen fights all sorts of interesting villains. My favorite bunch was the villainous group from the finishing school for girls. Everything is very creative and fun, if a bit confusing (a common occurrence when reading books from Morrison).
The art on this book is fulfilled by a cadre of diverse artists with diverse styles. My favorite art was probably the computer-generated artwork done by Scott Clark and Dave Beaty, though all the artists did a pretty good job. The cover gallery is great, and I'm so glad they included it in the book.
This isn't your typical Batman book, but I think most Batman fans will get a kick out of it. There's just a lot of fun stuff going on, here, so even if you don't totally enjoy the destination or the direction of the story (like me), the ride is worthwhile.
Cool Factor: 8/10
on August 14, 2012
One thing about Grant Morrison's Batman run: you can never complain about getting short-changed on the content. Each issue is jam-packed with ideas, plot, mysteries, and references to previous Batman stories. I thought this was very well done overall - excellent art, engaging plot, and a pretty fascinating concept.
For reader's of Morrison's run thus far, you'll be familiar with the concept of Batman deciding to broaden his reach by recruiting "Batmen" in different areas of the world to combat a variety of large scale threats. While it gets off to a promising start, the run is unfortunately brought to a slightly premature end due to the reboot of the DC line (via The New 52). Fortunately for the readers, Morrison was able to quickly wrap up his story, providing some sense of closure for the volume.
For those unfamiliar with Morrison's run, I'd recommend not starting here. The stories are densely packed, and require a healthy amount of reader involvement in order to really understand what is going on. That's not to say someone with no Morrison experience couldn't enjoy this story, just that he doesn't go out of his way to let new readers in.
I thought the art was very strong in this volume, particularly by Yanick Paquette and Frazier Irving.
on February 22, 2013
After the events of Final Crisis and Batman RIP, Bruce Wayne was gone from the Batman books. Dick Grayson took up cape and cowl and carried on for him. But Bruce turned up alive and is back, but he's not just wanting to take back cape and cowl from Dick. Instead he has admitted to the public that Bruce Wayne funds Batman (without revealing that Wayne IS Batman), and has globalized Batman. The book finds Batman travelling the globe recruiting an army of Batmen. He teams with various heroes from around the world, all while combating the mysterious Leviathan. We're left wondering the whole time who is behind Leviathan, and the answer may or may not surprise you. I won't spoil it here. But I say if you're a Batman fan, and a Bruce Wayne Batman fan at that, pick this book up. It's a fun read and the last chance to see Stephanie Brown as Batgirl before the New 52 reboot happened.
I've been a fan throughout Grant Morrison's run on Batman the past few years, enjoying the manic blend of obscure continuity points crafted to tell an epic unraveling of the character before returning him stronger than ever. This first collected volume of Batman Incorporated continues that trend, and proves to be nearly as awesomely enjoyable and fun as what's come before it. Bruce Wayne is back and is taking Batman global: from Tokyo to Paris to Africa to Argentina and beyond. Here we are introduced and re-introduced to Batman allies new and old as the threat of the mysterious Leviathan looms, and learn that the worst may yet still be on the horizon. Morrison makes great use of Batman and his supporting cast of Bat-family members: Catwoman, Batwoman, Red Robin, Robin, Black Bat, and Batgirl among others make appearances and play some pretty pivotal roles. The only caveat being is that Morrison's story seems to have a few too many holes in it this time around, but perhaps whenever the title resumes everything will get wrapped up the way it should. There's a plethora of artists featured here, including Yanick Paquette, Cam Stewart, and more besides; all of which is wonderful. All in all, if you didn't dig any of Morrison's run on Batman over the past few years, Batman Incorporated won't do much to change your mind, but for everyone else, definitely consider picking it up.
on April 19, 2012
I just finished reading this and WOW! This is some terrific comic booking. Grant Morrison's had a great long run on Batman; and while it's mostly been very good, he's had some misses too. But he pulls out all the stops and this is the best Batman volume I've read in ages. The pages with art by Burnham are stunning. He's not an artist I've heard of before but I'll be looking for his name now.
If you read one Batman book every decade. Make it this one. It's a blast.
on June 11, 2012
NOTE: This is a review of the story, not the book reprint itself.
So I'm a Morrison fan, and even I thought this story was off to a bad start. I wasn't keen on the Brave & The Bold set up of the series (new guest star each issue) and actually dropped this book at #3...then the reviews kept getting better and, well, it is Morrison so I decided to try it again. Glad I did. The story starts disjointed and doesn't seem to be going anywhere but it all begins to make sense by #4 and #5 which is about 1/2 way through the story. I should have known better. Taken in one sitting it is a great story and, while the final chapter feels a bit odd since it was printed AFTER the New 52 universe debuted, it still fits in with the entire story. There are already continuity errors with this book and the New 52 but on its own it stands sure-footed.
The art has highs and lows, as most monthlies do. Overall, it was a minor distraction but the inconsistency is definitely there. Not awful, just not the same throughout.
on May 30, 2013
Being a big Batman fan I was very fascinated with the story concept of this series. It seemed like a really cool place to take the Batman story. Unfortunately thats all this book really delivers - a good concept with a lackluster execution, in fact an almost unreadable execution. The book is incredibly sprawling and strewn out, from Gotham to Japan to Argentina and Africa, the scope is so wide that something needs to weave them together, be an anchor throughout it all. Morrison fails to provide this, instead at the beginning of each chapter a new story is started, often in another country with a man you don't know, which would be fine and all but by the end of the chapter you dont even know the relevance of what you just read.
By the 6th chapter things finally start to get weaved together and it then becomes a easier and more entertaining read(although still only half-decent), you feel the momentum picking up but what does Morrison do? He kills that momentum and slams you right back to square one with a new story in the next chapter where the relevance is again unknown.
The idea of "Batman Inc" is also somewhat misleading as I think there is only maybe 4 Batman in the story and thats including Bruce and Dick. It feels more like a ragtag bunch of vigilantes who loosely work together. Also Batman robots? Yea they're here but barely explained in the story and barely used, it seems it would be a huge landmark or turning point with greater reprecutions but they are only seen a couple times and barely even discussed among the Batman crew.
Don't waste your money on this.