Review by C.J. Bunce
It takes a lot for me to flat out not like something as I tend to try to be open-minded about new ideas and new ways of thinking. This is one of those books that flat-out didn’t work at all for me. It’s hard to say which I liked least, Grant Morrison’s impenetrable story or Chris Burnham’s cartoony art style that changes from page to page to the point of lacking continuity of design.
Batman, Incorporated #1 was released last week. Actually another Batman, Incorporated #1 was issued as recently as November 2011, but with the reboot of the New 52 somehow this series has maneuvered around the other Bat-titles and earned another shot at ongoing series. So many Batman titles… and now with this new series at DC Comics they have finally made the line bloated. At some point you have to give new readers context. Why should I care about this new story? Where does it fit in the rest of the DC universe?
Issue #1 follows Batman and Robin, this time Robin is Damian Wayne, son of Bruce Wayne and Talia Al Ghul. Now keep in mind there is already a Batman and Robin series. And these characters appear in the main Batman series. And the villain of the book is a guy wearing a ghost mask called Goatboy. Yep, Goatboy. It’s a character like that that makes me think Grant Morrison is putting us on. Basically there is a bounty on the dynamic duo and a down and out father is determined to kill Robin and by the last panel seems to be successful. That’s the whole story. There’s also a lot of inexplicable gruesome gore that does not appear to relate to anything. Like this panel. The sound effects “Pok!” are supposed to illustrate… who knows?
I hate to even re-print such an image, but you should know what you’re getting if this one is on your buy list. In the end, it’s just gross and pointless.
The story is really driven forward by Damian/Robin. He is feisty and argumentative, but he is also skilled at taking out the criminal set. Unfortunately, he reminds you of a rugrat–one of those kids that annoy you in real life and are hard to care about in any story, comic book or not. Batman is revealed in story and art as a pretty one-note caricature. The dialogue is clunky. The scenes have no transitional flow. There’s not really not much that can be said by way of character building. Perhaps the reader is expected to have read last to be told in last year’s Batman, Incorporated series?
Again, in Batman, the series, these characters exist and carry on an ongoing storyline. What makes us need this story to be told in tandem? Unfortunately Issue #1 was enough to tell me I don’t care enough to find out what happens next.