You know, I’m not quite sure about Bruce Wayne’s level of faith considering how his parents’ death riddled the poor guy with bittter angst ever since.
But in terms of comic book quality, Batman has inarguably never read better.
There’s no doubt Scott Snyder has been murdering the pages of Batman ever since it was okay to call the Caped Crusader a Dick. From the institutional insanity of Detective Comics’ “The Skeleton Key” and “The Black Mirror” to the recently released New-52 hardcover, “The Court of Owls,” DC’s hottest writer has been damn near flawless. Yet, while his Talons have created an embassy of hooting horror throughout Gotham and, more specifically, every inch of the Batcave’s stone and pebble, Snyder may just have to share the throne for a bit — even if it’s just for one week.
Because the Supergod is back, bitches.
That’s right. Grant Morrison, the comic book writer we either love to hate or hate to love — but could never truly understand — has once again chef’d up the most amazing omellette of Gotham ingredients. And this week’s Batman Incorporated #1 doesn’t forget the Tapatio: shit is fire.
If you’re scared you won’t be able to understand the new volume because, well, A.) It’s Morrison, and B.) You lost out by missing his previous classic mindfucks, Batman R.I.P., The Return of Bruce Wayne, Batman and Robin, and Batman Incorporated (Volume 1), then hath no fair, Morrison creates a comic book that’s actually pretty clear. Thankfully, previous knowledge is a bonus, not required.
Batman Inc. #1 is perhaps, the most logically-understandable, dense comic for $3 you will ever pick up. I swear it packed a good 40 pages with all its awesomesauce, but in truth it’s got half. Morrison throws Bruce Batman and his son Damian Robin into the mutant slimeball midst coming off their differences from the super double-sized oneshot, Laviathan Strikes!, back in December. Damian killed the man in charge with helping his mother Talia al Ghul — daugher of Liam Neeson’s Ra’s — create this crimewave of Laviathan that’s now out for her son’s neck. Bats has to play nice with the guilt; “slap” Dame around just enough, but not too much ’cause ya might need ‘im. My father would agree.
The banter between father and son has also never been better. While Peter Tomasi is doing a fine job with the Batman & Robin book (he’s really killing on Green Lantern Corps), it’s not hard to see why Morrison seperates himself from the pack. Inc. #1 is sprinkled with humorous, touching moments even in the midst of all the goatshit the Dynamic Duo’s stepping in. I noticed other reviews this week were spoiling the big moooment (ah, sorry), but I just can’t come to grips.
A lot of the amazing storytelling credit goes to artist Chris Burnham. Sure, the Supergod has had a lucky go of artist contributors during his Batrun with the likes of Tony Daniel, Frank Quitely, Yanick Paquette, Frazier Irving, Andy Clarke, and Cameron Stewart, but Burnham may have blown a hole straight through the pack. His execution of Morrison’s panel placement is on par with a fine cinematic experience, and his subtler moments — particularly the tender awkwardness between this violent papa and son — steal the show. Burnham had Damian kicking so much mutant ass in one panel, I wouldn’t be surprised if Agent Coulson gave him a call.
All swashbuckling action aside, Morrison invests some intense horror of his own. Much of the issue’s brouhaha takes place during a seedy slaughterhouse and Batcave West, most likely named after Adam. The feel of the comic certainly has the ol’ TV show vibe to it, too; so even fans of the camp style Batman would be sure to enjoy Batman Inc #1’s silver-age humor. However, Morrison’s known for density, and density you shall receive. The “Incorporated” in the title refers to Bruce Wayne’s band of Bat-affiliates: Batwing, The Hood, Gaucho, Knight, uh.. Nightrunner, Nightwing, Night-lite, Night Rider… You get the picture. That, alongside a shocking cliffhanger that might just make Joe Chill freeze.
Look, we might be a little upset that the gods be hatin’ us geeks from time to time, but one’s things for sure: whether you really love or really hate Grant Morrison’s kinetic comic writing, or maybe just his shiny bald dome, the Supergod is doing his most accessible Batman work to date. And even that deserves high praise.
Amazing Spider-Man #686 – Dan Slott‘s recent run on ASM has been nothing short of brilliant, perhaps highlighted by the surprisingly stellar event “Spider-Island”, but this latest issue of “Ends of the Earth” is overwritten (more pictures with those narration boxes, please), features too many corny plot-twists (Avengers robots, really?), and flat-out doesn’t live up to the level of quality we’re accustomed to from Slott (yeah, buddy). Luckily Stefano Caselli‘s pretty pictures make this read doable: 3/5 Bibles
AvX Vs. #2 – And #1 got rave reviews! Not to pick on Marvel this week (well, this came out last), but having a fight where Gambit loses to a mere punch in the face — even by Cap — sucks. Sure, Steve McNiven draws the shit out of the 10 pages he’s allotted, but maybe he shouldn’t also have been given the keys to the writing. It doesn’t get any better in the book’s second half, either, when Spider-Man faces that grotesque-looking Colussus/Juggernaut character. Spider-Man “lost” the fight yet hardly looked like he broke a sweat. I want my $4 back, Marvel. NOW. 1.5/5 Bibles
Flash #9 – What a waste of wondrous art! Francis Manapal and Brian Buccellato have gone beyond the call of duty this year taking on both story and art duties for a tremendous Flash title that’s sadly been tucked under the radar. But, longtime fans of both Barry Allen and Wally West know that you shouldn’t fuck up an issue with Gorilla Grodd. And well, somehow Barry got infused with so much Romper Room personality that a book about morals and virtues obliterated any kind of blood-shedding excitement the sketches had running through its veins. And all of this to set up.. Weather Wizard? Hell, at least it was pretty to look at. 2.5/5 Bibles
Secret Avengers #27 – Oh, no, this book kicks butt. Rick Remender can’t do wrong. I just found it pathetic that on the page right next to the huge return of Mar-Vell and his current seducation of “Ms. Marvel” Carol Danvers, we get an ad for the future Captain Marvel.. well.. starring Carol Danvers. Thanks for the spoiler! But you know what they say about being a True Believer: sometimes it’s more about the journey… 4/5 Bibles