Friday, July 18, 2014

Batman Incorporated by Grant Morrison issue #3

This issue was hard to get into at first especially because of the language barrier. There are narration boxes in Spanish in some pages which made me embarrassed because it reminded me how much I needed to brush up on that language (I used to be able to speak it very well but now I've forgotten a lot of it as I grew up and we no longer speak it at home). But that's not the only aspect of the story that proved difficult to maintain a momentum with.

I actually don't know what to say in this review because I can't bring myself to care enough ABOUT ANYTHING. So I'll just copy-paste the wiki summary below and just go from there, okay?

"Batman travels to Argentina in an attempt to recruit El Gaucho into Batman Incorporated. Gaucho refuses, wanting to be his own man. Gaucho informs Batman of a case involving three missing children and a link to a mysterious manipulative figure called Doctor Dedalus. On the trail of the three children Batman and El Gaucho are led into a death trap by El Sombrero and Scorpiana in which they must fight to the death to save the missing children."

I try to think back to the first two issues of Bat Inc which were focused on Japan and with Mr. Unknown as the hero-to-recruit; and how I instantly connected with everything in those pages. It was a complete opposite-reaction for this issue, however. There wasn't anything here that I wanted to know more about. In fact, I'm getting impatient and annoyed with the events as well, eager to move forward to the next page, hoping something attention-grabbing happens. And it eventually did by the last pages although by that point I was only going through the motions. I think it also has something to do with the fact that El Gaucho did not have any effect on me whatsoever because I seriously do not know who he is other than his nationality and the mission he's pursuing. I can't get a better read of him which was unfortunate since Morrison did so well with Jiro (Mr. Unknown) where you already get a sense of his personality and motivations in just a short span of time. There's something missing here (in the overall story structure and characterizations) and I still can't put my finger in it. Even Batman is...bland. How awful is that? He doesn't have any kind of good rapport or interplay with El Gaucho so far (I'm really starting to miss Catwoman because of that).

I don't know if I can even talk about the villains in the plot and their secret organization/goals because I'm still confused as to what that would be exactly. I feel like I'm irresponsibly posting an incoherent review here. So before I completely drop the ball on this, I will quote something that I really liked (which was said by the main villain, El Sombrero): "Men who fight and risk their lives for the weak and vulnerable can so easily be destroyed by that same spirit of self-reliance."

That line made me pause and contemplate. It made me look back at Batman's history in general as well as the rest of his Bat-family, particularly Dick Grayson when he took the mantle of Batman during the last series of issues for the old continuity of Detective Comics. It is an arrogant assessment, to call heroism a form of weakness, but there is a grain of truth in those words. Batman is duty-bound to be Gotham's watchful protector and now he is motivated by the same ideals to find other heroes globally who share those core values he had as a crime-fighter. But there is a question to ask here, and that is whether or not they are enslaved by such ideals, and what effects that may have. As much as our superheroes can find strength in their convictions and beliefs, it also makes them too exposed from the evils and ills of the world in a larger scale than that of the average individual. So perhaps El Sombrero was simply making the best informed observation in the history of superheroes EVER. It's an irony that just gets you.

There you have it. It's pretty sad that I'm only at the third issue and my favorite part of it is that quote and everything else just didn't make sense to me so I considered them white noise. Hopefully, Morrison picks up the pace and wrap up this storyline in Argentina better than he started it. And then we can move on to another country.


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