Still, I'm invested enough on Bat-Inc to keep reading. I still have six issues to go plus a special. This issue wasn't a good start though, however. Everything felt rushed and abrupt in transition which made the reading experience slightly dizzying. I don't understand some elements to it too, but that's mainly because this issue also touches upon a Morrison comic book from the past I haven't read yet. I had to research online about that whale thing first and then get back to the pages. As an issue standalone, this added little to progress the story forwards, let alone propel it into a clear state of direction where readers are in a comfortable position to ride the waves through. The first fifteen pages or so were just schizophrenic, jumping from one character or scene to another without even allowing the readers to take in everything first.
I suppose the pacing is supposed to indicate that the clusterfuck of chaos has escalated but it just doesn't work for me like that. And if you are following my reviews, I've announced time and time again (and once more) that I'm anal retentive about story pacing. It bugs me when a comic book is this fast-paced but offers little story to compensate for it or to really deliver the suspense that most fast-paced stories is supposed to do. But that was in the first fifteen pages which was definitely the most problematic aspect of this issue. However, once we get to the later ones, the pacing does pick with a better control now, revealing some important twists concerning Talia al Ghul, the Heretic and Batman. There's another reference to Batman and Robin issue #12 concerning the Talia's clone baby who was supposed to replace Damian after Damian has rejected his mother's plans for him to rule a global empire. This clone baby is fully grown now and has become the imposing figure called the Heretic. As for Batman, he's now trapped inside a cube-shaped container that Talia actually expects him to escape from but she calculated even the millisecond it will take for him to free himself, therefore giving her enough time to execute her other devious plans. It's all very nefarious; Talia is definitely giving her own father a run for his bad-guy money.
On the plus side, the best part of this issue has to be Alfred and Damian and their conversations throughout several panels which enlightened the current situations that readers have to pay attention to, as well as resonate in a significant manner because the interaction shows us the kind of mutual understanding these two share. There is trust between them that certainly makes it feel that Alfred is Damian's family in a way Talia has never been to Damian all his life, even to a greater extent than Bruce as well, because Alfred has always been more available and willing to listen and trust Damian as oppose to trying to control or protect him which both his parents have been doing without even considering how Damian feels about everything. I also like that this issue was focused more on the supporting cast of Bat-Inch and that Batman doesn't even get a single dialogue here which was great because this series is supposed to be non-Batman-centric given the premise. Those are the things I enjoyed about this issue but it was nonetheless one of the weakest installments of the series.