Friday, December 19, 2014

[New 52] Batman Incorporated by Grant Morrison issue #9

In the wake of Damian Wayne's demise, Bat-titles have released their Requiem issues to honor his fall and memory and this is Grant Morrison's contribution which I expected to have a more solid standing than the others because he was the writer who decided to kill Damian Wayne in the first place, and though issue #9 does live up to its original intention (which was to show the aftermath of Damian's death on a personal level for other characters), the rest of this comic book was just confusing, eager to jump back and forth for updates on multiple events without a single care to an average reader's attention span. Just like with the seventh issue, this installment was all over the goddamn place!

I think the only reason to read this issue if you're not really following the Bat-Inc story is to understand how and why Damian Wayne died, and to get an up-close scene of his funeral as only attended by Bruce, Alfred, Tim and Dick. That beginning shot of them carrying Damian's coffin was a punch to the gut. Other than that, I suggest you skip the pages that include the major events of Morrison's epic drama because you really should be reading this series in the first place! If you're not, then you're missing out on an otherwise diverse and complex plot whose finer details do have a tendency to be delivered rather poorly which this issue clearly shows. I love, love, LOVE Batman Incorporated but this is the second time in its New 52 run that I'm scratching my head at the end of an issue and reading back again for the second or third time just to make sure I was understanding things correctly.

As much as possible I try to contextualize my experience with that of a newbie's who may not have the patience to sift through every little thing this story offers and if that is the case then Requiem issue #9 will be most challenging, and for the worst reasons.

I would have preferred that this comic book didn't employ a non-linear style of narrative. It would have worked for other parts of Bat-Inc before (issue #1 did that and it was explosively awesome in scope), but at this point of the game, this should have been a quieter and more grounded issue. With all this escalating commotion in the pages, Damian's death was sadly diluted in a way because a reader's attention is divided where they had to follow the trail of bread crumbs left by the Leviathan, Talia's inane and insufferable breaking-the-fourth-wall dialogue, and supporting characters' subplot conflicts. And really, if a reader is a Damian fan, all he or she could care about at this moment is his death so I don't recommended jumping ahead to this issue after issue #8 at all. If readers wish to savor the pain and grieve Damian for a while, then I suggest they pick up Peter J. Tomasi and Scott Snyder's own respective Requiem issues. Those are self-contained ones that would really stir your heartstrings if they're not already broken.

This would have been a great issue if it wasn't so bombarded with multiple events coalescing in a rather graceless manner within the pages. I would have liked to see more of the fight scene between Heretic and Bruce and Dick but we just skimmed over this supposedly grave confrontation which undermines its importance. We are now at a pivotal point in Batman Incorporated so Morrison really needs to quit shifting the focus away from the main drama or at least resolve the smaller ones by dividing them first from the major one. I've seen him handle the weight of both these elements equally in his Revenge of the Red Hood before, (one of my favorite Morrison story arcs ever), so I know he can do Bat-Inc with the same honor. Overall, this Requiem issue was not the best in his roster which is disappointing because this was a follow-up to Damian's death and yet that particular plot thread didn't get in enough pages in its own titular tribute. That's just negligent, isn't it, if not a blatant oversight.


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