Friday, December 19, 2014

[New 52] Batman Incorporated by Grant Morrison issue #10

The cover spread for this issue is a motherfucking spoiler. It's a gatefold cover with an extended flap so if you have yet to read this issue then resist looking at the flap. Otherwise, what a brilliant illustration by no other than Chris Burnham himself.

Before I go ahead with the review of this issue's content, let me first address the fact that Burnham has fill-in artists for this story. I'm referring to pages 12-13 which were credited to other people. I think this is because of the deadline problems the co. is facing which is just sad because Bat-Inc really deserves more and it feels as if DC is not giving them more leeway and pressuring them to get their stuff published before even making sure that everything is polished.

I never wanted to say this before but I noticed that the quality of Burham's illustrations have declined slightly since issue #7 started and I don't think it's his fault at all. It's really about the deadline demands that often make artists rush their final outputs for printing so Burnham's artwork for Bat-Inc hasn't been at its top form lately which I hope they managed to overcome by the next last issues after this one. I've recommended this series to three other friends and the first thing I always compliment this one for is its artist so that's why I felt the need to express concern about the visual accessibility and quality of Burham's art for Bat-Inc. That's all. But I digress.

This installment was only slightly better than issue #9 because the scenes are actually in a slower pace. However, the passage of time in general for Bat-Inc has been growing more problematic and this is the biggest flaw of issue #10 for me. I recall the discussion I've opened up in my general review for the first volume Demon Star. There I addressed the fact that Batman Incorporated is considered a part of the New 52 continuity WHEN IT IS OBVIOUSLY NOT. It's really the minor things that give away the reality that Morrison wrote events in Bat-Inc that belong to the old continuity in the first place which is why Jason Todd's character arc here contradicts his current characterization for Red Hood and the Outlaws. Also, we now get in this issue scenes with Kirk Langstorm (a.k.a Man-Bat) and his wife Francine who just appeared in Detective Comics #19 and yet their roles here in Morrison's #10 don't even coincide with what was established about them by John Layman for New 52. My prominent criticism for issue #10 is that I have no clear indication concerning the chronological flow of the events presented in the pages. I'm not sure which happened in consequence of another, or which was more current other than that last reveal with Talia on the roof and Batsy about to attack her.

The timelines are being blurred, all because of the stupid decision to label Morrison's Batman Incorporated as part of the New 52 roster. Damian Wayne's death also carries over to New 52 which all the Bat-writers tried their best to compensate for, especially Tomasi himself who writes for Batman and Robin but I can't help but feel that it shouldn't have been the case. If we accept the premise that Bat-Inc is not a part of New 52 but rather a pre-New 52 storyline then we can believe that Damian's death happened FIVE YEARS AGO since New 52 rule states that all DC storylines after its revamp have only existed since five years ago---fuck me, Loki, I'm getting all tangled up with my own reasoning already. I'll try to make sense of the fragments with my own logical assumptions and you do so yourself too, dear reader. I'm sorry but we're all on our own in the wolf's den.

I suppose the only way to properly enjoy the story is if you consider Batman Incorporated as a STANDALONE EVENT UNINFUENCED BY THE HAPPENINGS IN NEW 52 BAT-STORIES. I mean, we don't even get mentions of key events like the Owls one-night uprising, the Joker's Return, or Emperor Penguin's rise to power. So it's safe to say Bat-Inc is in another plane of reality otherwise known as THE OLD CONTINUTY. Because, god-fucking-dammit, DC, it's the only way for me to process these things. I will forever assert that Batman Incorporated should have been THE LAST GREATEST BAT-STORY TO BE TOLD FOR THE OLD CONTINUITY. This was a seven-years-in-the-making project that deserved such a highly esteemed title, and you know it!


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