Sunday, December 21, 2014

[New 52] Batman Incorporated by Grant Morrison issue #13

As a tale that has span seven years for the writing process and publication overall, Grant Morrison's Batman Incorporated is a must-read for any self-respecting Batman fan and it's most likely due to posterity's sake rather than anything else. The first nine issues dates back from 2010 and the series was continued alongside the revamped continuity of New 52 with thirteen issues afterwards. Here we are then, at the end of the road, with the finale that supposedly wraps up every thread that was uraveled from the very start of this run, and I felt sincerely unaffected in a way that makes me a little bit sad.

I started this journey with optimistic expectations that were met a lot of times in the beginning, but then my emotional investment slowly dwindled as I went on. The truth is I like Batman Incorporated a lot but I was unable to truly fall in love with it midway through finishing the series, most notably because I just reached the end and I felt like I had nothing to show for it--which, as you can understand, sucks balls. All the build-up, the references to classic Bat-tales, the mythology and symbolism were its strengths and my favorite aspects of the series, but they never had any long-lasting decent pay-off once this issue concluded everything. I wouldn't say I wasted my time reading Bat-Inc because that would unfair to say; this series has been phenomenal--but only at first. I looked back at the last four issues (#9-#12) before this, and found my reviews to be disheartening because they speak more resonantly about my critical standpoint and slight frustrations with the way this series played out its final notes.

After much contemplation, I had no choice but to accept that I was not happy about how this finale and those four issues mentioned that led to it, even when I wanted so badly to proclaim to you right now that, "Oh my god, yes! Batman Incorporated is everything I ever wanted from a Batman comic book, if not so much more!" It wasn't. It had the potential to be, and then it just didn't deliver. I'm a bit angry about it too because I believe Grant Morrison is one of the most incredibly bold and talented comic book writers of all time who always tries to remake storytelling elements in comics itself whenever he is handed with that opportunity. Morrison always aims to diversify his stories by adding that unique spin on things that would make you almost feel as if you the reader are being taken on an exciting adventure filled with wonder, suspense and unexpected emotionality because you deserve nothing less. That's how Grant Morrison has always made me feel whenever I read his work, especially with Batman.

Batman Incorporated should have been the pinnacle for all his contributions to the Bat-mythos and legacy, but now it feels as if DC did rush him to get it over with because his work for this series is getting in the way with New 52 material. The inconsistencies in details and general contradictions between Bat-Inc and some New 52 content are hard to ignore at this point, and I just get the feeling that Morrison knows it too and he feels disrespected which was why this final product was not at its best form. After all that effort, dedication and seven years of craft-perfecting and myth-polishing for a series I knew he was prepared to consider as one of his top work, Morrison somehow lost that drive, I believe, perhaps because of office-politics and conflicts happening behind the scenes. BUT I'M MERELY SPECULATING. Don't take these things I said to heart because I'm just a humble geek with a lot of time in my hands, and my mind readily goes to worst-case scenarios.

This only goes to show how much I am a Grant Morrison fan because I keep making justifications like this even to myself, and that I want to remain supportive of his works, especially with Batman Incorporated even if this finale issue left me out cold. It's far from a bad issue--but it was just average and Morrison has never produced anything average for me, personally (well, there was that crappy Hellblazer two-parter he wrote that I reviewed way back but I won't even consider that as part of his usual amazing roster so I digress). I still have that special annual issue after this which I checked and has fifty pages of material. I'm going to try and be excited about that. Afterwards, I'm posting my final and official review for the second volume that collects issues #7-#13 plus that said special but I might take a day or two before accomplishing that since I want to mull over the accumulation of Bat-Inc as a series first so that final review will be written with the respect and dignity this work deserves.


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