Saturday, December 20, 2014

[New 52] Batman Incorporated by Grant Morrison issue #11

Of all the Bat-Inc's recruits, Jiro of Japan or Mr. Unknown has always been my favorite and that's mostly because he was the only one I connected with (he was much like Dick Grayson from what I can discern from his characterization), and who I actually saw as a character to care about and root for in his own adventures. The second would be the tandem of Man-of-Bats and Little Raven. Now as much as love Jiro, I did find this detour issue to be jarring, considering we are already at the climactic part of the confrontation between Batman and Talia, so I don't understand why we bothered with a filler such as this during the most opportune time. It's slightly inconsiderate. I think something must be happening in the process of accomplishing this series, particularly on meeting deadlines, etc. I can't be sure, but that has to be the only explanation for this.

Written by Chris Burnham himself while artist Jorge Lucas illustrated, issue #11 is a bizarre mixture of Japanese manga elements mashed with Silver Age comics adventure prototype and it's guaranteed to be polarizing. I'm not even going to defend it in case you hated it because I objectively understand that resentment. I would say that if this issue appeared in the earlier part of Batman Incorporated (the first wave where globetrotting was the main focus), this would easily be a comfortable, colorful and quirky addition to that roster because if you look at it as its own standalone installment, there is something ridiculously endearing about the set-up, particularly if you're a fan of anime/manga in general. I knew I was entertained as I read this.

This was basically an oddly satirical tribute reminiscent to the Super Sentai flavor of action-adventure live-action shows back in Japan. The color-coordinated suits of the masked characters (who are villains in this issue) and the over-the-top hilariously-costumed villainess whose diabolical plans are as equally absurd as her fashion sense--this issue is a goofball feast of otaku nonsense that would have been well-received and appreciated if it wasn't tragically misplaced in Bat-Inc. Somehow these villains are connected to the Leviathan themselves but no one fucking cares because you just can't take them seriously at all, not when something grand and terrible is about to take place in Gotham where Batman and Talia with the Heretic will have the ultimate showdown that decides the fate of that city, if not the whole world. So Japan is really the least of your worries in a strictly practical and priority standpoint.

There is also this weird subplot concerning Jiro and his small-sized partner/love interest Canary where he literally has to shrink himself in an Internet 3D reality just so he could date her and make out with her, I suppose. I found this situation cute because I can recall two or three animes on the top of my head) with almost the same premise but if you never subscribed to this kind of oddball storylines in the first place then Jiro and Canary's relationship may come off creepy. But this is not our regular programming at this point so as much as I loved this issue as itself because it was fun, self-aware and bold in its visual style and content, I have to remain objective in rating this issue. This was a misplaced story which perfectly explains if fans who are eager to see Batman and Talia duke it out will get slightly angry for buying this release because they will feel cheated on.

What a waste. I really love Jiro and his masked crusading in Japan but this is not the right time to explore that, not when things in Gotham should be the main attraction of the series.


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