First Impressions: Batman Triple-Feature
- November 17th, 2010
- Posted in Comics/Graphic Novels . First Impressions . Reviews
- By Rob
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Well, here we go. Bruce Wayne is back, and as one would expect, his return is shaking up things in the Bat-books. With Grant Morrison at the helm, things are going to be…different for the foreseeable future. Let’s just hope different is good.
By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder
Firstly, awesome cover. It’s like darkness under cover of darkness. Beautifully done.
This issue is essentially a giant pointer scene, i.e. it tells you what Bruce, Dick, Damian and the others are going to be doing in the coming months. In essence, Bruce is upping the ante in the war on crime, taking it to a global level.
“Starting today, we fight ideas with better ideas,” he says. “The idea of crime with the idea of Batman. From today on, Batman will be everywhere it’s dark, no place to hide.”
The issue starts out wonderfully with a scene about an old bat preparing to die. Stubborn to die on his own terms, he seeks solace in “an odd, almost-familiar structure of stone and light and echoes with edges.” As it turns out, we’re looking at the bat that famously flew into Wayne Manor on that faithful night, and inspired Bruce to become Batman. It’s a really interesting, unusual-in-a-good-way scene.
Bruce is preparing to take on a terrorist group called Leviathan. At the end he actually says “Game on,” prompting me to wonder if Triple H had snuck into the Batcave. The seems to be of middle eastern origin. After our scene with the bat, Bruce faces a middle eastern man with dynamite strapped to his body, who is holding a child hostage. This obviously has a bit of a true life edge to it. That may help or hurt the story, depending on your perspective.
We briefly see Bruce try to work with Damian, which is certainly entertaining. In the end, Bruce says there is zero chance of them working together, and resolves to let Damian continue working with Dick. There’s a bit of dialogue between Bruce and Dick about the concept of two Batmen existing at the same time. It’s only a few lines of dialogue, which certainly left me wanting more. But considering what Bruce’s mission is, and the fact that a big talky scene might have slowed the story down, I suppose it’s okay.
Included in the issue is supplemental material, which includes production notes, scripts and sketches of the issue. Morrison calls his bat opening “the coolest DCU natural history sequence ever.” It’s hard to argue that one.
All in all, a VERY strong issue. Now that he’s stepped away from the cosmic realm for a little while, let’s hope Morrison can get back to providing us with some quality Bruce Wayne/Batman stories. Considering he’ll be teaming with Finch for the ongoing The Dark Knight series, chances are that’s what we’re going to get.
I’m a little confused. When this whole Batman Incorporated thing was first announced, wasn’t this series called Batman Inc? Why did they feel the need to spell out Incorporated? Was there concern that the public would get confused? If so…ouch.
In this issue, Batman travels to Japan looking to “train a Japanese Batman.” He seeks out a superhero named Mr. Unknown, who unfortunately is murdered in the opening scene by a villain named Lord Death Man. It’s a pretty cool scene, as Unknown wakes up to find his fingers burnt off by acid. His young body double walks in on the incident and runs for it.
Meanwhile, Batman and Catwoman break into one of Dr. Sivana’s labs and steal…something. We don’t know what exactly, but it’s implied that it’s very dangerous. We get a sexually charged scene with Bruce bench pressing and Selena walking around in a sports bra and panties (I’m usually not one of these guys, but…HOT!!), as well as a scene with the two of them entering a comic book store, which was part of Mr. Unknown’s cover identity. At the end we see them rush to save the body double’s…sister? Girlfriend? We don’t know yet. But either way, she falls into a vat of water. Selena dives after her, only to discover an octopus waiting underneath.
I refuse to make the obvious Octopussy joke here.
Let’s talk about Bruce Wayne’s new costume, shall we? I’m not sure if I like it. The yellow oval is back, but it’s not just an oval anymore. It’s illuminated now, like a Batman night light or something. Can you be The DARK Knight if part of your chest is glowing? Can he turn that thing off at will? The chest and abdomen also have a strange outline that doesn’t serve much of a purpose, in my opinion. By and large, I think its success largely depends on the artistic team that handles it. For instance, it looked fantastic in The Return, and Yanick Paquette does alright with it in this issue. But look at how Marcus To does it in the image to your right. WAY too much gray for my liking. You’d think they’d have tried to make Dick’s costume a bit more different from the start, and have Bruce come back in the classic one. But hey, no one asked me.
This whole Batman Incorporated thing with both Bruce and Dick being Batman is obviously just a phase, and I’m interested to see how it plays out. Based on this issue, it looks like we’re going to see something reminiscent of Morrison’s Club of Heroes story arc, collected in Batman: The Black Glove. If that’s the case, I’m thinking The Dark Knight will be the book I lean toward, as opposed to this one.
It kinda sucks when Batman is the third string title, doesn’t it?
Tony Daniel resumes his writing duties with this issue after letting Grant Morrison take over for a little bit. It seems we’ll be continuing from where we left off in Batman: Life After Death. I’m cool with that. Daniel’s art is amazing, and I expect he’s only going to get better with time.
Much to my delight, we see Kitrina Falcone return as Catgirl in this issue, as she tries to take down The Reaper. The idea of Catwoman having her own kid sidekick (in pink and black, no less) is a fun premise, and I’m looking forward to seeing it explored. It’s looking like Dick and Damian are going to be taking on enemies from overseas in this story arc, as a female character named Peacock/Sasha Lo is seeking to buy eight blocks worth of property in Gotham, which includes Crime Alley. When Dick goes after her to ask about her motivations, they are attacked. Peacock seems to have good intentions, but we’re not sure about that yet.
My favorite scene in this book might be when Dick runs after Sasha without his bat suit on. He radios Alfred, asking for one, and something called “Bat-Drone” locates his coordinates, flies a plane out to him, and drops one down at him from the sky. Very James Bond, in that it has that coolness/corniness balance to it.
It’s going to be interesting to see what happens to Dick Grayson when this Batman Incorporated stuff is all said and done. There can’t be two Batmen forever…can there? But all in all, a strong start to the changes that are taking place in the Batman world right now. Between the new titles coming out that are focused on Bruce, the new Batwoman title, and the regular Batman books, we might have a survival of the fittest situation on our hands here. People adore Batman, but is it possible for the DCU to be over-saturated (Baturated?) with Batman content?
As always, time will tell.