First Impressions: Batman Incorporated, Vol. 2
By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder
Yes, Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham are back, picking Batman Incorporated up for the first time in DC’s New 52 universe. This issue more or less picks up where the Leviathan Strikes issue left off. Talia al Ghul, who we now know is the leader of the Leviathan terrorist group, has placed a bounty on the head of the child she (sort of) had with Bruce Wayne, Damian, who is now Robin. This re-debut sees Batman and Robin take on…wait for it…Goatboy. Yes, Goatboy, a new bad guy with a goat mask who’s looking to collect the bounty on Robin. He’s actually more successful than you might think…
What is it with Grant Morrison and animal villains? Professor Pyg and Mr. Toad showed up in Batman Reborn, and now we’ve got Goatboy. I’m starting to wonder if he had some kind of traumatic experience on Old MacDonald’s farm when he was a kid…
For the purposes of Batman Incorporated, the differences between the New 2 universe and the old DC universe are fairly minimal. The the best of my knowledge (and chagrin), Stephanie Brown doesn’t exist anymore. Cassandra Cain/Black Bat seems to be in limbo at the moment. But a lot of the heroes we saw in the old book pop up for a scene. It looks like Batwing will be leading a group consisting of El Gaucho, The Hood, and several others. This issue introduces us to a “Batcave West” in San Francisco, which oddly enough is located below an S&M shop of some kind. An interesting choice.
I like the idea of Damian being a target. It creates a sense of vulnerability around the character that we don’t always see. In Batman & Robin, Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason have played up an emotional vulnerability, but this is much more literal. This snotty and arrogant, yet skilled and dangerous kid now has a bullseye on his back that everyone wants to hit. On top of that, you’ve got his father right beside him most of the time. That’s a great set up for both action and drama. That’s evidenced by the fun sequence we see in a slaughterhouse
For the past several years, Grant Morrison has been the primary architect for Batman’s world with his runs on Batman, Batman & Robin, and Batman Incorporated. He’s brought a lot of cool new characters in (including Damian), and done some compelling things with established ones. The cheesiness of Goatboy notwithstanding, all signs point to more of the same here.
Front page image from newsarama.com. Interior image from sciencefiction.com.