Comics come and go so quickly it makes a regular observer’s head spin. So, when something this special comes along, it is a pleasure to share with all readers, those familiar with what I’m talking about and those without a clue. “Batman Inc” is a significant comic. So significant that it can truly be called a gateway comic for new readers.
Anyone who is into comics has been talking about this title since it was announced at this year’s Comic-Con in San Diego. Legendary designer Chip Kidd highly recommends it. Fans of the writer Grant Morrison, fans of comics in general, know this is where to be right now in comics.What is so amazing about this book is more than can be said in one review. Essentially, it is flawless. The artwork and the writing do a dance in your mind that will entrance you. It truly takes you away from your everyday routine and transports you to a happy place, a full comics experience.
Grant Morrison is known for his dark and multi-layered writing which brings in all manner of pop culture, history, myth and symbolism. That approach to writing has served Batman well as Morrison has navigated through a story, which has spanned a number of titles, that repositions Batman and Bruce Wayne after a long and tortured time when DC Comics had Bruce killed and it had looked like he’d stay dead. To bring Bruce back would need to be done with utmost care and so, presumably the best writing talent in the business, Mr. Morrison, has led the way to make this a truly special time in comics. For this current title, “Batman Inc,” we find Bruce in full command and running the show, the Batman part of his life, with the same vigor he runs his business empire.
Yanick Paquette (pencils) and Michel LaCombe (inks) provide spot on artwork, both beautiful, energetic and relevant. Not a missed note anywhere to be found. The colors too, by Nathan Fairbairn, are exquisite. We begin with Batman and Catwoman working together in Tokyo on the search for Mr. Unknown, who is supposed to figure prominently in Batman’s plans. But, oh wait a minute, actually, just before that, Mr. Unknown is killed by one very scary villain, Lord Death Man! And, yes, no matter how geeky that may sound, it is done with great elegance. This Lord Death Man looks like somebody from a Day of the Dead festival done up in a skeleton costume. But he looks fierce instead of festive and he means to kill without mercy just like the Grim Reaper himself. He comes upon Mr. Unknown and instantly takes away his hands. Mr. Unknown is in shock. He askes where his hands went. Lord Death Man says, “They are in hell! Awaiting the rest of you!”
This is just a little taste of the comic, with special consideration given to those of you out there who normally do not buy comics. I have to tell you, it will prove such an unexpected treat that I urge you to venture into your local comics shop and give it a try. You want to be in on the next big thing? This one will continue to reverberate for some time to come. It’s not exactly underground either. It’s DC Comics after all. But that’s the thing, so many of you just don’t know how good comics can be and this could be the first you hear of Grant Morrison, let alone “Batman Inc.” That said, do check it out.
And for those out there who already know the score. I love this line from Catwoman after she’s knocked out a bunch of Lord Death Man’s henchmen, all following a skeletal motif: “Bones don’t seem so scary when they’re broken in bits, do they?”
Batman, along with every comic book character around, keeps being revisited, tweaked, reborn, readjusted. This is a major shift. This is a new generation’s Batman.