“There has to be a way to end this.”
“What is it you want?”
Classic statements made in any custody dispute. This time by Batman. Compared to the average couple, it doesn’t get any easier for Batman in his struggle with Talia over their son, Damian. You may have multi-colored elephants flying out of the sky and volcanoes erupting in the background, it’s all the same in the end. Except, in this case, the fate of millions hangs in the balance. Talia understates it very nicely, “We’re not normal people. We’re special.”
There’s no denying how special “Batman Incorporated” and all the related works by Grant Morrison are. It’s a joy to read. Even in its most violent moments, it still registers as comics and not a CSI episode. Part of it has to do, of course, with the amazing artists that Mr. Morrison works with. Chris Burnham is as robust and engaging an artist as Cameron Stewart or Frank Quitely. It’s compelling stuff. And Grant Morrison is quite generous in his references, ideas, and motivations. You could take a dozen things from any issue and turn them into separate stories.
Issue 6 gives us a title cover of “For The Love Of Their Son!” and a story title of, “Garland of Skulls.” And, basically, that is what you find inside the pages. We go back and forth between a heated exchange between Batman and Talia and the war on the streets of Gotham. Batman Inc. troops are fighting tooth and nail against Leviathan troops. Batman robots and manbats are coming down from the skies. All the while, Talia is playing mind games. And, back at the bat cave, Damian and a slew of Batman operatives find themselves privy to the sordid conversation between the two alpha parents. Quite messy. Was this something that could have been avoided through counseling? Well, no, not in this case.
It is a beautiful chaos. Talia, in some respects, could be standing in for The Riddler in this story. Batman must go through a maze of puzzles and taunts with little hope of escape. Throughout, he must consider the parable of the goatherd and its ten stages of understanding. First, the goatherd pursues the goat up the Mountain of Enlightenment. But do you really think Talia is concerned with enlightenment? No, she’s about weaving her own beautiful chaos. Just when we think Damian is somehow fated to destroy Gotham, Talia suggests that may not be the case.
What a great piece of work. One thing is pretty clear, the whole idea of Batman Incorporated is headed for permanent acceptance. It will be, if it isn’t already, part of Batman lore, part of Batman canon. Who can really say otherwise? “Batman Inc.” is one of the best things going in comics today and that’s quite an understatement.
Stay tuned for “Batman Inc. #7,” due out January 30, 2013. Visit our friends at DC Comics.