STORY: Grant Morrison
ART: Chris Burnham
Just like any Grant Morrison-penned title, Batman Incorporated is weird as hell. Remember Seven Soldiers of Victory back in 2004? How about All-Star Superman? On these – and countless other occasions – Morrison has captivated audiences not with direct plot narratives, but with twists, turns and confusion that can best many casual readers. It takes a lot to read Morrison’s work, but it pays off.
The opening pages of Batman Incorporated are totally incomprehensible. Batman and Robin are chasing after a goat-headed individual into a slaughterhouse where they are met by some group of criminals in animals masks. Let it be said that these few pages in the slaughterhouse itself are some of the most bloody and explicit images I’ve seen in a comic in quite some time. I’m sure something worse has come along in recent history, but there’s just something about seeing these innocent cows caught in the crossfire of this criminal activity is somewhat nauseating. It’s a poignant move to make Robin give up meat in light of this episode.
Moving forward – because that’s honestly the only way I know how to review Morrison’s concept work – Bats and Robin go after some upside-down star symbol that had a connection to the slaughterhouse. Turns out the symbol, the “Demon Star” translates to ‘al ghul’ somehow, which means all this kerfuffle has to do with Talia and Damien. Again, this is issue one of a Grant Morrison story, so there’s not much more than anticipation being created, which also comes in abundance.
There’s a small vignette focusing on some other members of Batman Incorporated, but they’re barely named and are given no real plot, in the most technical of terms. It seems like Morrison simply needed to introduce the character without going to far into their story, which kind of seems like a cop-out.
The final pages are dedicated to the assassin who’s been hunting Damien the entire issue. He’s been brought in by the mysterious Leviathan and made to explain how he shot Batman and killed Robin! And that’s where the issue ends! It’s a very satisfying cliffhanger.