Batman is back and better than ever. After being exiled by Darkseid’s Omega Sanction, Batman as we knew him (AKA Bruce Wayne) was nowhere to be found. Eventually Dick Grayson came to take his place with Damian at his side as Robin, but things weren’t quite the same. Lucky for Batman lovers everywhere, Bruce Wayne returned to take back the cowl that he made famous. And, instead of being just one man, he realized that he wants Batman everywhere – like a business. In other words, Batman Incorporated.
“Thanks to Batman Incorporated, I can tell you exactly where Batman is… Batman is everywhere.” More wonderful words could never be spoken. In this collection of stories, Batman travels around the globe to join together a band of crime fighters – from Japan to Argentina to cyberspace and back again. Each locale provides a different kind of Batman, the kind of Batman that specific area needs. From The Hood to Black Bat to El Gaucho, known and forgotten favorites come together to take Batman’s mantra across the globe. But a looming presence makes itself known to Batman and his associates. Known as “Leviathan,” this super-secret organization will stop at nothing to destroy Batman and his Batman Incorporated. Will Batman be able to defeat this powerful organization? And, even with the help of Batwoman Kate Kane and El Gaucho, will that be enough to stop the evil Doctor Dedalus? Is Doctor Dedalus even who he says he is or, for that matter, is he even real? And who’s really behind Leviathan? Readers will have their socks blown off at the big reveal on the final page – don’t skip ahead!
This collection of Batman Incorporated contains issues 1-8 and the one-shot Batman Incorporated: Leviathan Strikes and is a great read for lovers of Batman. Some prior knowledge beyond that of his basic origin story is preferable for those reading the book. Knowledge of the events of Final Crisis as well as Grant Morrison’s run on Batman and Robin and The Return of Bruce Wayne will help the reader come into this continuation of those stories with the ability to know how Batman fits into this new storyline. In addition, knowing members of Batman’s semi-formed group – like El Gaucho , Kate Kane and Kathy Kane, as well as Stephanie Brown and Oracle, will help readers understand the interactions that Batman has with all of them. All of this prior knowledge isn’t required for enjoying the book, but I think those that do have some sort of history with Batman and Bruce Wayne will enjoy the book more than those who don’t. In other words, this isn’t a great book for those just getting to know Batman.
The artwork is spectacular. Yanick Paquette, Chris Burnham, Scott Clark, and Cameron Stewart all provide art for this collection. The uniqueness of “Nightmares in Numberland,” a story of cyberspace espionage starting Batman and Oracle, will definitely get people talking. It’s so different from “normal” comic drawings that one simply has to see it before making a judgment. It truly fits the setting in which the characters reside; even though it took me a while, I’ve learned to appreciate its place in the bigger story. One particular stand-out is Cameron Stewart’s colorful and whimsical take on Stephanie Brown and her place in an evil finishing school. Another is the origin story of the original Batwoman, Kathy Kane, which is drawn to reflect an earlier time period – to me, it was Lichtenstein-esque. There are many artists involved in Batman Incorporated, but they all fit well together. With a book this size, it’s nice to get different artists interpretations of Batman and his crew. Batman Incorporated is a great book for older high-schoolers and adults who love them some Batman.
by Grant Morrison
Art by Yanick Paquette, Chris Burnham, Scott Clark, and Cameron Stewart
DC Comics, 2012