It is the year of the Morrison. No, I’m not talking about some strange new Chinese Zodiac, but Grant Morrison, comic book writer, storytelling guru and to some, beloved genius of the comics industry. Last year a documentary focused on him entitled Talking with Gods was released along with his version of the history of comics in his book Supergods. Since Scott Snyder has taken over the main Batman book, Morrison has been adding new layers to Superman over in Action Comics. Hell, the guy is going to have his own convention! Don’t believe me? Check it out.
Love him or hate him, he’s a writer most everyone can enjoy since he’s done so many different things over his career. Ultimately he’s a slave to story, which is one reason I’ve enjoyed him so much. His work on Batman in the last few years has probably changed the character more than any other writer since Bob Kane. He’s introduced a son named Damien, killed Batman and even created a Batman corporation. And those are just the main beats!
Batman Inc. lasted eight issues in 2010 until it was thrown off its game due to the DC reboot. Finally, Morrison is back to continue the story. The question everybody has is whether the reboot has changed the series and the luster is gone, or if Morrison can take the reigns back. Morrison has said he’s going to put Batman through hell in Batman Incorporated. But Is It Good?
Batman Incorporated #1 (DC)
A common problem when writing comic books is introducing new exposition while keeping the single issue reader entertained. Typically this involves a fight with a bad guy who is vanquished by the end of the issue and not seen again in the following issues. Morrison does just that here, this time with a sniper out to kill Robin. Morrison takes it one step further though, by instilling a personality and making his side of the story very apparant.
Sounds easy! Let me go get my baseball bat and claim the reward!
While this is going on, Batman and Robin are introduced, the relationship between Damien and Dick is recapped (apparently it was better thanthat of Bruce and Damien), and the state of Batman Inc. is effectively explained. All and all it’s a great balance of single issue excitement and overarching layouts of each plot. Morrison is a great plate spinner.
Talk about a pretty way to convey movement. Paintings on billboards and buildings.
To open the book, Morrison has Batman and Robin chasing Goat Boy into a slaughterhouse; a slaughterhouse where the cows are being poisoned by Leviathan. To bring the vegetarian angle even further, Robin decides to denote one of the cows as part of the team.
Cow blood as bat emblem.
The art is done by Chris Burnham who is relatively new to the comics scene. Aside from some one-shot issues this is his first real gig as the main artist on a book. The quality is good, especially the texture and weight he adds to the page. I’d say he’s reminiscent of Frank Quitely—probably why he was chosen—and it’s everything you want in a comic. The pacing is done well and the panels only enhance the story. In a few panels he uses a “Google Maps” approach to signify the position of characters.
Quickly, open Yelp and find out where the bad guys are!
The action ain’t too shabby, either.
Robin doing his Spider-Man thing.
Coming from Grant Morrison, this is a great issue. Nothing is overly complicated, and the pacing is spot on. Sometimes his books get weighed down by exposition in places, making it a chore to get through two pages, then a full-on action sequence kicks in and you’re off to the races. Here, Morrison has put together the perfect balance of action and exposition. Considering how well the sniper does by book’s end you’re going to want to know how this story plays out in issue 2.
Grant Morrison is back, baby. This book, without a doubt, will find its way in our 10 dollar budget over in ComiX Weekly.
Is It Good?