“Nobody puts Batman in the corner.”
Really, though. That’s when he’s at his most dangerous. Although how can Batman strike fear into the hearts of villains that seemingly have none? Ones led by the person who may know him best in the world? His former lover, baby mama, and filicidal maniac, Talia al Ghul? We’re about to find out. Is It Good?
Batman Incorporated #10 (DC Comics)
We open with Batman seeking the aid of… Michael Washington Lane?! The Suit of Sorrows wearing Azrael from the Order of Purity? That ol’ son of a gun: I was wondering where he was during this whole Batman Inc. thing.
He’s also… got some sort of freaky thyroid problem with his eyes, it would appear. We already know Batman’s the world’s greatest detective and according to Homer Simpson a scientist too… so hell, why not an ophthalmologist on top of it all? Just get that poor bastard some eye drops:
Or maybe that’s just the way Chris Burnham draws eyeballs.
Not to knock Burnham’s art, which I dig. He didn’t do all the art in this issue and it’s apparent there’s a fill-in for some pages, but it’s not that noticeable. There’s also a bad-ass, clever point of view drawing he utilizes that nicely complements the story… but we’ll get to that a little later.
Despite looking like sex offender Brian Peppers, Lane offers his help to Batman. Batman however, seems more interested in the distinctive attributes of the Suit of Sorrows. Namely that it “protects its wearer from all harm.” What’s Preplan-Man got brewing in that noggin of his?
We cut to a father/daughter chess game taking place in Jungfrau of the Bernese Alps. The players? Ra’s al Ghul and Talia. Ra’s is red and it’s his move. He could have mate soon. Talia is down a queen, but her imminent pawn promotion (c8=Q) could yield her another one and then “buh gawd” it’s still anyone’s chess match here folks.
… Er, sorry. Practicing for an announcing job at the next World Chess Championship on ESPN14. And turns out I’m an idiot. Ra’s al Ghul is just playing himself in chess since he’s imprisoned. ‘Cause that’s just what evil geniuses like to do when they’re in captivity.
Daddy al Ghul praises Talia for her masterful plan up to this point, but leaves her with this cryptic remark:
Back in Gotham, Mayor Hardy has issued a new stance towards vigilante armies, namely Batman, Incorporated:
The rest of the issue features Batman picking up a possible new toy from Lucius Fox, Talia showing how she keeps the Heretic under control despite him being a hulking beast with strength enough to crush a man’s face with his bare hands, and the rest of the dissipated Batman Inc. crew (namely Nightwing, Red Robin, Knight, and Ranger) staging a rescue for Jason Todd — whose captor may not be who he/she seems to be.
Oh yeah, and Batman needs to pick up one last component for his master plan. Which features possibly one of the coolest looking escape scene/splash pages in a Batman comic, ever:
“What are you trying to tell me… that I can dodge bullets?
I don’t want to spoil too much of the surprise but a recurring motif of this issue deals with one of Batman’s most fundamental oaths, formed in the incipient stages of assuming the mantle:
“Criminals are a superstitious, cowardly lot. My disguise must be able to strike terror into their hearts.”
- Batman being crazy bad-ass Batman.
- Fun ride.
- Still a lot of obligatory setup, but we’re going places.
How does Batman do that to an army, especially one led by a woman who’s seemingly more familiar with him than anyone? One he’s shown his more intimate side? A woman he’s been between the sheets with? His baby mama… who subsequently committed filicide? (Besides being a playboy billionaire that won’t pay child support?)
The answer is here. And it’s fucking awesome.
Is It Good?
Hells yes. So much of Morrison’s work is setup layered upon setup, smattered with foreshadowing, topped off with more setup — but some big stuff goes down here and the payoff looks to be nothing less than monumental. Great stuff.