With all the craziness that went on last issue, what with the foreshadowing through solitary confinement chess games, the bullet-dodging, and the Batman stacking a Megazord combo of his villains’ powers on himself so he could take on Thalia and the Heretic, I was almost off my damn rocker waiting to see the riveting conclusion in Batman Incorporated #11:
Batman Incorporated #11 (DC Comics)
… aaaaaand, it’s Jiro, the Batman of Japan. Cool… I guess? So, uh, where are all the characters we’ve been reading about for the past year and what have you done with MechAzraelManBat, Morrison?
Oh. Turns out this issue was written by Chris Burnham, who’s usually on Batman Incorporated art duty. Seems like odd timing but let’s ditch the grousing and get to the reviewing, children.
As the cover implies, Jiro Osamu is Tokyo’s Batman, who has popped up from time to time in Morrison’s run. He’s having a little cyberspace rendezvous with his sidekick/love interest Canary when all of a sudden he gets called to duty: There are five color-coordinated track suit wearing, curvaceous motorcyclists causing a ruckus. Forget the fact that they’re bulletproof and super-strong, though:
Their most deplorable characteristic? They’re goddamn bullies:
Not everyone in Japan can afford acne cleansing medication, heartless wenches!
Battles rage. The fight scenes are well done and Jiro and Canary exhibit a nice variance in gadgets, ability, and methodology which make for an interesting departure from the Bat-family we’re so accustomed to.
The repartee between the combatants is clever in some instances and downright groanworthy in others. Your nine-year old cousin might really get a kick out of his new favorite phrase, “Promiscuous butt chunks” though, so there’s always that.
Fine, I almost breathed really hard out of my nose at this. You happy?
All the banter is made better however, if you juxtapose Jiro to Bruce Wayne in your head: Quips from the bad dudes in this issue actually get under Jiro’s skin, something that would never effect Bruce, so it’s amusing to think about how differently Jiro responds and how the real Batman might verbally shoot the villains down. Or ignore them like a stoic boss.
The whole issue evokes an Adam West Batman meets Super Sentai meets Manga vibe, with a smattering of post modern Jack Kirby-nodding thrown in for good measure. Also, Power Rangers with toilet humor. If a thing like that even makes sense. Of course, let’s not forget the fine job by Jorge Lucas, whose artwork fits the mood perfectly. Burnham stated that Jorge “is an absolute master at drawing outlandish Kirbyesque environments. The splash page of Jiro and Canary transforming gets me excited every time I see it.” Can’t say we disagree with him too much there. Bad-ass splash incoming:
Burnham’s design for Jiro ain’t too shabby. In an interview with ComicVine he admits the design is heavily influenced by Battle Kenya (complete with battle-scarf), a character from Battle Fever J, a Japanese Super Sentai series from 1980. Not quite as cool-looking as Battle Kenya, but not so bad it’s an eyesore either.
- Nice poppy, Golden Age art by Jorge Lucas.
- Genuinely fun little read.
- We want to see Morrison’s story.
- We have to wait yet another month to see Morrison’s story.
Is It Good?
Let’s face it, nobody besides Chris Burnham’s immediate family and possibly Jason David Frank wanted to see the contents of this issue over a continuation of last’s with Bruce Wayne, Thalia, and the gang.
It’s like paying for the championship match and then being told the main event is delayed for six hours and all that’s available in-ring is Hulk Hogan’s Micro Championship Wrestling and a twenty-pinfall Ironman Match between Barry “The Hand” Horowitz and Bastion Booger. (On second thought, I’d sadly watch the hell out of that.)
We feel cheated, sure. but this isn’t a bad little issue if you look at it from a standalone perspective. Skip it if you must, but you’ll be missing out on bonafide entertainment and… gasp, fun. And Hell… that’s what we want from our funny strips, isn’t it folks?