See all reviews of Batman, Incorporated (11)

We’ve come to the end of Grant Morrison’s seven-year run on Batman with Batman Incorporated #13.

Will the grand finale hit like a stomach punt or leave us feeling empowered, elated, and strangely sated?


Batman Incorporated #13 (DC Comics)


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We begin with hardboiled narration from Commissioner Gordon. Seems he’s got some questioning for one bruised and battered Bruce Wayne. You know, “Where were you on the night of January the 16th?”, “Who done it?” and of course: “How the hell does he get out of this one?”

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“Bruce, you got some ‘splainin’ to do.”

Thus Bruce recounts Batman’s final battle with Talia al Ghul. Batman’s final battle with Leviathan. Batman’s final battle?

There are times when Chris Burnham’s art style wears on me and in a spasm of “grass is greener” syndrome, I wonder how Morrison’s final vision might have appeared under the pencil strokes of a Greg Capullo or a Mikel Janin. Then Burnham lays shit like this on on me, with the sword blades themselves forming the panel framework:

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And I realize why he’s that dude. Beautiful, beautiful stuff.

There are a few more visual eyegasms of this ilk interspersed throughout Batman Incorporated #13, (the symbolic and recurring use of Ouroboros, “the snake that swallows its own tail and thus has no terminus” being my favorite.)

Sure, the ending is going to piss plenty of fans right the hell off, just as Morrison predicted. Some might call it cynical. Others pompous or pretentious or cliched. But what were you expecting? Batman is a character born from tragedy and perpetually fueled by it. His idea of a happy ending or an ending at all is vastly different from what you and I would consider one. The issue will make us think about how we perceive Batman and what he stands for, and there’s something to be said about a story that can put you into such a state of reflection and damn near cognitive dissonance.

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Well that’s just plain hurtful.

Also, it will make us run back and dig out previous issues to see which subtle hints, which symbolic images and foreshadowing we missed the first time around in Grant’s Batman Inc. run; or as he puts it himself:

There’s a lot of stuff in there that people could spend a lot of time looking at. In the way that the Superman stuff I’ve done is emotional and physical, Batman has been intellectual. It’s been about puzzles and weird storytelling tricks and doing stuff that doesn’t normally get done, that even I don’t normally do. Because of that weird intricate coursework puzzle nature of it all, a lot of people still haven’t figured out all the stuff in there. It’ll keep people talking for a long time.”

I’ll miss Morrison’s Batman work. His stuff is right up there with the best. At the time of this writing, I might even consider it the best. He paid homage to the great stories of the past (and in this issue, stories to come), infused them with a flavor all his own, and now, did what he set out to do — started his take on the character, finished it, and left upon the mythos an indelible mark all his own.

Thank you Grant.

10

  • Impressive, creative artwork from Chris Burnham.
  • Grant Morrison’s take on Batman has come full circle.
  • Fun, thought provoking issue.
  • We don’t get any more of Morrison’s take on Batman.
  • Ending that will be very polarizing between fans.

Is It Good?

Absolutely.

This is the kind of comicbook that makes you proud to be a fan; makes you apathetic to the derisions of those uninitiated to your hobby because — who gives a damn? What you just read was truly laudable. A story resonant and thoroughly felt. One of mythic quality. One that you’ll read again and again to further scrutinize, to more deeply possess, and most importantly — enjoy anew.

  • Jordan Richards

    Man, talk about your polar opposite reactions. I so do not share the same reaction to this issue like you did. On the other hand, it’s better that you reviewed this than me since I’m pretty sure my opinion would be extremely controversial .

    • Russ Whiting

      Whenever you do a “conclusive” or “last” Batman story like this
      there’s bound to be plenty of polarization –I don’t think your opinion
      would have been too controversial; I’d love to hear it, actually.

      There have been plenty of diametrically opposed opinions and reactions to Batman Inc. #13 but as long as the opinions are cogent and backed with substantial evidence, I can certainly see where each viewpoint is coming from.

      What didn’t you like about it?

      I’ve seen complaints about Talia’s death being underwhelming and the ending seeming to render Batman in a myopic and ineffectual light, but on the contrary, I viewed it more as thematic elements that we’ve seen Morisson present before appearing again and coming full circle.

      I also took Talia’s line along the lines of “I gave you what you wanted. I gave you the unbeatable villain” to be an extremely poignant one. It made her all the more a tragic figure to me.

      • Jordan Richards

        I personally found it emotionally hollow. After Morrison’s finales to his first two parts of the series and then I also reading Geoff John’s Green Lantern’s ending, this ending felt empty, like there was nothing achieved or you don’t
        feel particularly happy or sad of what was lost or won. It doesn’t feel satisfying in a sense.

        Sure, thematically, there is something there and I see why people would like it. However, to me, that doesn’t make me enjoy or feel anything for it. I believe most media, especially if it considered amazing by everyone, should make you feel something or enjoy it on some level. I read Animal Man Annual #2 this week and it felt so emotionally satisfying and enjoyable, even if it was so depressing and sad. I got something out of it and the final few pages are probably going to stick with me for a while due to their power. With Morrison’s Batman Inc ending, I felt nothing and that is one of the biggest reasons why I don’t think this was very good. It may succeed thematically, but it does not succeed in emotion or enjoyment (maybe if you enjoy analyzing things though…).

        Then I had plenty of things that bugged the hell out of
        me after I sat down and thought about it. Characters’ stupidity (Talia, why give him the antidote if you suspect the box wouldn’t work?), Kathy herself (if she thinks she’s so much better, where the hell was she and her little organization when Darkseid invaded or when reality has been threaten? Her mere existence rises lots of questions as well, like why hasn’t Bruce ever mentioned her before outside of Inc.?), questionable behavior displayed by the characters (the kiss for instance I can nitpick into the ground, but also burying Talia next to Damian. That seems right, doesn’t it?), some lingering plot holes I realized are still not answered (still wondering where the heck Joker got his nuke), and reflecting on the fact that some things just amounted to nothing in the very end (So what was the point to Knight’s death storywise and what couldn’t be accomplished if he was still alive?). Okay last bit was nitpicking, but I especially hate stuff like that due to past experiences with other comics.

        The ending didn’t completely bug me, with the fact that Batman’s story just continues on. I get that Morrison is saying that his story will forever go on. The ending totally reminds me of how my favorite anime of all time ended, Baccano. In fact, Baccano summed it up very well and also very simply with why the tale goes on. Just check out the Baccano 16 (SUB) Carol Realizes That the Story Cannot Having an Ending around 22:40 on YouTube to see what I mean. Still, I would have preferred it to end without the epilogue attached, since I didn’t see a point to it. I think it would have been more mysterious and intriguing to end without ever revealing what happen to the bodies and leaving it vague about what this could mean. By revealing who took them, I just left me shrugging and not really caring as much.

        Ultimately, it just didn’t make feel or care about it. People say the themes, ideas, and meanings make the story better or can explain away things problems I had, but they don’t make the story any better for me and probably others. That’s why I wouldn’t be good to review Batman Inc. or any other Morrison story. I am not nearly as interested in the themes or meanings if I don’t find the story good by itself and I most often I do not try to analyze or look for these elements since I try to judge the story as is.

        Also, most of the time, these things just fly straight over my head to point and I just completely miss them. Even after someone points them out, I’m probably not going to be nearly as thrilled or as interested as that person. Like the whole snake eating his own tail thing, I didn’t know anything about it at all, so I didn’t really care when the comic brought it up. Now that I know its significance, I’m still not exactly excited by it or how it is used. I’m more like, “Oh, there it is now. Okay.” So yeah, not the best guy to review something
        by Grant Morrison (with the exception of Joe the Barbarian since I thoroughly enjoy that would love to analyze that deeply).

        Also, I don’t like the art, so that wouldn’t have helped
        me like the comic any more, but that’s another topic.

        I hope that explains why my opinion wouldn’t be popular
        and why I wouldn’t be the best person to review this issue. I would have given it a 5 out of 10. Good if you focus more on the themes, but feels ultimately hollow and emotionless with various problems sprinkled throughout.