“Batman Incorporated” #12 is just one issue from the grand finale of both the series and Grant Morrison’s time with the Caped Crusader, and he and Chris Burnham are doing their best to make it a memorable conclusion. As characters are removed from the playing field, there’s no doubt that this won’t be a quiet winding down of the title; instead it’s an all-out assault.
“Batman Incorporated” #12 has a lot of characters to juggle, but I feel like Morrison’s got a handle on them. With two major villains dealt with this issue, it’s certainly clear that Morrison’s got a little checklist that ticks off what still needs to be accounted for. What’s nice is that Morrison understands which one deserves a large extended sequence and which should be dealt with quickly; the first foe taken out is done in a perfunctory yet clever manner, one that fits the adversary in an apt way.
Most of the issue, though, details the fight between Batman and the Heretic. With its jagged and angled panels, Morrison and Burnham bring to life the idea of a violent, jerking, fast-paced fight as Batman throws everything he has against his son’s killer. It ends up being a visually noticeable shift when we briefly cut away from the fight to the other members of Batman Incorporated and suddenly the panels have shifted back to rectangles. But on the whole, this is a comic where it’s fast-paced and vicious, and Morrison and Burnham’s approach to that concept works quite well.
There are a few different aspects that help elevate “Batman Incorporated” #12 upward, including the imaginative ways that Batman goes after the Heretic. Morrison has always played with the notion that Batman’s got a thousand and one different gadgets and plans for different foes, and here we see them all pulled out of mothballs to try and defeat an unstoppable adversary. None feel too over the top, and in general it’s actually fun to see all of these different things whipped out, even if the most important elements in closing down the fight between the two aren’t fancy toys to be replicated. Also, Morrison and Burnham cut away from the fight at just the right moment to move forward the rest of the “Batman Incorporated” plots. Leviathan still hasn’t been defeated, after all, and then there’s still Spyral lurking in the background. It’s just the right amount of additional material to keep “Batman Incorporated” #12 from feeling tiring.
With gorgeous art and a fast-paced story, “Batman Incorporated” #12 serves well as a penultimate issue to the series. Everything could still come crashing down next month into a disastrous finish, of course, but right now, it feels like “Batman Incorporated” is about to stick its landing and finish strong. So far, so good.