When “Batman Incorporated” was first announced, I remember a common worry was that with the ever-changing setting, would the series end up being more of an unrelated set of short stories? With the third issue, Grant Morrison appears to be showing us that it’s not the case.
As it turns out, Batman’s trip around the world is hinted as being part of a larger plan, one to help Batman prepare for the fight of his life. With glimpses into the past set during the Falkland Island conflict and dealing with the mysterious Dedalus, plus the appearances and mentions of an Ouroborus symbol, it feels like we’re building up to something larger.
Here’s the great thing, though; even if all of this turns out to just be for the current story set in Argentina, it’s still entertaining. We’ve got everything from high pulp adventure (Parrots that hold key information! Crates full of killer blue scorpions! The tango of death! Escape by hot air balloon!), to metafictional twists of the story, to the downright creepy death traps. Morrison is running all over the place in terms of style, but at the same time it still manages to all click together.
In general, I also appreciate that this current issue of “Batman Incorporated” is ultimately one that wouldn’t fit in Gotham City. From the expansive mountain landscape to the stylized moves of the tango, Morrison is writing his stories around their locations. This isn’t a random “show an opening vista and then forget that you’re in a new location” story, but one that is playing close attention to the tools at hand.
Yanick Paquette’s pencils this month are rugged and macho, fitting in perfectly to the style of story written by Morrison. I can just as easily see these pages being from a “Torpedo” pulp fiction story as “Batman Incorporated,” between the tied-up, chest-baring Cimarron in the early pages, to the sensual moves on display as Bruce Wayne and Tristessa perform the tango of death. I was fully prepared to grumble about the delays between the previous issue and this one, but it ended up looking so gorgeous that I found myself unable to complain. (Pere Perez steps in for a two page sequence, but to his credit he apes Paquette’s overall style well enough that I suspect it will slide by the average reader.)
Three issues in, and “Batman Incorporated” is a fun amalgamation of, it seems, whatever Morrison feels like writing about this month. If this is the end result of those current whims and interests, well, I’m definitely down for that.