With “Batman Incorporated” #4, the series from Grant Morrison and Chris Bunham is finally back on track in terms of a publishing schedule, after having to skip a month before releasing issue #3, followed by “Batman Incorporated” #0. Although it means that the series has lost a bit of momentum as a result, it’s here that I feel like the book is in a good groove and has established a voice.
If the first volume of “Batman Incorporated” was Batman going around the world setting up Bat-proxies, this second volume of “Batman Incorporated” is an international edition of “Batman Family.” It’s never been more clear than with this issue, as half a dozen different heroes from different parts of the globe help Batman (disguised as Matches Malone) against the forces of Leviathan.
It’s a mostly action issue as a result, but it’s a lot of fun. From Matches’ escape from Leviathan, to the debut of Redbird and the appearance of the mysterious Wingman, there’s a lot of plot built into the numerous fight scenes. Watching the different characters interact is a lot of fun, although it’s still Damian and Wingman who are at the center of the title. As Wingman’s identity is revealed, though, Morrison switches the story over from one with a fun element to a more down and depressing conclusion. There’s something about the resignation in everyone’s dialogue on the final page that makes me wonder just what the heck we’re in for next.
Burnham has rapidly turned into one of my favorite superhero artists, and this issue is no exception to that adoration. The triumphant grin on Matches’ face as he tears off the hood is dynamite, for instance; it sells Morrison’s in-your-face crowing from the character in a way that another visual wouldn’t have managed to do. Even the little touches, like the wiggle on Damian’s line as it’s fired, or the circular panels after Batwing fires his sonic weapon at the Manbats, end up making this book just look and feel impressive. And when Damian looks up at Batman at the end of the issue and cries out, “What does everyone know that I don’t?” I challenge you to not feel bad for the character. It’s a beautiful drawing that brings everything together perfectly.
“Batman Incorporated” is the last portion of Morrison’s take on Batman, and as a swan song it’s shaping up quite nicely. It’s great to see the book back on track now, and it’s got that fun nature to it that will keep you eagerly reading from one month to the next. Bring it on.