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Chain Reactions | Batman Incorporated #1

by  in Comic News Comment
Chain Reactions | <i>Batman Incorporated #1</i>

This week saw the return of Batman Incorporated, a series that was cut short when DC Comics launched the New 52 initiative but was allowed to wrap up its plotlines in the Leviathan Strikes one-shot–effectively becoming our last view into the previous DC continuity. Or was it? Batman survived the rebirth of the universe fairly intact, and now with the relaunch of Batman Incorporated by Grant Morrison, Chris Burnham and Nathan Fairbairn, we get a glimpse at some of the dangling plotlines from that series–as well as some great new moments, like the introduction of Bat Cow.

How did folks feel about the relaunch? Here’s a round-up of just a few reactions from around the web:

David Pepose, Newsarama: “While Scott Snyder might bring the grit back to the Dark Knight, Grant Morrison is all about bringing back the flash. Six months after the last installment of Batman Incorporated, Morrison and artist Chris Burnham show that they’ve still got it, bringing action, mystery and suspense to this dark, pop-infused take on Gotham City.”

Bobby Shortle, Talking Comics: “I’m going to put this out on front street, Batman Incorporated #1 is a horrible ‘first issue’ of a comic book. I’m not saying it’s a bad book, because in fact it has several fantastic moments, but as an inaugural outing it does more to confuse than to welcome in new readers. Perhaps constant readers of the franchise will decry this review because they are perfectly happy to not have to sit through an expositional recount of events they have all ready consumed, but to them I say, ‘I think you are missing the point.'”

Minhquan Nguyen, Weekly Comic Book Review: “This series has the distinction of being one of the few titles allowed to pick up where it left off in the previous universe, meaning we can assume that nearly every character or plot point it’s established up to this point still applies. For example, even though characters like Stephanie Brown, Wally West, and the whole of the Justice Society are nowhere to be seen—at least, on this Earth—it seems the Outsiders are alive and well, despite getting caught in an explosion in space last time we saw them. Even Freight Train is seen eating some deviled eggs in Batcave West. So this means the Outsiders not only exist, they remain a part of the Batman mythos.”

Colin Smith, Too Busy Thinking About My Comics: “There’s so much to admire about the first issue of Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham’s Batman Incorporated, so why does it ultimately feel like such an uninvolving experience? Perhaps it’s because Morrison’s script is so conspicuously technically accomplished that the artifice of it all overshadows the story itself. When a reader ends up noticing the deliberate structure of each page rather than losing themselves in the comic’s contents, there’s the strongest of senses that craft has very much won out over feeling. And so, each page that isn’t a splash contains at the very least two visually compelling, talk-about-it-on-the-blogosphere moments, while the folding of A, B, and C plots one into the other as Demon Star progresses is undoubtedly cleverly done. Who else but Morrison would have joyfully seized at the dramatic potential of a throwdown in a stockyard, who else would have a clearly dysfunctional hit-man name himself after Bill Hick’s Goatboy? And yet, there’s so little of feeling in this virtuosic performance that the whole process feels far more mechanical than moving, far less heartfelt and far more affectation.”

Melissa Grey, Starburst Magazine: “Morrison’s run on Batman Incorporated has seen generous use of non-linear narratives and in this latest issue, his trademark multidimensional storytelling works to his advantage. The book opens with a tearful Bruce Wayne calling for the end of Batman and, one would assume, Batman Inc., before being set upon by an angry mob calling for his arrest. Morrison then jumps back in time by a month, with Batman and Robin diving into the middle of a firefight, and Burnham’s dynamic art propels the story with unrelenting intensity. There are few artists who would be able to cram seventeen panels onto a single page without sacrificing the story’s flow, but Burnham makes it look easy.”

Don MacPherson, Eye on Comics: “While Frank Quitely wasn’t the first artist to pair with Grant Morrison on the writer’s Batman epic, he definitely stood out as the definitive one with his work on the first volume of Batman and Robin. With his efforts on the previous volume of Batman Incorporated and now this one, Chris Burnham has proven himself a worthy artistic heir to Quitely’s noteworthy and strikingly unique efforts before him. While Burnham’s style is easily distinguishable from Quitely’s, his characters’ faces exhibit a similarly squat shape and design, and that brings a certain edge and slightly surreal tone to the over-the-top story. I love how he experiments with panel designs and storytelling techniques. I was specifically taken with how he ‘projects’ panels on the exteriors of Gotham City buildings. The scene flows quite well as the action progresses around the main characters as they make their way across the cityscape.”

Greg McElhatton, Comic Book Resources: “Of course, nothing hinges on how this book does or doesn’t fit into the overall line. Is it fun? Absolutely. Is it great? I’d go so far as to say yes. Batman Incorporated #1 reminds me of how exciting it was to read Batman and Robin #1 by Morrison and Quitely a few years ago. This is just as promising. I can’t wait to see what happens next. If you’re a fan of Batman — or just good superhero comics in general — you need to read Batman Incorporated #1.”