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Best of 2012 – Batman Incorporated: Can Even Batman Hope to Organize Chaos?

by  in Comic News Comment
Best of 2012 – Batman Incorporated: Can Even Batman Hope to Organize Chaos?

I think we likely place too much emphasis on our “top ten” comic books of the year, as obviously with the thousands of comics out there in any given year, there is a much bigger difference between the cream of the crop and the bad books than there are between the best books. So rather than giving honorable mentions in my Top Ten Comics of 2012, I will spotlight a few of my favorites through New Year’s Day. – BC

Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham’s latest volume of Batman Incorporated thoughtfully began entirely in 2012, so none of that annoying trying to figure out when any given issue was released. The centerpiece of Batman Incorporated is Batman trying to put together a sort of Bat-army to face the seemingly undefeatable forces of Leviathan, which we discovered late last year was led by Talia Al Ghul, mother of the current Robin, Batman’s son Damian. The resulting comic book is a mad cap adventure evoking the best attributes of Batman’s past, with a heavy dose of Denny O’Neil/Neal Adams awesomeness.

One of the neatest aspects of Morrison runs is that they tend to begin with a mysterious first page that you almost forget about months later but then you remember that the whole thing was presaged by this page. The first issue of Batman Inc. Volume 2 naturally has one of these…

Oooooh, mysterious.

The rest of the first issue in the series works as an introduction issue and mostly serves in allowing Chris Burnham to remind everyone that he kicks everyone’s ass. Check out this page…

Holy crap, that’s awesome.

Burnham takes on a bigger role in this volume as Morrison has clearly realized how amazing his collaborator is (“takes on a bigger role” meant that Burnham did some writing in this volume, specifically co-writing #0. Sorry if that wasn’t more clear, Chris!). I look forward to many more projects from the pair after their Batman work is finished.

Another thing that this first issue established was the pace of Batman Incorporated, which is fast FAST FAST.

Oh, and #1 gave us Bat Cow, which I don’t think any of us realized how much we were missing it in our lives until we saw it in print…

After a dramatic cliffhanger to #1 (Robin really should wear that protective hood), #2 is a brilliant “Life of Talia Al Ghul” issue, spotlighting the main antagonist of the series…

Talia is basically the type of person who sees that display and says, “Agreed, but I want it all on MY terms.”

Which she says as much to her father at the end of the issue…

Issues #3-4 detail the return of Matches Malone in a story that is as much of an ode to the O’Neil/Adams issues that I can think of.

Issue #3 also has a nice scene where Morrison and Burnham detail just how complicated this story Morrison has been writing for years now has gotten…

Issue #0 is a bit of a filler work, as Morrison obviously did not have the issue planned for when he began the volume. Still, given the opportunity, he and Burnham give us a great little story of Batman forming Batman Incorporated (with great Frazer Irving artwork). It also includes a great little bit with Batman acknowledging Alfred’s awesomeness…

This leads us to the latest issue, which is a dark sequel to Batman #666, where we see Damian as the Batman of the future and we discover that Damian was always intended as the tool of his mother to ruin the legacy of Batman forever, without Damian even knowing. It is an incredibly bleak issue, but as you know how these things go, it is always darkest before the dawn, and such a dark issue is necessary as Morrison gets ready to draw his entire run to a close.

So yeah, this is a fun, complex series with amazing artwork. Sounds like a winner to me!

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