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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!

14 Comments

The only DC book I’m still following, and still one of the best books on the stands. It’s become overshadowed by the much more popular, far weaker stories of Snyder/Capullo’s Batman, but those delays do tend to suck. Not to mention the current story is a little irrelevant to DCNU events.

But, in my case when Morrison’s version is the only one that matters, who gives a shit? The book is good, and when it’s all over, Grant will have the longform definitive statement on the character of Batman. Everything in it’s proper place.

Right on Jeremy

The Talia issue was the best single comic of the year

Grant Morrison is the biggest hack.

On his best day he’s not as good as Snyder.

A Horde of Evil Hipsters

January 2, 2013 at 3:13 am

Ah, this is the CBR I know and love: an article that shows proper appreciation to a well-crafted comic…and a comment thread in which some basement-dweller starts whining about “hacks”. I swear I’ll never understand why superhero fans are so damn opposed to well-written and entertaining comics. Of course, since most of CBRs favourite targets are British, it may just be old-fashioned racism.

No, Morrison has some bizarre convoluted cosmology he feels he has to apply to everything, and his frantic writing style doesn’t allow events to breath. After Batman RIP and Final Crisis, a series of enormous mistakes in storytelling, I don’t understand why DC allows this man to keep working for them.

penguintruth, can you explain what you mean by a “cosmology” that he applies to everything? just curious…

Of course, since most of CBRs favourite targets are British, it may just be old-fashioned racism.

What other Brits get targeted on CBR? Do you mean on the main page or on CSBG? I haven’t seen much backlash against Brits on a whole on CBR but maybe i just missed it.

Man, that Chris Burnham guy is like a Frank Quitely with better faces. Nice stuff.

Burnham is outstanding. He was already good before Batman Inc. but since he’s been working on Batman Inc. his work has gotten even better.

Ah, this is the A Horde of Evil Hipsters I know and love: one person makes a comment about not liking Grant Morrison and it’s extrapolated to how the entirety of CBR is a bunch of “racists” for … hating on British creators.

Wow.

Anyway, I still love Batman Inc, although the series as a whole REALLY lost momentum since about a year and a half ago when the new 52 came in. Then it was 4 months between the unloved “Internet 3.0″ issue 8 of volume 1 and the Leviathan Strikes special (which was AWESOME), then another few months before the first issue of the new run, then the “delay” when the tragic Colorado shootings happened (I say “delay” because my local shops featured the book when it was originally set to come out). Plus that weird, seemingly unrelated Lumina Lux stuff, and the “mystery” about the one character…. Anyway, it is still an AWESOME book, but I haven’t been quite as psyched about it this year.

And Burnham rules, man.

Best damn superhero book available, bar none, although I consider “Hawkeye” the best new series of 2012, mainly because I don’t really consider the current volume of Inc as new since it’s a direct continuation of Morrison’s seven-year epic. Issue 2 of Inc is the best single issue I read all year.

This is another comic I haven’t picked up yet, but plan to. I’ve loved pretty much all of Morrison’s Batman stuff, and this looks to continue that trend. I am a little confused about the Snyder hate. I loved “Court of Owls”.

I am confused as to why so many people seem to think that, to praise one creator, you have to damn another. I’ve been impressed by both.

British is a race?

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