This week, we’re taking a look at Batman Incorporated, the latest in the second wave of DC’s New 52.
Maybe I missed the memo but I thought the one the main objective behind the New 52 reboot…err, sorry “RELAUNCH”, was to make these 75 year old characters more accessible to new readers. In fact, from DC’s own key initiatives when the New 52 was announced we got the following comment:
We think fans will be excited by this approach and The New 52 will provide DC Entertainment an opportunity to aggressively reach the widest possible audience worldwide, through captivating stories and an accessible entry point.
I think Grant Morrison missed the memo as well. Batman Incorporated #1 is not going to be a good placed for new readers to stick their little piggys in and test the waters. Morrison’s story, in fact, pretty much requires the reader have a pretty thorough knowledge of Batman’s continuity. At least dating back to 2006 and at the most, dating back to 1987. Required reading? Well The Batman & Son story arc from 2006 is a must, and it’d be a pretty good idea to familiarize your self with Batman R.I.P., Batman: Battle for the Cowl, and Batman: The Return. All of these stories are referenced in this first issue of Batman Incorporated.
The new Robin (and boy if new readers were expecting Dick Grayson are THEY in for a surprise) is Damian Wayne, Batman’s son by Talia al Ghul. The character was first introduced way back in 1987 in the Son of the Demon graphic novel. It was Morrison who reintroduced the child as Damian Wayne in 2006. Batman and Robin are on the trail of a group of murderers who wear Goathead masks, not knowing that they are a mere diversion to an assassination attempt. The shadowy organization known as Leviathan (introduced by Morrison in Batman: The Return #1) has put a half billion dollar bounty on Robin.
The thrust behind the idea of “Batman Incorporated” is that Batman wants to create a sort of hero franchise by recruiting other heroes around the globe that are under his command, hence the Batman Incorporated name. This sub-plot is only touched on briefly in this first issue as we meet a group of supposedly dead heroes including The Hood and El Gaucho but this comprises only two pages of the entire first issue. While I wish the first issue had better emphasized the books main concept, there are few comic writers I trust more than Morrison and with the solid artwork of Chris Burnham, the book should be in good hands.