Sunday, February 20, 2011

Batman Incorporated - I Eat My Words

Batman Inc. #1 & #2

I Spoke Too Soon!

When I had first started my venture into Grant Morrison’s Batman Inc. storyline, I was very hesitant. I don’t like change, I’ll admit it, but sometimes change is a good thing. For the longest time, Bruce Wayne has waged his war against crime alone. With the introduction of various Robins and the “Bat Family” growing every year, it was only a matter of time before Bruce Wayne would want to expand the reach of Batman across the globe.
I had put down the thought of Bruce Wayne branching out to different countries to create “Batmen” to wage the war against crime, but after reading the new Detective Comics, Batman, Batman & Robin, and now Batman Inc., I’m going to officially eat my words.
Insert chomping sound
Bruce Wayne, as a character, has finally realized that he can’t do everything alone. He’s left Gotham City to Dick Grayson (who is now also Batman), and has spread out his wings to the rest of the planet, recruiting and setting up a Batman for every country. My initial impression from the Batman: The Return book was that he wasn’t going to be doing anything as Batman anymore. That, I think, is what turned me off from the idea. Now that I have gotten into the new expansion of Batman a little bit more, I can see why the decision was made. Granted it’s nothing new, Frank Miller did a similar thing in this story The Dark Knight Returns with the Sons of Batman gang, but the actual training and recruitment process is much more rigorous and based on personality, rather than sheer numbers.
The most recent addition to the Batman Family is Mr. Unknown from Japan. After taking up the reigns from the original Mr. Unknown, a young man named Jiro is targeted by Lord Death Man, a villain who can seemingly escape death and loves to murder anyone who crosses his path. From what I gather, I think that Lord Death Man was a manga-created character for Batman publications in Japan. If that's true, that's an awesome throwback to include it inside the official Batman storyline.
When Batman sees Jiro’s capacity for good and determination of justice, he helps fake the second Mr. Unknown’s death in order to pave the way for Jiro to completely become a new Batman for the land of the rising sun.
Another big element of this story that I was unaware of is Bruce Wayne’s public announcement that he’s been funding Batman the entire time. Selina Kyle AKA Catwoman, whom Batman is now almost completely romantically involved with, asks him what his plans are when everyone starts coming after Batman’s wallet. Bruce answers Selina with a simple “you’ll see” and a smile, leading the readers and myself to believe that it’s part of Bruce’s overall plan.
I try not to jump to conclusions too fast, but I admit that I did that with Morrison’s new expansion on the Batman mythos. I’m not going to make a full decision until I finish it, but for now, I’ll say that I’m willing to give it a shot.
I wonder if Bruce needs a Michigan Batman? I don’t mind wearing a dark blue, like many of his incarnations did, but I think a large “M” on the chest would be a little obvious. I know Detroit could definitely use one, though.

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