Wednesday, April 24, 2013

SPOILERS: Batman, Incorporated #10

With the death of their son, both Bruce and Talia have left Gotham to meet with some particularly interesting people. Bruce manages to find where Michael Lane, Azreal has been hiding, as the Suit of Sorrows will come in handy for his upcoming war on the devil he's waging. Meanwhile, Talia meets with her father Ra's, who despite being locked away, seems to be impressed with the lengths her daughter has gone to. But, with an ominous laugh, he points out to his daughter that she may have overlooked a very important detail with her former beloved, the Detective. Frustrated, Talia leaves with no answer from her father.

Back in Gotham, the full "no more Batman" effort has gone into effect, with Gordon watching the Bat-Signal be destroyed, while Lucius Fox tries to give statements to the press, informing them that Bruce will give a statement eventually. Later, Fox meets with Bruce, as they go through many of the decommissioned Robats. The crystal Bruce got in vol. 1 is still being worked on, but Bruce's attention gets drawn to an experimental exoskeleton that was never put into operation.

Talia also returns to Gotham, where she punishes the men who aided in killer her son. Their punishment? The Heretic gets let loose on them. Talia then calls Mayor Hady to give yet another demand, Batman is to be brought to her by 11pm that night. It is soon revealed that Leviathan has also crippled the city's fuel, by contaminating it, leaving it useless, and essentially keeping Gotham under even more of her control.

Elsewhere, Nightwing and Red Robin interrogate a Leviathan thug to find out about the 11pm plan, while Knight (Squire) and Dark Ranger track down Jason Todd, to find him surrounded by the Hood, the headmaster of that school (Kathy Kane) and all her assassin agents. They fight a bit, but Jason eventually confirms that they're both on the same side, after Hood had pointed it out just prior.

Elsewhere in Gotham, police bust down the door to Kirk and Francine Langstrom's apartment, to find the bewildered Kirk unaware as to what's going on, or the fact that Batman was in his apartment, swiping the formula.

Back to Talia, the Heretic demands to know when he'll inherit Gotham, and why can't he do what he would like (mind you, Morrison has stated that the Heretic is basically a three year old). He tries to raise a hand to his "mother," but Talia played the old spine trick again, and electrocutes him via an implant she placed in him, and corrects him to call her "Lady Talia" not "Mother."

With her monster back in control, Talia takes him to wait on the roof of Wayne Enterprises, as 11pm draws near. Just prior, Bruce sat alone in the cave, wearing the suit of sorrows, in a familiar pose, reciting a few familiar lines about becoming a bat, then injects himself with a vial.

As the clock strikes 11pm, Talia's men sees something flying towards them in the distance. Talia looks for herself and puts the binoculars down in disbelief, saying "No... he wouldn't." But he would! Bruce, armed with the Suit of Sorrows and exoskeleton, and injected with Man-Bat serum, flies directly towards them, with not the sunniest of dispositions.


The Good: 

The layers! As always, there's just so much going on, but it's all tied together in an ingenious manner. This issue has all these great little individual scenes that all help paint the larger picture of the end game. Be it Michael Lane's reintroduction, Ra's laughing at Talia, or the Heretic being a little brat, everything was just fun to read. This is an issue where on the surface, things seem calm, but underneath, there's just so much tension, and you know something is just about to blow... next issue. It's just been a great ride watching all these plot threads begin to weave together.

The Bad:

Two quick things. I'm getting really impatient. Reading this issue, while enjoyable, in the back of my mind I was just thinking "c'mon, c'mon, c'mon, let's goooooo!" I'm just waiting for the fists to start flying. It's been two issues since Damian died, I want some payback! But, we're gonna have to wait. I also just wish a little bit more was done with Michael Lane... love that crazy dude, and I hope there's more to his showing up other than "yeah, borrow my suit."

Then there's the art. Now, last month I said that Jason Masters' art would fit in better if he just made it a bit more scratchy. I don't know if he actively attempted to do that this month, but it seemed like he may have, and I'll chose to believe he did, because I thought it meshed better this issue with Burnham's art... but then there was another fill in artist, and bleeeeh. Real bad. Nightwing looks like a neanderthal. His head, it's just not shaped right. At this point, I'd gladly accept a delay, the book is about to end, and I don't want there to be any glaring art switches like those two pages. I'd also like to point out that Aaron Kuder didn't seem to draw anything for this month, and he has a really similar style to Burnham, soooooo, It's pretty clear what I'm getting at. I don't know what that deal is, but if he was available... MAN, what are you doing, DC?

The Bottom Line:

It shouldn't come as a surprise that this issue continues to bring all those layers, all those threads, and all those plot lines that have been cooking away for months, even years, together. That's what I love, and have always loved about this book. The build up is great, but man do I want someone to just knock someone else the hell out already. It's this weird mix of me appreciating the methodical pace, but at the same time just wanting the shit the to hit the fan in the worst way possible. So that, and nagging art inconsistencies are what kept this issue down a bit.


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