Wednesday, August 28, 2013

SPOILERS: Batman, Incorporated Special #1

NOTE: This is one of those issues that doesn't lend itself all that well to the way I post about single issues, given it's a bunch of short stories, so I'm going to keep that stuff sort of brief, here.

At some point, presumably after the conclusion to Batman, Incorporated #13, Bruce sits alone in the cave and decides to go over the case files of his various agents across the world, first up, Mr. Unknown aka Batman Japan, breaking up an organ trading ring!

As with Batman, Inc #11, Jiro once again teams up with mini love interest Shy Crazy Lolita Canary, after some kids find human organs in a vending machine outside the connivence store he works out. Turns out, Dr. Inside-Out has been stealing organs from business men in a nearby hotel, and ultimately, his plans are thwarted by Jiro and Canary.

Moving on to England, Beryl has been hit hard by the death of Knight, and some of England's superheroes try and help ease the pain, by trying to get her back in the game. At first she isn't sure she wants to continue, but ultimately ends up tracking down one of her and Knight's oldest foes, which leads to her adopting the role of Knight.

Raven Red is next, as he and his father chase an agent of Leviathan through the scafolding of a currently in construction high-rise. This is cut with an event in Raven Red's hometown, where an older member of his tribe is seemingly about to jump off the roof of a casino, but instead, tells Raven Red a little about his people, and how they helped built the country.

Next up is a team-up between Gaucho, Nightrunner and Dark Ranger who are met with a villain that uses a sonic frequency to control people's minds. After managing to save students from a school for the deaf, it's determined by Nightrunner and Dark Ranger that Gaucho is cooler than Batman!

The final story sees Bat-Cow end a car chase by stepping in the middle of the road, which causes the car thieves to crash. Turns out the victim's baby was in the back seat, so cart theft wasn't the only crime committed. The kid is fine, but is out of milk... good thing there's a super heroic cow standing by!

Finally, Batman's time spent looking through all the case files comes to an end, and the computer prompts him on whether or not he'd like to archive the files... Batman takes a moment, but ultimately decides not to.


The Good:

Like Batman Inc #11, this issue really offered up something I felt the second volume of Inc was lacking, and that's the weird stories told with all of Batman's Inc allies. I missed guys like Raven Red in this volume, as the issue with his father in the pre-New 52 volume may have been one of my favorites. Not only does this issue scratch an itch left by the previous volume, it is jam packed with great art and writing. Chris Burnham continues the same over the top style of his Batman Japan issue (only he draws it this time), which I'd honestly read an ongoing series of. Nathan Fairbairn steps out of his usual roll of colorist, and writes the story featuring Raven Red, complimented by fantastic J.P. Leon art, which was probably my second favorite story of the bunch. Finally, fucking Bat-Cow drawn by Ethan Van Sciver, how great is that?!

The Bad:

Nitpicking, but in Squire's story, she says Batman Inc is done, but in the series, we saw her adopt the roll of Knight prior to it being done. Not a big deal though.

The Bottom Line:

Remember those original issues of Batman, Incorporated that had Bruce hopping the globe, teaming up with heroes in Japan, Brazil, etc? If you missed that element from the second volume of Inc, like I did, you'll no doubt love this. As I said, this issue scratches that weird, goofy, globe trotting itch that was largely absent due to the personal Bruce/Damian/Talia story that had to be told in the second volume. While it wasn't as grand as Morrison's goodbye to the series, it was very supplemental to that, offering a different sort of goodbye... but is it really a "goodbye?" I certainly hope not.


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