Wednesday, July 10, 2013

What Lurks in the Longbox? #40 - Batman Incorporated #12

Batman Incorporated #12
DC Comics
$2.99, Color, 32 pgs.
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Chris Burnham

In terms of "The New 52," Batman Incorporated has been (thankfully) one of the exceptions to the continuity reset button that has befallen most of the DC Universe.  Unlike other series like Action Comics and Justice League, this book has retained most of the continuity of Grant Morrison's past storylines, which go all the way back to the beginning of his Batman run in 2006.  There have been many memorable stories since that first issue was released almost seven years ago, including "Batman: R.I.P.," and "The Resurrection of Ra's Al Ghul."  After all these years, it's hard to believe Morrison is finally at the finish line, and it's been quite a ride.  During a recent interview on the Comic Book Resources website, Grant Morrison described his final story arc as "The Vengeance of Batman," and this issue makes good on that promise. 

Over the course of this series, Batman has been pushed beyond the breaking point.  His friends and allies have been injured or killed; Gotham City has been virtually held hostage and forced to turn against its protector; and the global enterprise that Batman put so much time, effort and money into has been brought to its knees.

And now the woman responsible for it all has brutally murdered his son Damian. 

In this issue The Dark Knight lives up to his namesake.  It's not so much about justice right now as it is about getting payback, and Batman is not the only cast member that wants revenge.  It starts with a brutal last stand against "The Heretic," a battle made even more horrific when Batman sees the face under the mask (nope, I'm not going to spoil it).  After yet another shocking moment, Morrison sets the stage for what promises to be next issue's final showdown with Talia Al Ghul, who has certainly moved up into the top five, if the not the #1 spot in Batman's Rogues Gallery.

Batman Incorporated #12

One interesting aspect of this issue is seeing Talia's true nature come out, especially during the scene when she yells out in protest at Batman's refusal to yield.  I found it interesting how Talia, while running an international crime syndicate, overpowering and imprisoning the mighty Ra's Al Ghul, and bringing Gotham City to its knees, is still at heart nothing more than a petulant child that wants her own way, and will stop at nothing to get it.

Batman #658: Talia's intentions were made clear early on in Morrison's epic run.

From the first page to the very last panel, this issue delivers in every possible way, and will leave readers breathless, and anticipating next issue's finale.  Chris Burnham's visceral art, which just keeps getting better with every issue, has been no small contributor to this title's success.  This book is firing on all cylinders, and the only bad news is that there is only one issue left to go.  I completely expect, however, that Morrison's finale will not leave anyone disappointed. 

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