Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Batman Incorporated #8

Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Scott Clark & Dave Beaty
Company: DC Comics

Word around the internet is that this issue of Batman Inc. is in fact the weakest, and for a finale, it doesn't do the book much justice.  On both of these counts, I am going to have to disagree.  Batman and Oracle running around in a digital world called Internet 3.0, fighting evil zombie-like malware icons while trying to save a group of financial backers from being turned into brainless lumps of life.  What's not to like here, folks?  Truthfully, Morrison really is a fantastic idea man.  Fun boils up in the strangest places, and excitement and enthusiasm are things that are always so prevalent in his work.  It's true that sometimes his execution is a little off though, and while I do think there are a few rocky moments with this issue, the
good far outweighs the bad.

But what's so darn good about it?  From page one, Morrison straps the reader in to the ride, gives us a great rundown of what is happening and what Bruce Wayne is trying to do.  Page two is the launch pad.  Action literally blasts through the virtual windows and then we're down the rabbit hole and into a whole other world.  In that world we are witnesses to some pretty cool stuff.  Seeing Barbara Gordon, or Batgirl, launching herself on a hovercycle through the air is one of the neatest instances that we've seen, and one that I've been looking forward to ever since Morrison brought up the notion of Internet 3.0 in Batman The Return.  It's simply too cool for school to see this character back in action, kicking ass and taking names.

Morrison also seeds some great ideas with the computer system itself.  Having Wayne run an avatar of himself and Batman is another neat idea, but put into play on the page and it makes all different kinds of sense.  There are also some great homages to other work here too, from stories like the Batman tale Digital Justice (which a chapter of this comic is named) to the more obvious things like Tron.  But sure, like I said, there are some rocky moments.  There are some stiff lines and sometimes doesn't fit link to link with the art.  Still, the way that Morrison makes the idea of this instance of corporate espionage fit into his Leviathan storyline is a great tie-in that allows things to come full circle.

The art by Clark and Beatty has been at the forefront of the gripes that I have seen.  Yes, it's true that it has a sheen of computer generated pixelization too it.  There's also a similarity to the work of Jon Van Fleet, who was the man behind the art on Morrison's text piece tale of the Joker, though I will argue that Clark and Beatty's work here far exceeds that.  And while I think the computer look that the art has here is a little bothersome and can make the story look slightly clunky, I think it's needed to really get the point of the world across.  It doesn't detract form the story, it adds another layer to it and gives the reader the veneer of seeing this played out from the perspective of one of the people inside the game.  The action still plays out rather well and both artists are able to convey the small things that are so crucial.

So no, this eighth issue of Batman Incorporated isn't the best of the series.  I'll agree with that.  If I had to choose, that title would go to the previous issue that starred Man of Bats.  That said, first and foremost, a comic book's goal in life should be to provide entertainment for the masses.  This issue does that in spades while also providing some great material for our brains to chomp on, all the while Morrison forwards his continuing story of Leviathan.  I call that a win.

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