The first 8 issues of Batman Incorporated were simply awesome, but then last month’s issue was disappointing. It was an aftermath issue for Damien Wayne’s death in BI 8; every other Batman book that month had already dealt with it. This issue is a huge improvement, but it’s still not quite as good as the best of Grant Morrison’s epic.
Ignoring last month’s entry, this is the slow issue of the series; the calm before the storm. A fair amount happens in this issue, but it almost feels as though we’ve seen some of it before. Batman spends the bulk of the issue making preparations to not necessarily outsmart Leviathan, but to overpower them. There are good moments but besides the last page reveal, nothing in this issue feels all that special.
There are almost too many subplots going on for this comic’s own good too. Nightwing is searching for information alongside Batman’s other allies, determined to help an increasingly reclusive Bruce Wayne. There’s a side-story about Jason Todd. Talia Al Ghul talks with her father about how her plans are going, while he teases that she’s missed something. Commissioner Gordon makes an appearance just to re-affirm what we learned in the last issue. All these scenes work in their own way, but they’d work better if there were fewer plotlines and more time spent on each.
The art is nearly flawless. Everyone’s facial expressions help capture their character, from Talia’s smug pride to Bruce’s weary anger. It’s also nice to see that Bruce still has bruises on his face when injuries usually disappear in the next issue in the world of comics. Environmental details not only establish each scene, but they add to the storytelling.
If you’ve been enjoying Batman Incorporated so far, this is worth picking up. While it’s not as good as issues 1-8, it’s clearly building up to the title’s climax. Some of the plot reveals are exciting, even if they’re not all that unexpected.