Posts Tagged ‘Batman Incorporated 8’

By Alex Headley

SPOILERS ARE ON FOR THE REVIEW OF BATMAN INC. #8

This exchange is great, it’s the highlight of my comics week for sure. Property of DC Comics.

Batman Incorporated #8

Well, this is it, the end of Damian Wayne, at least for now. Grant Morrison prepares to wrap up his years long epic run on Batman and the end of his arc begins with the end of his brightest star, Damian Wayne. Morrison introduced us to Batman’s bratty, psychotic killer of a son way back in Batman #655 before the New 52 hit. Damian was not well received at first, either amongst fans or in the book itself. Raised by the League of Assassins and dropped off for Batman to deal with as a distraction, Damian quickly took to making the Bat-Family’s life a living hell. There’s not denying that he was a little brat but over the next few years Morrison and Peter Tomasi would make everyone love the little guy. We first got a glimpse of his potential after Bruce died in Final Crisis (also written by Morrison) and Dick Grayson took over as Batman, making Damian his Robin. That first volume of Batman & Robin, by Morrison and Frank Quitely, was fantastic and quickly established Damian as one of the best characters in the DCU. The new dynamic duo slowly bonded over fighting crime and Damian grew a conscience and a heart , eventually winning over the family while still being a bit of a thorn in their side. Volume two of Batman and Robin by Tomasi and Patrick Gleason have made the character even better, building him up over the last 17 issues into a well rounded and well loved character. I dare say that Tomasi wrote him better than Morrison but it’s ol’ Grant that gets the last word, killing the character on the last page of Batman Inc. #8 as he fights to save his father and the rest of Gotham from his rampaging mother.

This issue is great, but that’s not surprising at all because the whole series has been consistently excellent. And though, the New York Post’s interview with Morrison spoiled what would have otherwise been quite a shocking ending, it’s still heartbreaking to see Damian go out fighting against his mother’s twisted vision for what he should have been. His last words are especially rough because we finally see his bravado crack. Damian has had emotional moments before, especially with his father and Alfred over in Batman & Robin but in battle he is usually quite literally a cocky son of a bitch (Talia is downright ruthless these days). But as death approaches, he cracks, and so does the reader. Up until that last page or two, you really think that he can pull it off (if it weren’t for the spoiler at least) as he takes on wave after wave of bad guys and gets the upper hand against his evil twin early in the fight. But he goes down under a hail of arrows and a sword to the chest. Batman escapes his death trap just in time to see his son dead at the hands of Talia’s monstrous clone and breaks down. I’m not sure where Morrison is taking the story next, but there will surely be hell to pay in the coming months.

But enough about the death, the early bits of this issue are where the real quality lies. Robin gloriously charges into battle, proving every bit the warrior and vigilante his father is before teaming up with Grayson one last time in a sequence that is both hilarious and appropriate for what comes next. It’s a great playback to the first volume of Batman and Robin and it made me want to open up those back issue instantly. The classic dynamic duo double punch even makes a return, although its far less effective than it was before. We also get a great opening scene with Red Robin that makes me like the character again for the first time in years. Jason Masters handles the art for these pages and though I’m unfamilar with him as an artist, I have to say I really enjoyed his style. Chris Burnham takes over the rest of the issue and is fantastic as usual. His unusual layout approach is great for the Damian vs. Damian fight and I love the smoke cloud sound effects earlier in the big battle. But it’s no surprise at this point that Burnham does a great job.

Morrison always has a big game plan for his stories, so we’ll see if Damian’s death sticks or if his Al’ Ghul bloodline gets him out of it somehow. Regardless, we are in for a few months of the Batman Family experiencing their biggest loss since Jason Todd died at the hands of the Joker. Of course this time, it’s not an adoptive son for Bruce. It’s his own flesh and blood. The first glimpse of this will be Batman and Robin 18, an all silent issue as Bruce begins the grieving process.

The cover to Guardians of the Galaxy #1. Property of Marvel Comics.

Guardians of the Galaxy #0.1

Brian Bendis kicks off his run on the cosmic side of the Marvel Universe with a look at the origin of Peter Quill, aka Starlord. This is an interesting tale that puts a much more human, earth-centric spin on the character than we saw in the last volume of GoG and despite my misgivings about Bendis handling my favorite Marvel franchise, I enjoyed it. Much like Nova last week, I was pleasantly surprised by this issue, despite the lack of Rocket Racoon and Groot. Peter has an origin that is both very in line with Marvel Comics and a few classic sci-fi tropes. This story focuses mostly on Quill’s mother and her love affair with Spartoi spaceman, J’son. We get a fun little romance montage that artist Steve McNiven really knocks out of the park. It’s completely silent (a rarity in Bendis comics) and works very well. We also see early evidence of Peter’s heroic nature as he defends kids on the playground from bullies. Iron Man makes an appearance at the end and it looks like he will be full fledged member of the team, something I’m not crazy about but at least his new armor is cool and it’s interesting to see the character branching out a bit. I don’t have too much more to say about this issue, as it is a fairly standard setup story for bigger things to come but one thing I didn’t like is the new costumes for the team, specifically on Gamora and Starlord. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad Gamora finally has the sense to wear armor into combat but it lacks any personality. It’s the exact same thing that Peter is wearing and it’s just not memorable at all. It’s generic and feels like a bad sci-fi movie prop. I miss Starlord’s helmet and Gamora’s skull motif. Maybe the costumes will improve a bit down the road (Gamora is in her classic get-up in Nova) but for the moment I’m less than enthused. Drax, Groot and Rocket look fine, if still a bit lacking in classic comic style. The last couple of pages are a bit exposition heavy for my tastes as well but it serves its purpose well enough. Overall, I liked the book and I will definitely be back for more when the next issue hits.