Note: Due to the shooting that occurred last month during the midnight showings of “The Dark Knight Rises,” this issue was delayed by DC Comics until this week, rather than last month, in America. While many shops overseas still recieved the issue, and even some shops in America sold issues to customers, it wasn’t until this Wednesday that the issue had been widely released. That said, further issues of this title will be one month behind schedule (issue #4, slated to ship this month, will instead ship in October after the #0 issue and #5, slated for October will hit shelves in November).
Last issue, we took a look at the past of Talia al Ghul and her relationship with Bruce Wayne, revealing a bit more about her goals in the Leviathan organization. Now we’re back to focusing on Bruce and his family, and it’s the DC New 52 debut of Matches Malone as we take a trip into the Gotham City underworld that’s been falling into the clutches of Leviathan.
Read on for my review!
Grant Morrison’s work in these opening issues of Batman Inc. Volume 2 have more or less been a setup, building up to the oncoming conflict between Batman’s forces and those of Leviathan, and that’s definitely still visible here. There’s emphasis on the corruption made by Talia al Ghul’s organization to take over Gotham City itself from the inside, and thus much of the issue we have focuses on Bruce going undercover to investigate these happenings. We get a tale of Matches Malone, Bruce’s street savvy alter ego, complete with mobsters and femme fatales that make the issue read like a crime noir story more than anything else, and it really works.
We’ve known for years now how well Morrison is able to write the main cast of this series, but it’s in issues like these that he shows his ability to utilize tons of smaller tertiary characters. Each character on the pages, no matter how important or unimportant seeming, are given personalities that stand out as individual, and knowing Morrison and his knack for detail, each of these characters is sure to be, in some way or another, an important piece in the puzzle being assembled here.
One of my favorite aspects of this series in these three issues has definitely been the fact that Morrison has been making many little references, back to any and every part of his run on Batman, spanning all the way back to “Batman & Son” to his more recent material on Batman and Robin. It’s an important nuance in letting readers know that everything that came before is still relevant, regardless of the New 52 reboot. This issue isn’t short on this at all with references to Dick Grayson’s wearing a cape, Professor Pyg, and even the Ninja Man-Bats.
By the end of the issue, we’ve had 20 pages of pure detective work on Bruce’s part (which is often absent from Batman comics), as well as an ending that puts both Bruce and Damian in rather interesting positions. If anything this makes it seem like Morrison’s work is centered on having Damian himself evolve into a powerful and independent character, not just a sidekick and secondary character at Batman’s side in his comics. It’s an important evolution that every Robin has undergone throughout their own publication, so it’s good to know Morrison plans to nurture Damian while he’s stuck in the middle of this domestic war between mother and father for the life of their own son.
GO Rating: 4.5/5