Review: Batman Incorporated #8 by Grant Morrison, Chris Brunham, and Jason Masters
by RJ Schwabe on February 27, 2013

Batman Incorporated #8: The Boy Wonder Returns

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Chris Burnham and Jason Masters
Release Date: 02/27/2013
Cover Price: $2.99
Review: Digital Copy (From Comixology)

Well, here it is. The big, already-spoiled, big issue from Grant Morrison, as he begins to pack up his run on Batman, giving us the final fate of the character he created, Damian Wayne.

For those who have not been reading Batman Incorporated: Talia al Ghul, mother of Damien, is the leader of a group called Leviathan, a global terrorist group, which she founded after Damian chose to remain with Batman. An agent of Leviathan, known as The Heretic, has been revealed to be a bio-engineered clone of Damien Wayne that has been made into an adult.

In recent months (and issues), Talia and Leviathan has placed a billion dollar bounty on the head of Robin (Damian Wayne), infiltrated Gotham City with its mind controlled sleeper agents, attacked (and killed) members of Batman Incorporated, and captured Batman. When the issue begins, Wayne Tower has been captured by Leviathan, Batman is trapped in a safe, and the members of the Batman family are helping the GCPD fight an army of mind-controlled children. Damian, who was given orders to stay in the Batcave, puts on his Robin Armor and flies to Gotham City

Synopsis

  • Damian heads for Gotham City/Wayne Tower, assisting Nightwing by subduing the Leviathan mind-controlled children, allowing Nightwing to follow Damian to the tower.
  • Batman is working to free himself from the safe trapped in a pool underwater.
  • Red Robin enters Wayne Tower and is attacked by the mind-controlled Leviathan agents. Eventually he is joined by both Robin and Nightwing.
  • Nightwing and Robin fight The Heretic, but the Heretic quickly overpowers Nightwing, leaving Damian to fight his clone-twin by himself.
  • Damian is able to hold his own against The Heretic, thinking that the plan is to bring him to his mother. But it is revealed (to Batman) that Talia views Damian as a failed experiment.
  • The Leviathan agents weaken Robin with gunshot and crossbow bolt wounds, allowing The Heretic to run Damian through with a flaming sword.
  • Batman frees himself from the underwater trap, and fights his way into the building to cradle his (seemingly) dead son in his arms.

Analysis

I started thinking about this review before I read the comic. I was planning on a small tirade against hyped and spoiled comic books, and my general dislike for the creative power given to Grant Morrison, who I feel is over-hyped by the comic book community at large. I haven’t really enjoyed the current run of Batman Incorporated, and I really haven’t cared for Damian Wayne, regardless of who was writing him. So, with an overhyped death issue in my virtual shopping cart, I had the review mapped out in my head without a digital page turned.

My planned review has been completely scrapped, as this is an excellent comic book. The book is an excellent climax to the Batman Incorporated story arc, and gives Damian a death scene that may be one of the best hero deaths I’ve read.

The only real flaw is that I really hate when writers make a doomed character more interesting than he or she was previously. The Damian Wayne in this comic book bears little resemblance to the character I have read over the last few years, even when he was written by Grant Morrison. (I’ve not read all of his Batman and Robin run, to be fair). To give Damian his final send-off while partnering with Dick Grayson is a very nice moment. And in fact one of Damian’s best moments ever is by Nightwing’s side.

The other thing that really works is the pleading of Damian. He calls out to his mother, not to stop fighting him for mercy’s sake, but rather because he thinks he understands his mother enough to reach her. He expects her to relent, but he does not drop his guard to do so.

I have a decent idea as to where this is leading in the other Batman titles. Does this bring things back together after splitting them apart with Death of the Family? Or will the final wounds be ripped apart of the Batman family?

If you have invested some time in the character of Damian Wayne, then you owe it to yourself as a comic book fan to read this comic book. It is very well done.

Verdict

An excellent send-off for Damian. Grant Morrison made me feel sorrowful for a character who I don’t really care for. The best death scene I remember since Superboy’s death in the pages of Infinite Crisis (apparently partnering with Nightwing is a harbinger to death). I really enjoyed it, and in fact it has made me feel more fondly about the entire Batman Incorporated (vol 2) run.

Overall Grade: 10.0

In reality, it is a 9.5. For me, a true 10.0 comic book is one where I someone who doesn’t follow the series will enjoy it, and I think this relies too much on you having to have read most of the Grant Morrison Batman run. However, the following image made me kick it up to a 10.0 for purely mark-out, pandering reasons.

In the midst of an episode like this, and you harken back to the 1960’s Batman television show? GENIUS!

 



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RJ Schwabe

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