Batman Incorporated #3
Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Yanick Paquette
After two issues in Japan, Batman heads to Buenos Aires to team up with fellow Club of Heroes member, El Gaucho! The book actually opens up with a confusing few pages featuring characters I can’t even feign knowledge of, but presume to be English superheroes based on their manners of speech…and one characters constantly referencing things I know to be British. It’s a very Morrison opening, giving us a taste of things to come without the context to leave us curious.
Not unlike the first arc in Japan, where Batman came in and helped Mr. Unknown wrap up one of his biggest cases before bringing him under the mantle of the Bat, this arc picks up with Batman and El Gaucho fighting against El Gaucho’s rogues gallery. We get dropped right into the middle of a story with no real background or explanation, but honestly, I feel that’s going to be one of the hooks to the title. These characters are established, even if they’re new to the readers, it would be foolish to think that there are adventures we haven’t seen. So Batman teaming up with his Argentinean counterpart to save kidnapped children is something we really can just accept without wondering why he’d be there.
One of my few complaints is a minor one, when we move on to see El Gaucho in his civilian life, all of the narration is in Spanish. I don’t read Spanish, nor do I understand the vast majority of what’s being said. I get that it puts over the fact that he’s a hero in a country that uses Spanish as a first language, and that it helps keep the tone of the area, as well as the international theme of the book, but I just have a pet peeve about not being able to actually understand parts of a book when I buy it because of a language barrier. Pretty much all I gather is that El Gaucho’s secret identity is as rich as Bruce Wayne, and it’s no surprise that the two would be seen together. The interaction between the two, as hostile as it gets, is confusing until we’re treated to the most interesting of twists….that El Gaucho believes Batman to be masquerading as Bruce Wayne….and doing a poor job at it.
That seriously made the issue for me.
The two masked heroes dig deeper and seem to discover just what they’re looking for as the issue swings to a close much in the same way the first did. The second to last page is split up with questions pertaining to the events of next issue, as it (along with the last page) sets us up for next month. The situation is built up quickly and nicely, and Morrison does a great job laying the perceived outcomes in front of us, as well as making the threat credible even as just a last page reveal.
I’d be hard pressed to come up with an artist that would be better for this book than Yanick Paquette, whose style is amazing on the title. It’s not the dark and moody style that we’ve grown accustomed to seeing in the Bat over the years, and not even a grim and gritty style like you’d see on Daredevil, it feels….it doesn’t feel like a super hero title, but it feels right. The actions are clear, the characters detailed, and visually the book feels brighter than what I’ve grown used to on Batman. Considering that this book is the most ‘optimistic’ of the core Bat titles, that works.
Morrison has a habit of reinventing the wheel when he goes on to a book, tweaking the concept around until he’s put his own stamp on the book that is very uniquely his. With Batman he’s done that now across three different volumes over the past four and a half years, and the way he’s approaching Batman Incorporated is just proof that he’s nowhere near the end of his list of ideas. Two issue story arcs go a long way, and as a happy side effect of the book he’s actually building up the DC Universe by showing us that there is more to the DCU than America and Space. It’s a brilliant take on Batman, and if I have any complaints to make it would just be that I want to see this book come out more often.
Tags: Batman, Batman Inc, Grant Morrison, Reviews, Yanick Paquette