Batman Incorporated #8
Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Scott Clark and Dave Beatty
So this is what Oracle has been doing since she ‘died’! Morrison debuts Internet 3.0 in this issue, and for the lack of a better description, it’s high concept awesome. A cross between Playstation Home and something that doesn’t suck, with a little bit of the Matrix thrown in for good measure. For the past several issues Grant has been showing us Batmen across the globe, with the focus primarily being on these other characters like Man of Bats and Bruce being a means of providing context for these stories, but this issue puts Bruce in the sole lead. Well, not the sole lead, but it’s definitely his show.
The premise of the issue is that Bruce has taken a group of high profile could be investors into Internet 3.0 for the simple fact that it’s easier to sell a product to someone who has tried it. Everyone is impressed, but things quickly go wrong as they are attacked by the Worm Captain and his men. Nobody is able to leave due to the nature of just what is happening, deaths or evacuations would transfer their money to the mystery bad guy. However, this is Bruce Wayne, and he definitely planned with the best anti-virus software that Batman Inc. can provide…Digital Batgirl. As everyone is using an avatar, it isn’t a far stretch that Babs would have one as well, or that she would be one of the protectors of this new Internet she created. There’s also a Digital Batman avatar, and a nice touch to the writing is that Bruce is actually struggling to be two avatars at once, which makes him look somewhat flaky throughout the issue.
The story winds up being a bit more cut and dry than it initially appears, however, as it turns into a cat and mouse style chase after an enemy who hides in plain sight. The story isn’t completely original, though the methods in which its told are pretty new to me. I mean, I’ve seen stories where characters go into the internet, hell, Red Robin did it a few months ago, but this doesn’t go into the enviroment and come across like a superhero title inside of it. I dunno, it’s a weird issue, but I enjoyed it.
Scott Clark’s art is an odd computery style of CG that I normally would come down on, but in the context of this issue I find it to be really fitting. Now, this isn’t something I could deal with on a regular basis (kinda like Clayton Crain), but a one or two shot story? Sure, I could do that. Now, this isn’t even bringing into things that I don’t think any of the other artist to lend their talents to this title could have really gotten across the Internet 3.0 experience. The art won’t be for everyone, but it looks techy, kind of Tron like, and it feels like the characters are inside of a computer which really makes it a complete success given the actual story.
One thing Morrison has been doing a great job with on Batman Inc is crafting stories that don’t really seem to connect save for Bruce trying to further his international status quo. Batman of Japan, Batman of France, Batman of Africa, El Gaucho, Man of Bats, hell, this issue is a fully three dimensional, immerseive, virtual reality internet meant to link the world together without travel. But all of it ties back to one thing: Leviathan. Morrison has built up a huge threat without even showing us what it truly is. The ultimate Bat threat? It very well could be, we have no idea.
But this is a weird issue. It’s pretty good, but the art will distract if you’re not into the style, and the tech talk can get more than a little distracting. On top of that, most of the billionaires are just one note comments and obnoxious distractions from the action…though I’d imagine that thrown into the situation most wouldn’t be too different. Then there’s the fact that I have no idea when the next issue is coming out, the Batgirl issue I’ve been looking forward to, as it’s listed as coming out this fall. I hope so.
Tags: Batman Inc, Batman Incorporated, Oracle, Reviews, Scott Clark