Batman Incorporated continues to grow but so does Leviathan and his network of agents. Man-of-Bats and his son, [Little] Red Raven, have been targeted along with their community. Things get spicy.
Batman Incorporated #7
Coming off such a great issue with #6 Morrison brings us back to what the Batman Incorporated title has always been about; the Batman of other nations. This time we get Native America Man-of-Bats and his son Red Raven – both of whom have already made their Morrison-run appearance back in the Black Glove story [our review] and again in R.I.P. [our review], both characters who have been a part of the Bat-mythos since the mid-50′s while being a part of the Batmen of all Nations.
I have to confess, I wasn’t excited for the issue. Loving issue #6 as much as I did I was anxious to see Bruce spearheading the ship back at home again. I’ve also never been a big Man-of-Bats fan. But dang it, this issue rocked. Maybe it was seeing Man-of-Bats in his own element, that he finally got a whole issue to do his thing, or just that Chris Burnham draws the crap out of him; whatever it was, I couldn’t get enough of it. It probably helps that Man-of-Bats (a.k.a. Bill) is the closest to an actual Batman we’ve seen so far in Batman Incorporated. His nonsense attitude, over the top obsession, always suspicious (and right) hunches, makeshift Batcave…he practically IS Batman. Well, more of an “Eagle-man.” And what is Batman without Robin? Without Dick Grayson? Insert Red Raven who’s essentially a mirror image to the real thing. The actual plot to this issue isn’t necessarily new – Alpha hero being on to something, angering the almost-grown-up sidekick in the process, who quits, returns, saves the day, grows up a little – but Morrison’s storytelling, the Native America/Mid-West backdrop, along with Burnham’s beautiful art gave the familiar story new breath. The struggle between hero and sidekick here was so familiar that it even reminded me of a specific Batman: The Animated Series episode, Old Wounds. This strengthened the issue for me; giving unfamiliar Batman characters such familiar characteristics. There was no Batsignal, no Gotham skyline, or rooftop meetings but this had all the spirit of a good Batman story.
And whether it’s intentional or not, it’s nice of Morrison to give us two issues in a row that are digestible and don’t require a Ph. D. in Batman history.
Wonder how long that will last.
Knock on wood.
I’ve mentioned it already, but it bears repeating…Chris Burnham is good. Really good. If I had to pick my favorite artist of the year right now he’d be it. He’s justifiably compared to Frank Quietly but it’s clear in his work here that he has a style all his own. His ability to sway (yes…sway) effortlessly between cartoony and comic-realistic is a lot of fun to watch. And although a grounded Native American backdrop doesn’t sound like the setting that would best suit his style (imagine Burnham on Green Lantern or Adam Strange) he rocked this issue. Easily my favorite work of his on this series so far. On the same note Nathan Fairbairn on colors is a natural fit to Burnham’s pencils and made a lot of bold, yet rewarding choices throughout the issue.
Since giving our lowest Morrison-written-Batman rated issue with #5 Batman Incorporated has been solid. This issue is a great example of Morrison’s ability to make an iffy idea actually work. And for all the hype Batwing is getting an ongoing of Chris Burnham on Man-of-Bats would make the top of my stack preeeety quick.
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|Familiar story, great characterization, awesome art. The makeshift Batcave was also full of Easter eggs.||Story was pretty safe, not much added to Bruce’s story.|