The Final Phase
With the release of Batman Incorporated #4, we the fans find ourselves reading the homestretch of Grant Morrison's Batman epic, assuming no more shoehorned zero issues, flashback interlude stories, or month-long delays.
This installment finds Batman Incorporated fighting tooth and nail against the League of Assassins in the aftermath of the trap which Leviathan set for "Matches Malone". For the first time, much of Batman Incorporated's roster is fighting side-by-side, and the result is quite a spectacle to behold. Chris Burnham combines all of the best elements of cinematic storyboard technique to his staging and panel layouts, and outside of a few bizarre inconsistencies involving line texture, Burnham's art has never been more pristine. With the wide cadre of villains appearing (including the return of everyone's favorite Wolverine-haired archer), Burnham is truly able to cut loose and depict some very creative costumes. Burnham also continues to have lots of fun with panel construction, particularly a panel involving Freight Train punching an unlucky assassin through a panel's walls into the page gutter.
Many important developments are revealed in this issue, including the exposure of the new Wingman's identity, and more hints regarding Damian's future. This issue may be the most action-packed of both volumes of Batman Incorporated, and longtime fans will welcome the return of the offbeat team dynamic which characterized the pre-New 52 run of the series.
We're closer than we realize to the end of Grant Morrison's Batman saga, and it's only getting better. My sole complaint is that the whole extravaganza is almost over.