broo1232's Batman, Incorporated #5 - Asylum review

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Very very dark

SPOILERS!!!

I picked up this issue on a mere whim I’d heard good things about it and the Batman #666 the issue where this future first appeared also I’d heard good things about the series in general also the story was said to be really dark and gritty my favourite type of story.

Plot

Batman is talking to Damian about how Talia his mother has been planning everything with him becoming Robin and how she wants eventually for him to become Batman and then everything will fall apart. In the future Damian is being attacked by the mad residents of Gotham while he is trying to protect a child he escapes and returns to Arkham Asylum he talks to Barbara Gordon and a doctor sorts out his wounds he then goes and talks to one of the residents of Arkham Asylum about the baby and how she is immune to Joker toxin. In Washington the president is being asked if to nuke Gotham or not.

Review

I like Grant Morrisons writing I really do I haven’t read a lot but I like what I have read. I have heard great things about Batman #666 and the story it told and while I haven’t read it this was apparently a good standalone story and you can get the basic idea for this story without reading issue #666. I love Batman but have never read Batman Incorporated I will do eventually but since I was in heaven (forbidden Planet seriously go there I got like 20 comics from them at pretty low prices) I decided to get it plus that cover is really nice and really makes you want to pick it up it really has an air of mystery to it and the positioning of Batman is perfect.

To introduce this story we get a little bit in the present which really simply has a few lines that eventually lead to Bruce saying that if Damian become Batman the world falls apart this is a necessary part of the issue not the best but necessary to the story and it is needed rather than being totally detached from the running series and feeling like a reason just to return to this future and the lead in does link nicely to the next scene which is the future.

Immediately in the future you are thrown into a big action scene between Damian and the mad residents of Gotham. This whole scene really sets the tone for the issue it is incredibly dark and gritty and Damian is still trying to save Gotham even though it’s not possible he still wants to save one child because she hasn’t been infected by Joker toxin. The action scene is pretty spectacular with him jumping out of windows and flying along on bat gliders it is a great way to start off the issue and I was impressed.

We then get to a scene in Arkham Asylum and we really see how bad things are at the minute the only sane place in Gotham is Arkham Asylum and every day the residents of Gotham attack them and they have to fight them off and everyone goes mad when there could be a cure for the Joker Toxin. Damian then goes and sees one of the residents of Arham and wants to know why the baby is immune to the Joker Toxin and boy is the twist big this book really is full of twists and turns and this one really hits you hard. The early parts of this scene are casual and then he meets the inmate of Arkham Asylum and it gets really dark and grim. This is a great scene for the issue and really does give the impression of how bad it is in Gotham now.

We do get some scene with the president and while these may not seem like much they have major implications for the issue and also the decision does show how bad the situation is in Gotham since the president (Spoiler) is being pressured to give the order to nuke Gotham. If the president is being pressured to nuke a city things must be bad, Grant Morrison is going all out to show how bad the situation in Gotham it really shows that even though Gotham was bad originally it’s even worse now. Also in the scenes in the Whitehouse did anyone notice someone had a very odd smile or was it just me? I loved the inclusion of the character I know he is already involved with the plot but it was even better seeing him torturing the president.

We then return to Gotham and then we get kicked in the gut Grant Morrison went all out on this story with the twists and the turns it’s mad and so is Gotham at the minute. Damian just found a possible cure for the Joker toxin but instead its much worse I knew there had to be something up with the baby but not in this way. We then get a short tribute to the Killing Joke (Spoilers will follow) Barbara Gordon who is now the commissioner in Gotham gets infected by the Joker Toxin and then shoots Batman not only is it a good twist but the pose Damian is in is exactly like the one in the Killing Joke when the Joker shoots Barbara and the irony Barbara was originally shot by the Joker and now she is shooting Batman with Joker Toxin sorry but I thought that was such a great choice by Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham’s choice of positioning was fantastic.

(Spoiler) Just after he is stabbed Barabara opens the gates and lets the mad residents of Gotham in and he has to fight them off this so dark it’s not possible then it all ends with a spectacular bang and hits you right in the gut sorry but this is one of the darkest stories I have ever read. After that we return to the present and we get a little set up for the next issue and unfortunately I don’t have the money but it does leave you with a good little cliffhanger.

The art some people have a problem with the way Chris Burnham draws some faces and I agree some of it looks a little weird especially on the first page with young Damian his face does look a little squished and at one point Barbara Gordon’s face looks weird and a bit flat but I really like the art in this it’s very dark and gritty and very precise and fits the tone of the book very well and his art is very precise. The best example of his art is undoubtedly the cover I said earlier I love the cover and I really do it has an air of mystery to it and I love how Damian is positioned.

Verdict

This was a brilliant issue and I am really happy I picked it up this story is quite good as a standalone story and thanks to parts in the present that link to bits in the future this doesn’t feel like a reason just to return to this future pick it up but it is grim so read it after you’ve read some happier stuff and not straight off.

5 stars

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