uzisnoopy's Batman, Incorporated #6 - Garland of Skulls review

Leviathan Rises

Batman Incorporated #6 continues the high-octane action which this volume of the series has made itself known for. However, this issue is far more talky than its predecessors, with Talia manipulating Bruce into running a gauntlet while pulling back the proverbial curtain hiding her true master plan. The expository parts of Talia's dialogue remind us how high stakes the stakes of this series really are, even if its not the focal point of the Bat-titles any longer. This isn't simply a particularly violent custody battle with Gotham as its stage; it's a war in every sense of the word with fate of the world hanging in the balance. Morrison lends an almost desperate tone to Bruce's voice, all the while orchestrating the issue's pace to make the book go by in a flash. One of the flaws in the plot itself is one extremely confusing location change near the middle of the story, to the point where I wondered whether a page was printed out of order. Despite the generally morbid tone of this installment, Morrison does humor the audience with a brief bit of comedy relief when Damian meets a new pet.

Additionally, Batman Incorporated #6 is not as visually strong as previous issues, with Chris Burnham's art looking slightly rushed and less detailed than usual, to the point which Andres Guinaldo and a group of guest artists had to be brought in to complete four of the book's pages. Guinaldo's and the bit pencillers' art don't jive as well as they could with Burnham's style; Guinaldo's facial construction of Bruce differs noticeably from Burnham's, and the former's line work is much more definite. Also, the bit artists completely botch one panel set in the Batcave, with Tim, Dick, and Jason appearing to be identical triplets and Damian's face being almost unrecognizable. However, colorist Nathan Fairbairn admirably makes the book's palette as consistent as possible, keeping a greenish-grey motif throughout the issue, adding to its bleak mood. Burnham nails the visceral action sequences of the book's more violent scenes, making the brutality of the knock-down, drag-out brawl between Batman Inc. and the Heretic all the more engrossing.

We're finally starting to witness some of the casualties which Bruce predicted back in issue 6 of the first volume of the series, and for longtime fans, it's a shocking sight. The characteristic tension of the series only increases as Leviathan's endgame comes into view. One can only assume that Morrison is setting the series up for one of his trademark cathartic payoffs.

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