I have been really enjoying this series, and it's been a vast improvement over the previous series. I've always felt that Grant Morrison's best Batman have been the ones featuring Damian Wayne, and this series continues that. I've loved seeing how Damian has caused this feud between Batman, and Talia al Ghul, and hope it keeps getting better, and better.
This issue sees Talia's plan to take out Batman Inc. put into effect, and Batman must stop her. Meanwhile the former Robin's and current Robin Damian are at the Batcave listening to Batman and Talia's conversation. Damian also gets a cat in this issue (the one featured in Batman, Incorporated #5), which he names after Alfred.
This was a brilliant issue, and this series just keeps getting better and better. Morrison has done a fantastic job bringing this huge threat to Batman Inc., and it made for a very exciting, entertaining, and interesting story. One of the things I've loved most about this series has been that each issue feels like a stand-alone issue, whilst continuing an ongoing story. You get a lot of stories like this (e.g. Iron Man) , but unlike this series, you don't feel the bigger picture as much, and they just feel like one-shot's that coincidently fit into a story. Another thing I liked about this was that despite it's fast pace, the story was very exciting, and wasn't affected by the pace. I say this because there are a lot of comics that take no time to read, due to being very fast paced, but they're also very mediocre, and not exciting. I've also loved that this series feels like it's own, and doesn't actually feel a part of the New 52. Most New 52 series I would be upset about this, but I can make an exception this time, as Morrison has been writing a continuous Batman story for years now, and it would spoil it to tie-in with current New 52 events (like Death of the Family).
Chris Burnham continues to produce some outstanding artwork on this series, and brings the gritty tone this series needs. As I've said in the past I wasn't a fan of his art when I first saw it in the previous Batman Inc. series, and wasn't to happy when I heard he'd be on this series, but I have been blown away by his excellent work, and he's really changed my mind during this series. As I said, his grittiness is what this series needs, and the way he draws the violence in the action sequences shows this. The detail in his artwork is also phenomenal, and although there are a few inperfections they are hard to notice, especially if you're not looking for them. Although Burnham does most of the art in this issue, Andres Guinaldo also contributes for a few pages. I don't usually like when multiple artists work on one issue, but in this case I didn't mind. Guinaldo's art was also very good in this issue, and a much more realistic approach to drawing Batman, unlike Burnham's unique, gritty style. There was also plenty of detail in Guinalso's art, but does have the odd weird facial expression. Although both artists did fantastic work on this issue, I did however prefer Burnham's. This is mainly due to him being the main artist on this series, as it's what I'm used to seeing, and in my opinion is more suited to this series.
Batman Inc. took a heavy blow in this issue, with most of there members getting severely injured and almost killed. This was a brilliant touch to this issue, as it added a lot of drama and suspense, and made reading the issue feel like watching a film. I also loved that you could really feel the desperation in these sequences, and I especially liked the emotion between Knight and Squire, as they've been together in a similar fashion to Batman and Robin for a long time now. It was also nice to see Batwing involved in this issue, as I loved him in the original series, and have missed reading him since dropping his ongoing series following issue #0. I also loved Batman's reaction to all this, as being the leader and founder of Batman Inc. he feels responsible for them, especially considering they're being attacked due to being members of Batman Inc.
Talia's role in this issue was also very interesting, as despite being the main antagonist throughout the series she's not made many appearances. I always think it's a good idea having a villain that fights out of the shadows, as it put's a lot of suspense into a series, and makes the build up to their physical appearance better. I t was also interesting to see The Heretic make an appearance in this issue, as he's Talia's main henchmen in Leviathan. Whenever I see the Heretic in this series I can't help but think of Talia, and Bane's relationship in The Dark Knight Rises. Although the Heretic doesn't look anything like Bane, apart from having a slightly similar mask, he does remind me of Bane whilst he was in the Pit, as Bane was dressed similar in that scene. I'm also looking forward to seeing Talia's future plan's and how they effect Batman Inc.
This issue also introduces Damian's cat Alfred. During the issues that show the future Damian as Batman, he has a cat named Alfred. Alfred the cat has been present in most, if not all of these future issues, so I was very happy that we get to see him introduced in this series. I also liked that Damian originally didn't want the cat, but once he saw that it had a similar personality to him, he was happy, accepting it. The introduction of the cat does however question how far in the in the future the events featuring Damian as Batman exist. I can't remember if a date was stated in any of these appearances but either way it's still interesting, as they could have been changed due to the New 52. There is also the possibility that Damian continued to own a cat, getting a new one each time one died, and always naming them Alfred. Despite the questions I am still interested in this, and am looking forward to seeing the development of this, or any other hints to Damian future (especially things from the issues showing his future as Batman).
This was a brilliant issue, and one of the best in the series so far. I would highly recommend both this issue, and the entire series (but if you've read the previous series skip issue #0, as it's a retelling of Batman Inc.'s formation, and quality wise, far from the normal standard). I am extremely looking forward to the next issue, and hope that Morrison can keep up this standard for the remaining portion of his run on this series.