The Psychotic Perspective: Batman Inc. #4
I've enjoyed Batman Inc., but the series has often begged the question, “Where is this all going?” It purports to be a team book, but in the past two issues, we have seen nearly a complete absence of anybody but Batman (issue #3) and a helter-skelter issue containing lots of character but no real point. (issue #0). Does Morrison finally strike the right balance between Batman and company, or are readers left to scratch their heads once more?
In this issue, several operatives of Batman Inc. lead an attack on Talia’s League of Assassins.
Ho. Lee. Crap!
If you would like to see an army of Batmen take on the best in the League of Assassins, buy this issue because that is exactly what you get, and it is extremely satisfying. Whereas I was very confused as to why Morrison seemingly forgot that Batman Inc. is a team book in issue three, I now see he was holding back the tide so that the arrival of Batman’s backup would be even more powerful. The action in this issue was superb though I do admit to being briefly confused in a panel or two, but after a short reread, I figured out the flow of the movements. In the midst of the action, Morrison does give time to set up more character subplots such as the disagreements between Gaucho and Hood (I’m hoping this will not be revealed as sexual tension) which is good because as I have before mentioned, the series needs to have good character interactions if it is to continue as an ongoing comic. In short, this issue is an excellent thrill ride, and I could hardly ask for more from an action centered issue.
Things Missed or Things to Come?
There were many things which confused me in this issue, and I am not sure if they are plot lines which will be resolved in the future or plot lines which have already been explained in issues I have missed. Here are a few things that strike me as surprising.
1. Why is Talia wearing the weird skull mask? She has no secret identity in as far as I am aware. I thought she was an open villain. Has she been seen in the current timeline without the mask? Could Talia be someone else or somehow scarred? If anybody knows, please leave a comment letting me know. It seems out of character for her.
2. Who is the individual standing with Talia at the beginning of the issue? Is he a literal son or a figurative son? I would assume he is a figurative son since Talia does not seem particularly old to me, and the man is clearly at least in his upper teens.
3. Clearly, Jason Todd was acting as a spy under the name Wingman, but I do not recall seeing him in earlier issues. What role did he play in Leviathan. Regardless, it is nice to see Bruce acknowledge his wayward son. I have to say, it was a complete surprise to me.
4. At the end of the issue, we are supposedly left to believe that Bruce will turn Damian back over to Talia and give up on this war with Leviathan, but who is going to believe that? Ignoring all the many other reasons Batman will not do that, Bruce is just too stubborn. It seems obvious that Bruce is going to wait until Talia takes Damian and then follow a tracer to her hideout, but I have been wrong in some of my previous predictions, so who knows?
5. The last panels leaves readers with the numbers 666, a picture of Gotham burning, and a strange looking Batman. For those of you who do not know, this is obviously meant to refer to Batman #700 where a possible future Damian was shown who had inherited the mantle of Batman. He wore the same high collared costume as seen in this issue’s last panel. My first impression is that the issue was simply implying that Damian was going to be on the path of evil because he would be returned to Talia, but I have come up with a second theory. Perhaps the mysterious character at the beginning of this issue is Damian from this alternate future. This would explain Talia’s exchange with him at the beginning of the issue and partially explain why she might we willing to kill the young Damian. After all, one in the hand…
If you are at all interested in this series, then this issue is worth the purchase. Even if you do not care about Batman Inc., this would still be worth it for anybody who wants a good action fix. I look forward to next month.