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Batman, Incorporated #1 - Leviathan, Part One: Demon Star Review

5

Grant Morrison, Chris Burnham, Batman and his allies return in the long awaited series that begins with a very heavy vibe.

It's time for the return of Grant Morrison on Batman. With the way BATMAN INCORPORATED left off, things weren't looking too good for Damian. How much of that will carry over into the "New 52"?

The Good

A lot of people have been having mixed feelings over the notion of Batman, Inc. It's a strange concept but makes sense in many ways. That's a completely different discussion. When it comes to Grant Morrison, rarely does he write something that wasn't meant to have a big impact later. To prepare for this return of BATMAN INCORPORATED, I re-read all the previous issues over the last few days. As with many of Grant's arcs, you pick up many more bits and pieces versus when they are stretched over months. Tiny seeds have been planted since the beginning and now it's time to see how they all will bloom.

LEVIATHAN STRIKES ended with the revelation of who Leviathan actually was (click on the name if you still don't know). We also saw a half a billion dollar bounty being placed on Damian's head. That can't be a good thing. With the tension between Damian and Bruce in BATMAN AND ROBIN, I've long suspected that something was going to happen. But perhaps all that was for the purpose of the Nobody story arc.

What you need to do is buy this issue and read it right away. Don't flip through the pages. The very first page is a bit of a shocker. In the first few panels, Chris Burnham's art will blow you away. The way the scene is drawn and the expression that can be seen is remarkable.

There is plenty of Batman and Robin action as well. Burnham's art combined with Nathan Fairbairn's colors are so incredible. The action is intense and the amount of detail in the first scene is both fascinating and a little gross. The use of the sound fx's are great and the variety in which they're placed is clever and creative. We don't see enough sound fx in comics these days.

The Bad

Not a lot of bad. I still question the motive of "Leviathan." Of course we have to assume that Grant has it all perfectly laid out. The return of the bickering between Damian and Bruce felt a little out of place since the conclusion of the Nobody story in BATMAN AND ROBIN felt like it finally brought the closer together. For Damian to question why Bruce 'bothered to return from the dead' seemed a little much.

The last page. It's a heckuva cliffhanger.

The Verdict

Prepare yourself for the return of Grant Morrison writing Batman. Re-reading the previous issues gives a new perspective on what Morrison is setting out to do. It's hard to say what exactly he has in mind with the way he's setting up. As you read the first page, you know Grant is preparing to blow your socks off. The action drawn by Chris Burnham with Nathan Fairbairn's colors will make your eyes weep with joy. There's so much gritty and colorful action that I found myself re-reading pages just to take it all in again. We seem to have different vibes for the different Batman books. I was excited for this title's return before reading and now I can't wait for the next issue. Crazy things are happening. The beauty of Batman, INC is the wide range of characters available. Grant has been molding the different minor characters into ones you'll want to continue to see more of. The last page is something you won't believe. Bravo to Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham for giving me a second Batman title I can love each month. There's no playing around here. This comic will blow you away.

62 Comments
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Posted by Batcrow

It was good, but to be honest I wouldn't give it a 5 tbh, the art style didn't captivate me and I wasn't really in love with the whole Leviathan concept and what their aims are. Tony, I'm fine with how you really like Batman and most of the stuff he comes in so you give most of his comics a 5, but I personally look for a review that can tell me whether I should buy the book or not and the fact that you enjoyed it and gave it a 5 isn't really helpful for the average buyer. I'd like if you mentioned your "degree" of enjoyment, 'cause I tend to feel your appreciation for the character actually makes you enjoy his stories and that automatically equates to a 5 on 5 for you. That's fine and all but I honestly want something in a review that can tell me where to spend my money because I just can't buy everything with Batman's name on it.

I don't mean to offend you but I felt it was important to say that as a consumer who looks for critical reviews.

I feel this is one of Batman's weaker stories. But it's still a little better than average. I'd give it a 3, or 3.5 tops.

Posted by Mucklefluga

Ive been waiting forever and ever and evr for this so Tony i hope your right and the dude above is not praising it enough

Posted by scuzz2.0

@Batcrow: are there "critical reviews" of comics? this has been bothering me lately as most reviewers seem to be fanboys with no qualifications whatsoever that would enable them to write a proper review.

Posted by stormtrance1618

So, how does the reboot affect the series? I've been wondering that since Inc. was announced again because this does take place in The New 52 world.

Edited by Batcrow

@scuzz2.0 said:

@Batcrow: are there "critical reviews" of comics? this has been bothering me lately as most reviewers seem to be fanboys with no qualifications whatsoever that would enable them to write a proper review.

Yea, true...Tony is definitely much more qualified so I want something more from him, he has so much more knowledge of Batman and so much to offer, which I'm not getting enough through the reviews.

@Mucklefluga said:

Ive been waiting forever and ever and evr for this so Tony i hope your right and the dude above is not praising it enough

My point was Tony likes most Batman comics. You might be in the same boat, I really think you will like it. It just wasn't my cup of tea. I wasn't ONLY talking about Leviathan, actually, it's that every Batman comic reviewed by Tony recently seems to get 5 stars. And I don't think this was as deserving of 5 stars as, say, the Court of Owls storyline.

If you were waiting so anxiously for it, there was obviously a reason for that excitement. So good for you. My word is not the end of the world. In fact, nobody's is.

Not even Tony's. That is why I want Tony to be more "critical", consider all viewpoints, see things from the eyes of a person who is not necessarily Batman's biggest fan. And not just based on his personal level of enjoyment from the comic. :)

If you know some other reviewer who would cater to my needs more, feel free to advise so I can stop bothering poor Tony hahah :)

Posted by Mucklefluga

@Batcrow: You make a good point dude

Edited by Twentyfive

The only Morrison-related Batman book Is Arkham Asylum. Guys, if I pick up this book, will I be lost because I didn't get any of the Morrison era batbooks?

Posted by htb106

Does this confirm that bats died?

But I thought they said that there were no crises.

Posted by G-Man

@Batcrow: The only other Bat-title I've given a 5 to is BATMAN. I've stated over and over on the podcasts that it and BATMAN AND ROBIN were the only Bat-comics I liked (not including NIGHTWING). BnR have gotten various ratings, not just fives. TEC and DK don't do it for me. In other words, I don't give all Batman comics a 5. Since Sunday, I re-read all the INC issues. I saw how Grant's ideas all flowed together and that got me more excited. Seeing some play out here along with Burnham's semi-gritty style won me over. This issue could be a game-changer. That excitement amps things up as well. Other comics don't do that often.

Staff
Posted by doordoor123

Hopefully its better than the other Batman Inc. books.

Posted by jsphsmth

Ugh. Morrison's writing is horrible. DC please give this comic to Higgins to write.

Posted by CircularLogic

@jsphsmth said:

Ugh. Morrison's writing is horrible. DC please give this comic to Higgins to write.

Yes, let's remove the man who spent 6 years setting up this comic, conceived all the plot threads and even created half the cast, and give it to that guy who wrote a few good issues of Nightwing.

That's what this book needs more than anything.

Posted by Blizaga101

any sign of stephanie or cassie?

Posted by FadeToBlackBolt
@CircularLogic said:

@jsphsmth said:

Ugh. Morrison's writing is horrible. DC please give this comic to Higgins to write.

Yes, let's remove the man who spent 6 years setting up this comic, conceived all the plot threads and even created half the cast, and give it to that guy who wrote a few good issues of Nightwing.

That's what this book needs more than anything.

Win.
Posted by ReVamp

They were really good issues though.

Posted by r3d_rob1n

Should I go buy the trade of Batman Inc for this, or can I come in fresh. I've read all of Morrison's B&R and know the concept of Inc. Is that enough?

Posted by jsphsmth

@CircularLogic: Thank you for seeing the light of day. Hard to believe how many readers have been conditioned to believe that Morrison can write.

Posted by jsphsmth

@FadeToBlackBolt: Nobody wins when Morrison is allowed to butcher characters like he was and is doing again in Batman Inc. :(

Posted by kennybaese

@r3d_rob1n said:

Should I go buy the trade of Batman Inc for this, or can I come in fresh. I've read all of Morrison's B&R and know the concept of Inc. Is that enough?

Not really, no. Batman Inc gives all of the set up for Leviathan as a villain. Leviathan's identity and motivation even tie all the way back his first Batman arc in 2006.

Speaking of which, Leviathon's motivations are plain, aren't they?

In Batman and Son, Talia promised Bruce a war for turning her offer to combine "build their dynasty" and now she's delivering. That she's doing so with an army of children is fitting given that Bruce also took her son from her. I wonder in the army of children in Seven Soldiers of Victory that called itself Leviathan is the same thing as Talia's army of children. Because that would be nuts. It's all tying back in to the very beginning of the arc (and maybe some other non-Batman books) in true Morrison fashion and I'm incredibly excited to see where it goes.
Posted by FadeToBlackBolt
@jsphsmth: I'm not especially fond of this whole Leviathan angle, but until Inc, I've found Morrison's Batman to just about be the best comic run ever. 
Posted by DJ1107

Great a 5TH Batman title.....oh well it's Grant Morrison and it's a better concept then Batman: TDK I can live with it.

Posted by jsphsmth

@FadeToBlackBolt: While I enjoyed Morrison's Batman in JLA, I have never found his solo work on the character. His Gothic arc in Legends of the Dark Knight was not up to the same standards of the work that O'Neil, Moench, and Barr were turning in for the series.

His Arkham Asylum was not of the same calibre as other "specials" of the day, a la Killing Joke.

His Batman run over the last half decade was nothing special, even more so when I compare it to something like Brubaker's run on Captain America for the same timeframe.

Posted by FadeToBlackBolt
@jsphsmth: Sorry, but I've got to disagree with you vehemently. Brubaker's Cap, compared to Morrison's Batman, is like comparing Star Wars to 2001: A Space Odyssey. Both are good, only one is a masterpiece.
Posted by TDK_88

@Batcrow said:

It was good, but to be honest I wouldn't give it a 5 tbh, the art style didn't captivate me and I wasn't really in love with the whole Leviathan concept and what their aims are. Tony, I'm fine with how you really like Batman and most of the stuff he comes in so you give most of his comics a 5, but I personally look for a review that can tell me whether I should buy the book or not and the fact that you enjoyed it and gave it a 5 isn't really helpful for the average buyer. I'd like if you mentioned your "degree" of enjoyment, 'cause I tend to feel your appreciation for the character actually makes you enjoy his stories and that automatically equates to a 5 on 5 for you. That's fine and all but I honestly want something in a review that can tell me where to spend my money because I just can't buy everything with Batman's name on it.

I don't mean to offend you but I felt it was important to say that as a consumer who looks for critical reviews.

I feel this is one of Batman's weaker stories. But it's still a little better than average. I'd give it a 3, or 3.5 tops.

Seconded.

Posted by The Stegman

Great I haven't even read Leviathan Strikes yet...

Posted by djotaku

Like Tony I think the biggest thing that took me out of this book was the bickering between Robin and Batman. After the Nobody arc it seemed out of place. To the person who asked before - no cassie or stephanie yet. But it's only the first issue.

It's a pretty awesome setup. The question is where it goes. I thought the first Batman Inc volume was a little disjointed. Maybe this one will fit together better.

Posted by longbowhunter

I thought this was an incredibly engaging read. I cant wait for the next issue. So happy to have Chris Burnham back on a monthly comic. Anyone else notice the Officer Downe billboard in the background?

Posted by Avenging-X-Bolt

I didn't read it but a Viner spoiled the ending........I'm freakin ecstatic.

Edited by johnny_spam

So happy this book is back and I expect for Morrison this to be just as unpredictable as the rest of the run. Love Burnham's art which looks amazing and better than before. The action is so fast it feels like there are more pages then there actually is and I miss that type of experience in Batman. Also loved Damian's scene with Bat-Cow and when a henchmen is killed he screams it wasn't him.

Posted by jsphsmth

@DJ1107: Batman TDK is getting an amazing new writer, Gregg Hurwitz.

DC really needs to get out there with better marketing regarding the change.

@FadeToBlackBolt: So hard to take Morrison fans seriously when they make statements like that.

Morrison's run on Batman cannot compare to Brubaker's Catwoman run, let alone his Captain America run.

Posted by Mumbles

the problem with this book is that it does not fit in with the new 52 at all. right now, synder's night of the owls is whats going on. i would like to see on the last page ties in with the other books next month. don't think it'll effect anybody's batman titles at all. i wouldn't be surprise if batman inc gets the axe after six issues or so. it feels like morrison had written, and was paid, so DC decided to put this in print. it's a little weird. 3 stars at best....

Posted by noj

@Mumbles: Comics almost never run in a linear timeline. Whats going on in one story arc could be weeks or months before or after whats happening in another book, that just seems to be the way its always been. Its just something you have to accept about the medium. Im not going to fault the book for that. Batman Inc will NOT get axed after 6 issues. This is Morrison's swan song on a SIX YEAR run in Batman. To not let him finish it would be a huge disservice to the fans, and quite honestly this book will probably sell VERY well.

Posted by Rise2Ragnarok

Well the story was good, I thought the art was just alright. A couple pages where Batman is gritting his teeth looked really weird to me.

Posted by AngeTheDude

I gave up on Morrison's run a long time ago. It's just not fun to read and feels like there are pages missing.

Edited by Baberaham_Lincoln

@r3d_rob1n: Well dude, i bought the HC collection yesterday, the same time i bought this issue, and i actually understood what's going on.

I liked Goatboy =D

Posted by cincyducksfan35

Morrisons Batman is like LOST, mysteries and secret organizations with unclear motivations, and you will never get ALL the answers EVER. But most of all I compare them because there is not much middle ground in either. LOVE IT or HATE IT.

Edited by BlackArmor

This issue is summed up by Bat-Cow

Edited by GalacticPunt

Amazing stuff in this book. The layouts were immaculate. I'm not sure how much of that was Morrison or Burnham (I've noticed in supplementals that Morrison sometimes gets crazy-involved in the layouts and color choices). Burnham's compositions and style were definitely great. I re-read many of the pages multiple times, both because of the craft and the general WTF-ness.

I can't not be won over by a writer who works in a Bill Hicks reference for the hell of it. Garth Ennis still wins for giving Hicks a pivotal role in Preacher's character arc.

"Goatboy" has a caption in this issue that I'm sure the Morrison haters will rally around: "I guess everything makes sense when you're drunk and wasted on weed." Even as a fan of his work, I think he's turned in some issues where you can stamp that on the cover as a story summary.

My biggest surprise was seeing a sleek, full page ad for Comic Vine in this issue. Has this lead to any talk of putting a disclaimer on the review? If CBS/Comic Vine pays for an ad in a comic, then gives the book a five-star review, does that call for a "full disclosure" statement? When Giant Bomb was skinned with "Halo ODST" ads, they gave it four stars, and included a statement that basically said "Yes we are being paid to carry their ad, but we keep editorial separate from any influence and stand by this review."

Posted by JonesDeini

Bought this on a whim (mainly because I needed to get enough money to use my debit card at my LCS). I was very presently surprised by it. I mean I really, really enjoyed this book. Usually Morrison's Batman is very hit or miss with me. I mean I get what he's going for but it just doesn't feel right to me a lot of the time...especially Inc. but everything worked here. And it was nice to see a connection between this book and the other batfamily books going on right now. And the little easter eggs that permeate Morrison's works are always a treat. I'm on the fence about doing this one monthly though...I just feel like inevitably things will go off the ropes. Though Chris Burnham's art makes the prospect quite tempting.

Posted by RainEffect
@jsphsmth said:

@FadeToBlackBolt: Nobody wins when Morrison is allowed to butcher characters like he was and is doing again in Batman Inc. :(

He's butchering Talia al Ghul. I'm sorry, FTBB, while I loved Morrison's Resurrection of Ra's al Ghul, where he wrote Talia perfectly, he's butchering her now.
Posted by InnerVenom123

Batcow is the night.

Posted by jrock85

I don't like Burnham's art, but still a very brilliant issue.

Grant Morrison FTW.

Posted by SmoothJammin

@Batcrow: G-man is not a huge fan of Detective Comics. Or Batman: The Dark Knight by Peter David. So there you go, those are just 2 not including other related titles like Batgirl, JLI, Catwoman, Batwing etc. Maybe you should listen up on the weekly podcast to see their subjective input of which comics are deserving of a 5 and the criteria behind why, before you go around slandering the man's name. Pretty sure he's overqualified when it comes to thoroughly reviewing material on the site

Edited by SmoothJammin

Personally I adored this issue. More so than I ever expected. It had everything for me.

"A little better than average." Pffft. This is Grant Morrison, the man whose single-handedly revolutionized Batman for the past six years. Say what you will about the art but Batman inc is by no means a 'weak' story, it's produced a whole new cast of characters and helped evolve the Bat-mythos from what was once a fairly basic, linear concept. I know Morrison is hit or miss with many readers but you atleast have to respect what he's done in that regard.

Posted by feargalr

I didn't think this was good at all, it felt like an old DCU book, and as far as I could tell it was in every way just a continuation of the previous series, but so much has changed in the new 52, but here it looks like they're ignoring that which I really didn't like.

Also, stuff like the bat cow thing that, while sure that were funny, felt like it would have been more at home in something like tiny titans. I dunno, just in general this book is weird

Posted by Adnan

I swear Chris Burnham's art has developed so much since last time I saw his work.

Posted by MrArrogant

I was tempted to pick this issue up yesterday but passed due to limited funds (already picked up Dial H and earth 2, no room for a third ongoing!) and it just didn't feel right to read this series before I've had the chance to read the previous batman incorporated run. I've loved grant morrison's batman saga thus far and hope I can avoid spoilers and manage to read both runs of the series.

Posted by MonkeyToe

I like the comic, but wasn't a fan of how this one was written. Hopefully it picks up. I will read through the first arc and then see how I feel about it.

Posted by Dernman
@InnerVenom123 said:

Batcow is the night.

His symbol is a cow jumping over the moon. :p
Posted by Booster_Bronze

I've been an avid DC reader ever since last summer and have picked up alot of the past 10 years in trades just to get aught up, but I've found that Morrison's writing style really rubs me the wrong way (I read Final Crisis and was totally lost in what was going in in 90% of the book). I picked this up just to be caught up with the canon and what's going on, but I'm starting to duobt if I should keep it or not. To me, Morrison, while he deserves respect for writing well and blah blah blah, seems like DC's old crazy uncle that they let write on some books because he is popular. They put up with his eccentricity and weirdness because they know his name will sell books, but he feels like a huge leftover from the silver age of comics. His dialogue is disjointed and confusing, and while some lines might be funny, a-la Bat-Cow, if I see that bovine show up in the future in an attempt to make a serious play at it, I'm done with this series. Morrison seems to be having fun with DC, seeing what weird and wild stuff he can get away with in his books and almost daring the other series to make sense of what he's caused since his word is law. I don't know why and I can't put my finger on it exactly, but Morrison kind of strikes me as a tad elitist.

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