The GeeksverseFinish Line review of Batman Inc and Legends of

Finish Line review of Batman Inc and Legends of
Published on Friday, June 8, 2012 by

 

Batman Incorporated #1

 

Grant Morrison is at it again. This time he’s taking Bruce Wayne even further down the neon colored, faux-1960’s labyrinth of mediocrity that Adam West managed to turn into solid gold.

Batman Incorporated #1 doesn’t seem to know where it’s at within the universe. Is it new continuity as it would seem (considering they reference Nobody and Damien’s actions towards him) or is it pre New 52 continuity (based on pretty much every other comment about the history of certain characters)?

Grant tries to make an engaging, interesting story of betrayal, death, and family. But ultimately fails due in no small part to the horrendous artwork. Now don’t get me wrong, the artwork is good. I have no qualms with it. However, the brightly lit neon colors and light bright panels work against any real sense of danger, tension, or even seriousness.

I’m assuming that the point for this light bright color scheme is to juxtapose the frivolity of the artwork with the seriousness of the story itself. However, it flat out fails to do anything but allow the reader to simply not care or become invested in the artwork.

Yes, it’s a nonstop action ride throughout and the first panel teases some intrigue down the road. However, everything within the story is just that brand of absurdity that may have been hip and interesting in the Silver Age or the 1980’s but is today as dated as the Pop Art that seemed to inspire the artwork in this issue. Some, okay many, have reviewed this book and found Bat-Cow charming and a Goat boy assassin a funny and audacious character from Grant’s brain. I found it to be just another bit of proof that this story really shouldn’t be taken seriously.

The artwork is good. However, being used for this character and this story just doesn’t work. Bright neon and an Andy Warhol sensibility seriously work against the story, failing to set any amount of tension or suspense throughout. Moments that should leave the reader disgusted and horrified; merely happen and move on leaving no real impact or sense of dread and fear.

I think this issue can best be summed up by a quote from an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 “A {story} shows up, touches no one, and leaves”.

The last bit is that the book will sell, Grant always manages to sell high. However, in this reviewer’s opinion it’s just throwing good money after bad. Until Grant can find his passion and understanding of the Dark Knight and his world, I’m afraid his time as a scribe of the Caped Crusader will always be nothing but mediocre and downright insulting to the fan base.

I can understand Grant’s choice to try something new with Batman. Every creator should strive to tell the story or grow the character in certain ways as the years progress. However, I don’t think trying to take him back to how he was in the 1960’s via tone and depiction is the way to go. Time and again we have seen that the darker Batman gets the better and to lighten that up does nothing more than point out the mild absurdity of the character. In other words, if the book is taken or handled seriously then no one else will.

 

Legends of the Dark Knight #1

 

This is one I didn’t expect to review, generally because I didn’t know it was coming. The new digital download only “Legends of the Dark Knight” series allows DC to return to one of my favorite former Bat-Title. The first issue “The Butler Did It” takes the series out of the gate fast with a wonderful tale of Batman learning that hubris can lead to a great fall and that no matter how smart and tactical minded Batman thinks he is; Pride is the one thing he cannot afford to nurture.

Taking place just six months after Batman first appeared, “The Butler Did It” shows a cock sure arrogant Bruce Wayne learning a tough lesson about the dangers of exactly those attitudes.

The artwork is dark and atmospheric and lends itself well to the gritty and harsh realization that takes place within the tale. It’s a shining moment for Alfred Pennyworth. A moment brought to glorious life by writer Damon Lindelof’s wonderful ability with characterization and prose and backed up wonderfully by artist Jeff Lemire’s heavy use of shadow.

For $.99 it is definitely a steal and I would propose moving the Legends title to print and have the Incorporated 12 part mini-series become the sole providence of the $.99 download.

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