CA Reviews: Batman Incorporated Vol.2 #8

Standard

cover1

Rest in peace this time? Not Rot in purgatory? Let’s hope.

It’s been spoiled to high heaven already – but this is it, Morrison destroys his creation.

Click through to join in on the memorial –

002

Morrison finally makes good on his promise regarding the inevitably tragic life of  Damian Wayne – by god he’s made this author like the little shit more than any other character in a very long time. Did Morrison succeed in making me “cry and cry and cry” though? No, not quite, but he does have a few more issues to really deliver a more substantive emotional blow.

This issue contains quite a few great small moments, but overall the ending seemed a bit rushed, and even though there is some emotional import here, it fails to remain fully coherent in its final pages.

This is probably due to the rotating artists on the issue, yet I’m not sure where exactly the blame lies. The finer details of the most important part of the book’s narrative seem lost in the hurry to simply kill Damian and show a splash of his limp, lifeless body. The final pages here fly in the face of  Morrison’s regularly meticulous attention to every little detail, that I cannot help but feel a slight tinge of disappointment.

The good? Well, come on.

012

Damian and Dick getting to fight along side each other one last time while Damian drops his guard to let Dick know how important he was to him is just beautiful. These are two characters that Morrison literally created the dynamic between and it has been one of the (if not THE) best team dynamic portrayed in comics in years for my money. It was immensely satisfying to see these two together again during Damian’s final moments.

Even Tim, who I constantly forget is hanging about somewhere, gets a good fight scene and some pretty enjoyable dialog moments in.

006

Bruce is busy escaping from the deathtrap Talia had him in at the end of our last issue and honestly, Bruce has the least to do in the entire issue. This is all about Damian and by god, does he go out like a fucking champion.

009

First he saves Dick and Gordon, then he flies into the Wayne Tower lobby, bringing all the Leviathan children with him, quickly knocks them all out, manages to indirectly save Tim, who is trapped under a collapsed airplane by garnering the attention of all the Leviathan thugs in the Wayne building’s lobby. Then things get a bit harder for the boy.

015

The Heretic shows up, quickly knocks Grayson the fuck out, and we’re then left with a one-on-one between a young Damian and his genetically enhanced clone.

The ensuing fight scene is fantastically drawn and wrenching in its brutality. Damian has the spirit of a gloriously mad tiger and seeing him slowly succumb to the Heretic’s overwhelming power is by far the largest emotional payoff of the issue (which I will not spoil here – see this fucking page in print dammit!). Damian is a character who lives and dies by the pride he takes in his skill-set and determination, so seeing one of those notions slowly slip from his grasp is grievous and poignant; something which can be conveyed with almost no words and still sound like poetry.

I really enjoyed the small detail of Heretic attempting to ‘break’ Damian’s back, ala Bane and his father, but being unsuccessful due to Damian’s cybernetic spine. It is a nice touch that goes without comment, so only those with the knowledge of the character’s history will really find it a nice flourishing touch on the fight.

However, soon enough the issue really starts to fall apart for me.

As Damian is receiving the killing blow from the Heretic, Batman has escaped the deathtrap and jumps onto a nearby Man-bat to break his fall as he glides down into the lobby of Wayne tower, where he crashes through the glass ceiling and scoops a dead Damian up into his arms. However, the action here is not clear at all and seems very disjointed and non-linear. We’re forced to fill in the gaps, but I’m assuming many readers will find these last pages rather confusing and poorly executed.

Bruce arrives a second too late to save his son, but suddenly the Heretic is nowhere to be seen. Ellie still holds the Heretic’s “World-bomb trigger” at the end of this issue, so I find it highly unlikely that the Heretic would simply disappear from the scene immediately after killing Damian.

Tim and Dick are still out of commission but the images showing us this information are but tiny blips on a large page, and unless a reader is paying very close attention it will be extremely easy to miss these details amongst all of the bombast. Tim’s incapacitation is especially hard to note:

This is seriously the smallest bottom corner of the page. Without it being cropped and enlarged it is quite easy to miss.

This is seriously the smallest bottom corner of the page. Without it being cropped and enlarged it is quite easy to miss Tim buried beneath the wreckage.

I certainly hope that the next issue picks up immediately where this one ends and Bruce must instantly face the Heretic himself, if not this would be the first big misstep I’ve seen Morrison take thus far in his arc. Everything up to this point has been slavishly detail oriented and every minute bit of spatial context has mattered, so it would be a huge disappointment to see Morrison take the easy way out now, just in an effort to manufacture the environment for the final showdown between Bruce and Talia.

In any event, it’s still a strong issue and Damian’s final scenes are all fantastic and elegantly encapsulate all the growth and pain his character has gone through over the years. It is truly a heroic ending for history’s second dead Robin. Let’s hope Morrison and DC can stick to their guns though and keep Damian dead. As much as I enjoy the character I think the gravitas of his death is a necessary emotional element to Morrison’s grand arc. Talia’s tearful ‘moment of weakness’ was especially affecting as well, seeing the slightest bit of emotion from her at this point holds a lot of power and seems large, given its comparatively small display.

This a story where the family will have to deal with some real fallout and I cannot wait to be witness to the final four issues of this astounding story.

You died a proud soldier, so R.I.P., Damian – you deserve it.

Batman And Robin 16

FINAL SCORE – 4 OUT OF 5

About these ads

6 responses »

  1. Oh, another thing you’ll love to hate…

    on the internet (http://emertainmentmonthly.com/2013/02/27/grant-morrisons-batman-incorporated-and-the-new-52-spoilers/) some one has written as massive article proclaiming this issue as everything that is wrong the new 52. citing the fact that morrison has no right to remove damian from the universe. and claiming characteristics written by other writers are in fact the true characterization of damian. its worth a read just to see how incorrect this current comic climate is in its appreciation of the material.

    he further angers me by stating that this issue negates all of synder’s ‘hard work’ in death of the family.

    sorry to rant so much but I truly enjoy talking to you about this as you are one of the few people who admire this story and relish in its nuances and emotions. and i hope you enjoy talking about it. thanks

    • I made it through about four paragraphs then started scrolling down the page and saw how fucking long the thing is so stopped reading. I do not have the time or energy right now, but suffice it to say, if he thinks Morrison is what’s wrong with the New52 then he’s definitely what is wrong with the readership right now in my opinion.

      Never apologize for conversing here! I accept and appreciate all your comments!

  2. Matches, great to see you back at it and promoting the Morrison word.

    There was some great touches this issue. Particularly enjoyed seeing Damian and Dick interact one last time. The allusion to “The Dark Knight Returns”/”Year One” again brings the idea of Morrison’s rebuke of the dark, future, batman back. I speak of the two panels where the leviathan soldiers hear a screeching… like a — and like the bat that crashed through the window of Wayne Manor, there is Damian. I don’t remember if you had brought up this point before, i’m pretty sure you might have. But all of Morrison’s story contains allusions to the Miller Batman and how in a way, Morrison has humanized him and made him avoid that grim future. Perhaps this is why Damian had to die? as it seemed that damians future was to become *that* dark knight

    • Nice catch regarding the window moment, I hadn’t connected the two. I love how Morrison both revers and rejects Miller’s characterization. He acknowledges all the truly great bits and yet still kills the idol by rejecting Miller’s end-game theory on Bruce’s inevitable overbearing darkness. The recent Fatman on Batman interview Morrison gave pretty perfectly summed up this notion in regards to his take on Miller’s Batman. If you haven’t listened yet, definitely do.

      Thanks for the thoughts!

    • Good point, Stephanie – but wait – you’re no longer in continuity! So actually, and I say this with a heavy heart, because I like you a lot, but… you don’t count. :(

      Tally stands at 2 dead Robins.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s