Batman Incorporated #1: Mr. Unkown is Dead

Speaking of perfect jumping-on points in the world of Batman, well this comic book is another issue written by Grant Morrison that new and old fans of the Dark Knight will find to be straightforward and painless to read. A whole new story is presented here, in which the globe-spanning mission to fight crime that Bruce Wayne has set in motion begins. This issue is brisk, vigorous, action-packed and a bit macabre in the opening scenes. When compared to Batman: The Return #1, also written by Morrison and out this week, this issue definitely has a bigger oomph! For one, this first issue of Batman Incorporated digs deeper into Bruce Wayne’s global agenda.

Batman Incorporated #1

The opening pages take us to Japan, where Mr. Unknown—the erstwhile Batman of Japan (more like The Question for me)—has been murdered by the crazy villain known as Lord Death Man. No doubt, Mr. Unkown would have been the first international recruit for Batman Incorporated. Meanwhile, Batman and Catwoman break into one of the laboratories run by Dr. Sivana. Apart from the action, comic book readers can look forward to the prominent part that Catwoman plays here and definitely in later issues. The chitchats between Batman and Catwoman while they work are amusing, even hilarious at times.

Yanick Paquette provides the artwork for the series. His work is amazing, with lots of dark lines and detailed character expressions.

Batman: The Return #1 — Planet Gotham

“Starting today, we fight ideas with better ideas. The idea of crime with the idea of Batman.” – Batman/Bruce Wayne

Bruce Wayne is finally back. And he’s not only ready to suit up as Batman, but he’s also taking the Dark Knight’s brand of crime fighting to a whole new level. This comes as a result of something that Bruce has seen while he was lost in the timestream. This one-shot issue lays down the groundwork for how the Bat Family will operate in the years to come.

Batman: The Return #1

Here, we see Bruce Wayne setting into motion his grand master plan called Batman Incorporated, which basically creates an empire of Bat-men who will operate all around the world. Bruce also sets down the new roles that will be played by Dick Grayson (Batman 2), Damian Wayne (Robin), Stephanie Brown (Batgirl), Tim Drake (Red Robin) and Barbara Gordon (Oracle) in this new evolution for the Bat Family. Apart from the bigger mission, Batman and his friends will meet new allies and face new foes. And that’s what makes this issue all the more electrifying.

Well, this could be another fantastic new idea from writer Grant Morrison. My only concern is that, if other crime fighters across the globe are given the Bat-franchise and are then literally allowed to wear the exact same Bat suit, some fans may see the Dark Knight mythos being diluted, if not totally weakened. Are we seeing the transformation of Batman’s story into something similar to that of Iron Man, whose armor designs have been acquired or stolen by other individuals besides Tony Stark?

True, many comic book fans find Grant Morrison’s work on Batman to be overly cerebral. Well, this issue is quite different. As it defines a new Bruce Wayne, this comic book is the perfect jump-on point for Batman fans, especially those who were not able to keep up with the major Dark Knight story arcs written by Morrison in the last four years or so. This one-shot comic book has tons of action. The art by David Finch offers dynamic and magnificent details that complement the intensity and rapid pacing of Morrison’s story. I particularly like the first pages that tell the story of a bat that’s just not that eager to die even if it’s already staring at the end of its 40-year old life.

Weekly Comic Book Review (Nov. 11): Comic Book Guy Saga Ends, Return of Bruce Wayne Finale

This week’s comic book review really drained my wallet. It’s one of those weeks where most of my favorite titles come out simultaneously. What did me in was the deluge of Thor comics, which have steadily increased in number recently, owing to the fact that a Thor movie adaptation is scheduled for release in 2011. Anyway, here are the titles that made my top list for this week:

American Vampire #8

Writer Scott Snyder never ceases to amaze me. In this issue, he presents a new take on vampires by letting it slip that they actually have several breeds (not just covens). Each breed has its own unique weakness that hunters can use to their advantage. But more than that, I believe that future issues will be jam-packed with battles not just among vampire families, but among different breeds.

American Vampire #8

Many characters in the comic book have already appeared previously, but new ones are also coming into play. Issue #8 is biting (no pun intended) and interlaced with new revelations that American Vampire fans should not miss. Pencil work by Rafael Albuquerque and colors by Dave McCaig add more vibrancy to an already intense storyline.

Batman: Return of Bruce Wayne #6

Return Of Bruce Wayne #6

This is an epic end to an epic series and just what fans can expect from the great Grant Morrison. This is the story of how Batman finally arrives in the here-and-now, which we’ve seen in Batman and Robin #16. As a whole, the issue is an analysis of what makes the Dark Knight the greatest superhero in DC Universe. Here we see Batman, yet again and singlehandedly, getting ahead of the Justice League and rendering them defenseless. And with everything that exists depending on him, Batman fights Darkseid in a contest of intelligence and wits. Of course the Dark Knight wins. Indeed, for as long as Gotham City still needs him…and the night’s not over, Batman’s here to stay.

Ultimate Comics Thor #2

Ultimate Thor #2

Impressive pacing, great art, and intense revelations are packed in this issue. First, Dr. Donald Blake conducts a thorough examination of a man who believes he’s Thor. Our good doctor—who’s actually the real Thor—finds out that the man’s claims are actually coming out from memories and not from some schizophrenic episode. The question is, if the man’s recollections are valid, what would that make Dr. Blake?

Next, we see Thor, Balder, Loki and The Warriors Three in a friendly gladiatorial match among themselves. It happened ages ago as the Asgardians celebrated their victory against the Frost Giants. Even Loki was such a good sport and it would seem that peace ruled the home of the gods in those days.

Finally, the comic book pages transport readers to scenes during World War II. We see Baron Zemo successfully harnessing the power of the Norn stones and opening the gates that allowed the Frost Giants to cross the time stream into the 1940’s. Together, the Nazi war machine and the Frost Giants launch an attack on Asgard, even killing one of its bravest citizens. Again, the question is who’s the guy wearing the hood of Baron Zemo?

Victorian Undead II: Holmes vs. Dracula #1

Victorian Undead: Sherlock Holmes Vs Dracula #1

Professor Moriarty and his zombies are done for. The destruction that they brought upon London has been cleared away and life in the city slowly gets back to normal. But a new menace has been washed ashore. As Sherlock Holmes and his loyal friend Dr. Watson have been commissioned to look into the mystery behind what remains of the ship Demeter, a bad moon is rising. Count Dracula is at large, not only in the streets, but also in the highest rungs of the British monarchy. This is a new arc in the Victorian Undead saga and a perfect starting point for new readers of the series.

Chaos War Thor #1

Chaos War Thor #1

This special tie-in to the Chaos War saga gives Thor fans a deeper, even a bit philosophical look into the God of Thunder. A cosmic battle with a demon-god named Glory hurls Thor back to earth, landing in his mortal form known to us as Dr. Donald Blake. For me, the battle scenes are actually the best part of the issue. But there’s more to the story.

Being cared for by Becca Steinhardt, a widow and polytheist, we see the amnesiac Dr. Blake locked in a discussion about faith in the eyes of an average believer. To a certain extent, the drama in this comic book can be profound as two individuals try to heal themselves – Thor trying to get his memories back and Becca looking for comfort and hope after her family perished in an accident years ago.

Comic Book Guy: The Comic Book #5

Comic Book Guy #5

It’s another finale of epic proportions. Comic Book Guy’s saga has come to an end and the revelations that occurred will definitely shock fans. By far, this is the grittiest issue in the series, featuring a history of Comic Book Guy that spells out what makes him THE Comic Book Guy. Well, at the very least, Springfield gets its famous comic book store back under old management. But this is not to say that the characters in The Simpsons will drift down into normal lives. I hope not.