There are a great deal of comic books that are released on a monthly basis, so many in fact that some of the best of the lot can fall through the cracks of hardcore comic book fans’ pull lists because, quite frankly, you can’t buy everything. So, it’s working with that understanding that I am providing you with a somewhat consistent installment of Comics You Should Be Reading. And when I think of a comic that everyone should reading right now, like this week, well there’s only one comic that counts: Batman Incorporated #1 by Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham.
Yeah, this is the comic that counts. It’s the return of Grant Morrison to one of his best runs with one of the best current artists in the business at his side, and of course I’m talking about Chris Burnham. I’m pretty much a diehard Grant Morrison fan and while I don’t love everything that I’ve read from him (I’m looking at you, Joe The Barbarian), I at least give his comics more than a fair chance. When he was announced as the lead writer for Action Comics, I was ecstatic. All Star Superman is easily one of my most favorite comics of all time, so Morrison writing Superman is something I get excited about, naturally.
Unfortunately, I have been less than blown away with Action Comics. Now, that doesn’t mean that I think it’s bad by any means, far from it, in fact. Morrison’s Action Comics is one of the best comic books on the stands currently, and issue #9 is going to be in my top ten comics at the end of the year. Where it falters, though, is within my desire. Grant Morrison has been writing Batman for the past eight thousand years (not really, but it kinda feels like he’s THE guy, doesn’t it?) and it’s been one of my favorite stories, period. He never let up on the character and was always providing, if not mind blowing, then truly interesting stories in a time period where not a lot of thought was necessary to enjoy most mainstream comics. I loved the alternative that Morrison was applying to a cape book. Sure, he was writing about super heroes, but it was much more than that. And while the message wasn’t always the clearest, it was always there. He carried this story from the introduction of Damian Wayne, Bruce Wayne’s son in the Batman and Son storyline, revived the Silver Age in an insanely awesome way with Club of Heroes and Batman R.I.P., then moved on to the psychedelic R.I.P. in reverse with Batman and Robin, which lead to the, in my opinion, underrated Return of Bruce Wayne which stripped Bruce Wayne of Batman (Batman R.I.P. stripped Bruce Wayne away from Batman), and proved that Bruce Wayne would always be a detective driven hero, regardless of tragedy. This lead to the actual return of Bruce Wayne to the cape and cowl when Chris Burnham made his stunning debut with the finale of Batman and Robin in issue #16.
Burnham would continue to provide the interior art for a good chunk of Batman Incorporated, a book that showed Batman’s attempt at franchising the Bat. These issues showed us how and why Batman will always be important outside of Gotham City’s limits. We saw a Japanese Batman, a European Batman, a French Muslim Batman, an African Batman, an Argentinian Batman, a Native American Batman, and so much more. It was an exciting, fresh, and surprisingly light take on the character that seemed to have been partly inspired by Batman: The Brave and The Bold. Each issue showed us a team up of Bats that lead to the pre-Flashpoint finale that was easily one of the most exciting, bold books of last year. While some unfortunate occurrences happened in the book, we saw the reveal of who was targeting Batman and why, and while it certainly was surprising, it became clear as day that Morrison was creating a masterpiece and we were reaching the final chapter.
Batman Incorporated Vol. 2 #1 is the beginning of that final chapter. All issues are to be scripted by Grant Morrison and drawn by Chris Burnham. Burnham’s art is the perfect way to end this story. He’s proven himself time and time again that he and Morrison will be a creative team on par with the bests out there, and we are lucky enough to see this time form. Yes, there are a lot of questions that need to be answered, but the one that’s most important to me is how they will manage to take a book that was absolutely supposed to take place before the DC Relaunch and how exactly that will change things. Honestly, I hope Morrison just plays his, “I’m Grant F’ing Morrison” card and finishes it the way he always planned, but at this point, who really knows? I mean, Batwing freaking died in Leviathan Strikes, and now he has his own series! How’d that happen!?
Anyway, I’m more excited about this comic than I have for any other book since Leviathan Strikes and Batman Incorporated #7 before that, Morrison and Burnham are one of the greatest creative teams working, and you’re seriously cheating yourself if you don’t pick this up. Will it be the best place for a new reader to start? Beats me, but if you haven’t read the Morrison run to this point, bite the bullet, buy the deluxe edition hardcovers, and get caught up, I’m almost certain that Batman Incorporated #1 will be one of the best comics you could get your hands on this year, let alone this week.
Now, I can almost assure you that with each issue addressing the relationship of Bruce and Damian Wayne in an intelligent, exciting manner, I will most likely provide another installment of this feature on Batman Incorporated detailing all the awesome things about it including the sure to be amazing colors from Nathan Fairbairn. I’m sure I’m going to love it, and I’m pretty sure you will, too. So go read it now!