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Comic Review: Batman Incorporated #10

Batman Incorporated #10 Volume 2 New 52 DC Comics cover man-bat

The time for tears is over; the time for action has come.

Batman Incorporated #10 expertly lays the groundwork for the ultimate finale to Grant Morrison’s fantastic series as Batman gets ready to go on the warpath against Talia Al Ghul and Leviathan.

This is not a comic of graveyards and regrets; it’s one of pure badassery, of binding up wounds, circling the wagons, and preparing to hit back as hard as (humanly?) possible against the people who murdered Damian Wayne.

Grant Morrison has always been great at dredging up little bits of character lore and employing them in new ways. We’ve seen it in the past with hokey or dated characters like Bat Mite or old school Batwoman Kathy Kane, but in Batman Incorporated #10, Morrison proves to be just as deft with his use of some seminal Batman: Year One material.

The foldout cover spoils the big surprise right away: Batman gets into the man-bat syrum. However, the real fun is in how Morrison frames the decision by hearkening back to the formative “Yes Father, I shall become a bat,” scene in Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One.

And Miller isn’t the only source Morrison is playing with. There are definite notes of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises here, from the depiction of the beleaguered Wayne Enterprises to the Wanted posters for Batman himself, and even extending to the relationship between Talia and her brutish, Bane-like Damian clone protector.

All of this is executed with expert restraint, calling up memories of these other works but without cheapening the experience of the comic itself. Miller and Nolan are jumping off points for Morrison to weave his own unique magic.

While Batman starts and finishes as the most prominent figure in this issue, much of Batman Incorporated #10 brings along the scattered remnants of the team itself. The new Knight springs into action alongside Dark Ranger, Red Robin and Nightwing get some play, and we follow up with the Hood’s betrayal of Jason Todd. Azrael also makes his New 52 debut as Michael Lane, the newest recruit into the Batman army.

Talia has two particularly interesting character scenes here, first over a chessboard with R’as Al Ghul and, later, with her upstart Damian clone. Both plant seeds of doubt in her plan, and provide some much-needed hope for Batman at a time when everything seems to be going sideways.

Chris Burnham’s pencils are excellent in this issue, especially on a full page where he shows Batman diving down the side of a skyscraper with bullets whizzing past him. His heroes – particularly Batman – look grim and beaten up in their own slightly cartoonish way, while Talia is drawn in a superior, clean-lined style. Jason Masters also chips in for a few pages, but his work doesn’t disrupt the style established by Burnham.

The superbly-written Batman Incorporated #10 breaks up Bruce Wayne’s pity party and paints a target on Leviathan. Batman Incorporated is wounded, but in this case, a wounded animal looks to be far more dangerous.

Man-Bat Batman dangerous.

9.5 out of 10

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