After a brief wait (two and a half months), Grant Morrison has decided to find the time to finish the third issue of Batman Incorporated. Batman Inc #3 is like that old tootsie roll pop commercial where the kid asks the owl how many licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie pop. The answer was three. Well, how many issues does it take to Grant Morrison to stop making sense and revert to his pretentious stream of consciousness writing? Again, the answer is three. I guess the ass kissing over at DC got to Morrison and he decided to stop attempting anything that could even be charitably called a plot.
Batman Inc opens up with what might be a flashback, or it might be a memory, Grant has decided not to tell us. It involves a group of superheroes working with the British armed forces that are out to stop something called Dedalus. Something happens, or goes wrong, or goes right, you can’t really be sure and then we’re whisked to the present (though Grant never explains that we had been in the past) where a crime fighter is being tortured until Batman (Bruce Wayne) and The Gaucho (an Argentinean superhero) step in to save him. Then a would-be assassin tries to Tango Bruce Wayne to his grave with the, I kid you not, “Tango Of Death”. The rest of the plot twists and turns and fail to make sense. It’s the Grant Morrison way.
I’m sure some out there will find Batman Inc # 3 to be deep and intricate and worthy of their hero worship of Grant Morrison. For me it’s the emperor’s new clothes, lots of bells and whistles but nothing really there. I get the feeling that Morrison starts a few different stories, then stops in the middle and staples them all together. There is nothing here that’s cohesive and, what’s worse, nothing that’s interesting.
I don’t know what Morrison’s mental block with Batman is because he doesn’t have it with other heroes. His work on X-Men was wonderful and All Star Superman is still one of my favorite stories of the last few years. However all that ability goes south when Morrison is put alongside the Dark Knight.
Granted Morrison (beat that pun, I dare you) is a writer that feels he absolutely must put his own twist on whatever he does. Most writers add their own voice or their own stamp on a character, but Morrison wants to smother the character in his own intellectual jam. Batman #3 is dry and pompous, and I’m not keen on how he tosses years of comic lore out the window. For instance, in this issue Batman pretends that he’s pretending to be Bruce Wayne. It’s like a caped crusader version of Victor Victoria, and it doesn’t work.
First of all Bruce Wayne would never take that kind of risk and secondly since nobody has ever seen Batman without his cowl, wouldn’t the first thing you’d think when seeing Batman as Bruce Wayne that they were actually the same person. I can overlook the stupidity of Bruce suddenly deciding to move everybody one step closer to the truth by admitting he “finances” Batman, but the “Batman impersonating Bruce Wayne” is ridiculous.
The only saving grace to Batman Inc #3 is the art from Yanick Paquette. It has a very seventies era Neal Adams feel to it, without ripping anything off. Paquette’s human forms are absolutely top notch but manage to remain inside a comic book ideal. If life were a comic book, Yanick Paquette would draw it. He also has a great sense of movement within the panels. The Tango Of Death scene, as stupid as it is, looks great. It moves like a fight scene but with dancing, which isn’t an easy thing to pull off. Batman Inc #3 is another Grant Morrison mess, but at least Paquette gives it style and visual impact.
Oh and by the way. Go back to Batman Inc #1 and look at Grant Morrison’s name. It’s getting closer and closer to the logo. I promise you that soon this will be Grant Morrison’s Batman Inc.