Saturday, November 24, 2012

Batman Inc #4

I had to get this just to see if any of it was actually explained.


Morrison is either hit or miss for me. I don't get Batman Inc. often, I bought the "special" which featured Stephanie Brown and I thought her story was well done. That said Morrison does tend to get on my nerves when he changes something just to make it fit into the story he wants to tell. Before I get to the main point of interest I thought I should start with how the issue reads. I've heard that Morrisons' work has to be read back to back to fully grasp his story. I didn't think that was true for his Stephanie Brown story but it might be a problem with a cast as big as it is with Batman Inc. I have a vague understanding of these "International Batmen" outside Batwing and a couple others. For most new readers this will just seem like people Batman got together for this battle.

I have to say that I did find some of the Inc members speech kind of corny, dated and/or giving too much explanation. Like having two characters from different nations arguing then having one of them repeatedly state the reason for their tension has to do with their countries? It's not needed since having them argue already informs us that their not overly fond of each other. It sounds pretty dated. Some might say "that's the point" but that's not something that works for me. I know a lot of writers like to have throwbacks or write in very retro ways. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. A good example is Deflaco who has some old school writing in Spider-girl that works because of the world she lives in, and the fact she's living up to her fathers' legacy. If I recall right all the MC2 books read like that. Then there's more recent work he's done that doesn't work nearly as well. But back to Morrison: Does Batwing really need to explain to who's ever listening on his headset that he knows all about bats thanks to Batman teaching him? All that was needed was a shot of him injecting a bat in the wing. Show don't tell. Little things like that sort of took me out of an otherwise fun fight.

The art has a lot of energy and funny details although I didn't like some of the faces. I know some people hate Talias' new look and I'm indifferent to it at the moment. No it's not her classic look but I suppose it makes sense for her to create a mask for herself to counter Bruces' Batman. Now the main event: the Wingman scenes. I looked this up to find out who Wingman was prior to this. The first appearance was an old Batman story where Wingman becomes Batmans' partner and makes Robin jealous. Later on Morrison wrote Wingman as a character that claimed he started out before Batman and the Dark Knight was basically stealing his thunder. He betrayed Batman Inc. and died. Apparently the new Wingman recently showed up. So not too much room to drop hints before the reveal. But here's a picture I picked up.

Now to be positive Morrison does show the "new" guy is capable, he actually seems more badass than the Inc. members and on par with the Bat family. He's introduced in the leader role since he's supposed to be the one the Inc. members are taking orders from. Sure Bruce calls a few shots and Wingman does call him boss but he's the only other person telling people what to do. Not Nightwing. Not Red Robin. That's pretty damn interesting on it's own. He walks towards Merlyn as if he doesn't have a care in the world telling him that he loves what he does and says to make the shot before he gets to him. Oh and he effortlessly beats up two assassins while he does this, causally stepping on one's crotch as he stalks off. He has several excellent panels showing how skilled he is. Yes Damian shows up to shoot Merlyn before the shot could be taken but there's a feeling that Wingman doesn't need his help. Actually there's a feeling that Damian isn't needed at all and his presence might have ruined what they were trying to do. Because Talia somehow knows who Wingman is, maybe because Damian won't shut up about how familiar he seems.

Jason Todd is Wingman but none of it makes sense.

I've heard people say it makes sense if it's in the context of the last canon. It doesn't. Didn't Morrison write Jason telling Dick it was too late for him and that Dick was his arch-enemy? (Which I maintain never made sense in the first place.) Or the last place we left him in Winicks' arc where he ran off and the bat family were against him in every sense of the word? Bruce wouldn't even have a personal talk with him in jail. In DCnU it makes less sense because Jason wants nothing to do with Gotham. He thinks Bruce pretended to care about him. That the family wants him in jail.

Not to mention this is the huge development for the character that we get no real build up for. The confrontation many of us wanted to see with Bruce and him was never seen. All of it was off panel for some not-too-shocking reveal. It wasn't worth it, it cheapens the work others are doing and yes I'll say it was poor writing. Once again this is us being told rather than shown how something happened. It's telling us to forget everything else and just accept this without question. If this was any other writer there would be an uproar. Instead we're giving Damian another sad moment before Bruce puts him through the emotional roller coaster again. How does Jason feel about going against Talia, the person who helped him out so much after he returned? What did Bruce say to get him to go through with this? Not said but if any of that does get mentioned, or any mention of how this came to be in this title, then it's already after the fact. This needed a build up and not getting one is very frustrating.

Damian doesn't seem as overly done as he was under Tomasi but I call bull on him picking up on some previously unknown accent Wingman/Jason has. Like the picture above shows Jason knew he had to keep others out of the loop on his new role. Now it's never stated if Dick, Tim and the inner circle sans Damian knew but no one else in Inc. knows Jason Todd. Why the hell would he use his normal voice if he's trying to be undercover and Talia knows who he is? The Robins know how to blend in and take on roles. In his own series Jason has taken on other roles without anyone catching on. Yet all he can do for this one is wear a costume while acting and fighting just like he normally would?

Say What?: I guess we could assume Dick and Tim know with Damian implying it and neither one appearing phrased by the Wingman reveal. But it was never actually confirmed.

 I thought Merlyn was always the characters' surname until I recently learned otherwise. In Green Arrow's zero issue Merlyn was his friend who has just woke from his coma. It doesn't make much sense to see him like this so soon.

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