Happy new book day, everyone! As promised, this week’s post focuses on one of Grant Morrison’s greatest additions to the Batman mythos, Batman, Incorporated, and all the odd little philosophical underpinnings associated with it.
Following his apparent death and subsequent (if you will) dislodgement in time, Bruce Wayne returns to his own era with a fresh idea: if crime is a genuine problem (as we know it is), then the greatest conceivable solution to it is (of course) Batman. Therefore, wherever there is a large concentration of criminals, there must also be a Batman.
Despite the fact that Bruce Wayne would love to tackle all of these problems himself, he realizes that this task is beyond him alone. Thus, he establishes Batman, Inc. and publicly comes out as the original Batman’s longtime supporter and checkbook, a ploy that (surprisingly enough) shields him from some suspicions as to his deeper connections to the Caped Crusader’s efforts.
Initially, Batman, Inc.’s primary mission was establishing a new Batman or Batman-analogue in every major city on the planet; notable locations shown in the comics include Tokyo, Hong Kong, Moscow, Paris, and Buenos Aires. Each operative of Batman, Inc. would be funded by Wayne Enterprises and would be encouraged to wear some sort of bat insignia on their costume or uniform, or even indulge in a bat-themed superhero identity.
This leads to some memorable characters that include Black Bat (former 90s Batgirl Cassandra Cain), Nightrunner (a French-Algerian parkour master named Bilal Asselah), and Batwing (an ally of Batman’s from the Democratic Republic of Congo named Dave Zavimbe). Bruce Wayne also attracted longtime allies to the cause, such as the British Knight and Squire and the Native American Man-of-Bats and Little Raven.
Such an effort raised quite the fuss around the world in the story, with many seeing Bruce Wayne’s imperialist efforts as the standard noblesse oblige of an American oligarch. Perhaps real-world counterparts to these assertions led to a poor reception for the idea. Either way, Batman, Inc. (both pre-New 52 and New 52 incarnations) did not last as long as it should have.
It did, however, end with quite the bang. Long-time adversaries Leviathan were revealed to be led by Talia al Ghul, resulting in both her death and that of Damian Wayne.
That said, I do not believe we have seen the last of either of them, given the last page of the series. I strongly recommend looking up both versions of the title and giving it a read.
Thank you all for reading. This post marks four solid months of my Batman column here at Sourcerer. Thanks for joining me thus far, and I hope I can continue to entertain and educate you for months to come. Look for my review of Sinestro #1 soon. I also have my first review of an indie comic submission in the works. Please, pass word around that I am taking submissions for indie works to review. I am happy to help the fandom out. As always, don’t forget to support your local comic shops.
My (numerous) comic picks for this week:
Batman Eternal #3
Justice League United #0
Original Sin #0
Guardians of the Galaxy #14
Uncanny Avengers #19
The Witcher #2
Let me know your thoughts on the Batman, Inc. concept or any of this week’s comic picks below. Also, feel free to discuss my call for indie comics submissions. Tweet me @quaintjeremy.