Author: Bobby Barrett
July 31, 2013

SYNOPSIS: Batman saves the world and loses everything. - DCCOMICS.COM

When you're looking at a story that has had plot threads dating back for so long (some even before many of us were born, when you really think about it), it becomes a challenge to look at the final chapter and not just feel the sheer weight of all this buildup resting on its shoulders. Going into the final issue of BATMAN, INCORPORATED, I was nervous about getting only a regular 20 pages of story, rather than one of the "extra-sized conclusions" these blockbuster writers are known for (Grant Morrison recently did that himself on ACTION COMICS). Luckily, the story wraps up just fine, with all of the series' lingering plot threads falling neatly into place, with no excessive amount of spoon-fed explanation, and an ending that is equally satisfying and unnerving as a good Batman story should be.

Issue #13 centers around Bruce Wayne being interrogated by Commissioner Jim Gordon about his involvement in "Batman, Incorporated" and its ties to Leviathan and what accountability is to be had for the destruction laid out by the latter on Gotham City. Gordon's inner monologue narrates the story, and seems oddly appropriate--much of the series' theme has involved Oroboro: the image of a snake eating its own tail, an endless cycle, birth and rebirth. This been more present than here in the final issue, and this narrative nod to BATMAN: YEAR ONE is a perfect example.

Throughout the interrogation, we are shown flashback scenes of the events immediately following issue #12 mainly Batman's final showdown with Talia al Ghul. Like issue #9's "Requiem" story, the action is given a page at a time, as the dialogue between Wayne and Gordon drives the story. In the battle, we bear witness to two parents who have lost everything and hold each other accountable. Batman, a grieving father who only ever wanted what was best; Talia, a raging tyrant who has gotten everything she's ever wanted in life - except love and plays with human lives like they are chess pawns. Both at their wits' end, the pair clash swords in The Batcave, a nod to the many times Batman has dueled with Talia's father.

The cover of BATMAN, INC. #13

"Batman, Inc." agents have teamed with Spyral agents to help Gotham's finest take back the streets from Leviathan's foot soldiers, and the game-changing prize, the Eye of Gorgon, falls into the hands of the victor. The mysterious leader of Spyral is revealed (saw that coming way back at the end of Volume 1, but I guess it's the kind of hunch you'd rather be right about), and the pieces all come together.

As the interrogation wraps up, Gordon makes it clear to Bruce that he still believes in The Batman (there's a nice reference to another current Batman story thrown in there), and we're left with a sendoff not unlike Gordon's as monologue in THE DARK KNIGHT. The series is eulogized with words that essentially sum up Grant Morrison's glowing opinion of the character, and the book closes with an ending that wraps things up, but in a classic comic book fashion leaves some interesting possibilities open for other creators to pick up on, should they choose to.

Once again, Chris Burnham manages to handle the entire issue's pencils without help, and the artist is at the top of his game. The panels and layouts are carefully executed; you can see that the artist is fully aware of this issue's importance. Nothing really new to add here, this guy has honed in his style tremendously since his debut in Volume 1's issue #4, and it's been a pleasure to see him take the mantle as regular series artist for this New 52 volume. Something tells me (like Dustin Nguyen before him) Burnham is not done with Batman, even if his writer is. He will have a presence (I believe both scripting and penciling) in next month's BATMAN INCORPORATED SPECIAL, and I look forward to seeing more of his work at some point in the future.

It's a sad thing to say goodbye to BATMAN, INCORPORATED. It's been said before, but it's truly the end of an era. Morrison's time on Batman has taken different directions that have received mixed levels of appreciation, but this volume has been a very straightforward narrative, and you can tell that the writer very clearly laid out what he wanted to do here and executed it without a hitch. It's scary for me to think of an era where Grant Morrison is not writing Batman anymore, but with fantastic monthlies like BATMAN and BATMAN AND ROBIN, and with DETECTIVE COMICS finally finding its footing, there's still plenty to be excited about for Batman readers! - Bobby Barrett


Bobby Barrett is a lifelong Batman enthusiast living in Fresno, California, with his wife and several cats.
He enjoys reading, writing, acting, and playing very loud rock music.

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