Hello again. A bit of a straightforward issue this one, as is the next and the one following that, both of which will get their individual posts. Thank fuck, I say, as that last post, although as in depth as felt necessary, took quite a while to write and is rather lengthy, probably too long in fact and not very good. A lesson for the future, I suppose. Though I think this corner of the internet of mine has had some great posts, I know I’m fairly inconsistent in quality, so I guess that all there is to do when you make a mistake is learn from it and keep going. This will all get better in time, I’m sure. Introductions aside, let’s get started, shall we?
As always, though I say it’s a forward enough issue in the run to only need a short post, I’d stress that that doesn’t make it not worth talking about. In fact, this is quite an interesting little one as we find Bruce gathering his forces en masse, killing a lot of birds with one stone as it were. Of course, this does mean that we have quite a number of characters in this one issue so, like last time, I would recommend finding some annotations if you’re curious about who is new to the Batman universe and who isn’t, though you can certainly read this chapter with no help too if you like. However, it being so simple, I’m not really going to talk quite as in depth about every facet of the plot as it chronologically happens. Instead, I’ll just talk about the specific things that interested me this time.
Starting with Bruce’s little interview with the press that opens this chapter, I suppose. As funny as his proof of safety to the concerned journalists is, with Alfred of all people tasering one guy, and tripping up the other behind Bruce, it’s the line Bruce says as his armoured Batmen – who I’m not certain are actually people in costumes; they could be the robots we saw Lucius prototyping in Batman: The Return – surround him which is really intriguing: “Batman is everywhere. And if he didn’t exist, well…I guess we’d just have to invent him”. This is a line that Morrison also used to apply to Superman instead in All Star Superman, a paraphrase of a very famous quote by the philosopher Voltaire which he said about the existence of god. That the poor guy who’s surrounded by Bruce and his Batmen actually says, “Oh god”, just goes to confirm that the idea here is that, in coming from the past and creating a myth around himself, he is like a god as far as symbolism at least goes, though Dedalus suggests it more literally at the end of the issue when speaking with Leviathan, and Bruce himself tries to pass it off as a rumour to the Average’s that he’s hiding in plain sight amongst to, you could say, put the fear of god in them.
The next thing worth pointing out relates to my notion of Batman as a myth and inspiration for Batman Incorporated. It’s something I’m especially curious about seeing as we get no answers by the end of the issue, Morrison apparently holding out: that Bruce actually learnt about Leviathan and apparently even saw the future at the end of The Return of Bruce Wayne. As I admitted in that book’s review, it confused the shit out me, so this is probably something that was right there at the end of the book that I simply missed. Though it still means that the concept of Batman is an old myth of Gotham’s that he technically created, as is revealed in an online forum that we see Bruce browsing, we’re also told that Bruce started building this army of his because of what he’s seen instead of what he went through in his time travelling adventure. The question remains if it’s something he would have done anyway, without seeing what was to come, but it would appear that he, and now his most trusted allies, know something about what may or may not happen that we, the reader, don’t. This can be an annoying facet of fiction, but if the pay off in this case is, as I’ve been suspecting, the death of Damian, then I think it may very well be worth keeping us at arm’s bay.
There’s not a lot else to say about this issue. We find, following our prologue at the end of the last issue, that also helping Batwing and Batman in Africa was Traktir and Spidra, the two mutant-like characters I mentioned in Batman: The Return, though that appears to have been a misinterpretation that I saw in David Finch’s art as they simply look like two humans that have been modified, Traktir with cybernetics covering his torso and Spidra with an extra two arms. On this same page we see Batman suspiciously letting a new Wingman join the ranks of Batman Incorporated. You may recall that the last we saw of that character was back in The Island of Mister Mayhew where it at one point seemed he had been killed when, in fact, he had killed the original Dark Ranger (whose replacement also joins Batman Inc. this issue, oath and all) and swapped costumes with his corpse. It can’t possibly be this same man because that guy was shot in the head at the conclusion of that story, so the question is: who?
Seeing as Batman tells this mysterious character that becoming the new Wingman is his “opportunity to salvage a reputation”, and that this guy calls him by name, my money is on Jason Todd, especially since Bruce emphasises that this person’s identity must be kept secret, implying that it’s someone that no one must know is on his team. Makes a lot of sense to me and, in my opinion, it would be kind of cool to see Jason change his ways from Red Hood seeing as his short time sidekick, Scarlet, managed to redeem herself at the end of their story together, whereas he just continued down a very sad path indeed. Besides which, he was obsessed with brands and marketing last we saw him, so it’d be kind of fitting that he’d join Batman Inc., the new face of Batman, seeing as his intentions were actually the same as Bruce’s – just with much more violent methods.
Lastly, in a scene with Dedalus and Leviathan to close this chapter, a few more things of interest are revealed. First of all, where we saw him at the end of last issue was in a satellite, which makes a lot of damn sense for their plan of global domination. Plus, though they don’t mention him, there is the possibility that they could find and pick up Lord Death Man, which I desperately want seeing as that guy was part hilarious, part weird, and part fucked up. Finally, Dedalus refers to what is controlling the children – something I only just picked up on being that they’re the ones who are brainwashed, every adult we’ve seen apparently being voluntary members of Leviathan’s scheme – as “the virus”. This got me a little curious so I’ve looked up annotations, contrary to what I said at the beginning of the post, and these, from Comics Alliance again right enough, tie this reference back to Morrison’s Seven Soldiers (the more this keeps coming up, the more I keep thinking I should buy it for when I inevitably return to this run someday) that took place before this run, that I said in the last post had most of its connections to Final Crisis. In this case it could well be the OMAC virus, which also makes a lot of sense seeing as it was that that was turning people into brainless killers in Final Crisis (some of them anyway, though most were under Darkseid’s Anti-Life Equation’s control obviously). This could also tie in to Talia’s role in Final Crisis. We see her once at Libra’s gathering of DC’s super villains but she doesn’t appear again during Morrison’s writing of that story, though I can’t speak for the side stories. So did she maybe get a hold of this? We’ll just have to wait awhile and see, I guess.
It doesn’t look like I’ll have the time tonight to write and upload a post for the next issue, so that and the following one will have to be left for tomorrow and, depending on how busy I am, I might even get the last issues into their own post as well to finish this first book, where we’ll hopefully find some answers by the end. Until then.