Tuesday, May 24, 2011

COMIC: Top of the Stack - Batman Incorporated #4 (Review)

Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Chris Burnam
Cover by JH Williams III

Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $2.99

The fourth week of March brought a stack of comics bookended by Bat and X titles and it was hard for any other book to compete with those franchise because these titles brought it this month. In the end, it was the newest issue of Batman Incorporated that climbed its way to the top with a story looking back at one of the Bat characters of old, the original Batwoman.

One of the benefits of having Grant Morrison as the writer on this Bat book is his passion for the character and its history over the decades. Through the Batman title to the Batman and Robin launch to now Batman Incorporate, Morrison has made it his mission to tie back story elements both big and small to anything in the past Batlore, slowly bringing together all of the stories of Batman into one cohesive - albeit complicated- world over the last few years.

In this issue, Batman's journey around the world setting up Batman, Inc. brings the book around to welcome this generation's Batwoman, Kate Kane, to its pages and she finds herself in what used to be Kane's Kolossal Karnival - the circus that the original Batwoman once owned, while Batman tries to figure a way out of the trap he and Gaucho find themselves in. But what makes the story truly memorable is when the past is explored between Kathy Kane's origin to become Batwoman and then the relationship between her and Batman and why she broke it off.

While the last few years in the Bat Universe have been about Grant Morrison's expert stories, JH Williams has been just as amazing during this time with the fantastic art he has brought to the Bat books, first with Detective Comics and now here with this cover while he works on the Batwoman solo title expected to debut later this year. Interiors are drawn by fill-in artist Chris Burnam, who does a great job of keeping the active flow of the title going even while making distinctions between the present and past storylines.

If there has been one constant in the Bat Universe it is that a book written by Grant Morrison will be the must read title and that continues to be true with his run now on Batman Incorporated. With Morrison's steady hand guiding the direction of Batman and the flagship book there are no doubts in my mind that this title will continue to be a must read comic book when you want a peek into the world of Batman from the past and present.

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