And there was quite a bit more after that. Wew. I posted in the “What are you reading now” thread following reading the first volume and commented on that, and in every Morrison Batman story I’ve read (Arkham Asylum, Gothic, and Batman Incorporated) there seems to be decapitations involved if not outright shown on panel. This certainly continued that.
I just finished the series. That was…interesting.
I’m probably in the wrong discussion because I was much less interested in Batman/Damian/Talia/League of Assassins (probably because I didn’t read the first few years of Morrison’s Batman) and more in the various members of Batman Inc around the world. I initially came to Batman Incorporated because I was reading the Stephanie Brown Batgirl run and saw that her story finished in there (in arguably the worst story in volume 1, I’m sad to say- worse even than the CGI eyesore).
But anyway. It was a reasonably compelling arc that probably had its effect ruined by reading Scott Snyder’s run first. I’m a little worn out on massive organizations trying to destroy Gotham and Batman. I know Morrison did this first but Snyder really beat that one into the ground.
I liked the portrayal of Jason Todd’s character, though his costume looked like more like Judge Dredd than a Bat-character.
But there was plenty of Knight and Squire, and I’d been hoping to see more of them after Squire’s notable appearance in the Batgirl book. I’m sure since I think the character is cool and promising Beryl has never been heard from since, right?
She finally came back last week in the first issue of Batman: The Detective.
I think I need to go buy a lottery ticket.
So after reading the first eight issues again, I will say that there are things I like about it, but for me a lot of it still comes off as unnecessary.
One thing I really liked was the exploration of Talia as a character in this. One of the things I’ve not liked in the past was how Morrison seemingly jettisoned all the nuance and grey morality of the character and made her straight-up evil. But in issue 2, we get a look at her history, how she was born and raised, some panels feeling straight out of what we had seen with how Talia raised Damian. We see how she is constantly gaslit and slighted by her father, always pushed aside unless it’s to be used to gain a male heir (which he really only wants to take his body over so he can continue to live).
While I’ll always prefer the more conflicted take on Talia, and the idea of her slipping Batman a roofie will NEVER sit right with me, Morrison’s take on Talia is similar to me to their take on Magneto in their New X-Men run: not exactly the take I see, but I can get what they’re going for.
But I think the thing that feels off for this series with me is the pacing. Morrison’s work has always been fast-paced and crazy, but I think the problem is that it gets constantly interrupted. Like, first issue starts the conflict, then the second completely veers away and details Talia’s origin. Third issue starts with Matches Malone stuff and then ope, gotta do that #0 issue thing every other book in the New 52 is doing. Issue 4 gets this big mansion fight with all the Batman Inc characters duking it out and the next issue…swerves completely around and we get a potential flash forward of Damian as Batman. After that the series doesn’t have to stop and we get some forward momentum, but I think by that point the damage was done.
Speaking of the flash forward – I’m unsure of how Talia was supposed to be involved in that. From what was said in Batman & Robin, that future was supposed to come about when Damian offered his soul to Simon Hurt to save his father, and when Bruce, Dick and Damian defeated Doctor Hurt, that was supposed to have destroyed that timeline. So is this a different timeline, or was Talia involved with Hurt somehow?
(As an aside, something I don’t know if it mattered to me before, but seeing Barbara jokerized and shoot Damian in the spine hits WAY different to me now and while I get it’s intentionally supposed to be wrong, it doesn’t feel very…earned, I guess.)
Since I’ve been overly negative, I will say that something that I really liked was Damian’s last hour. Him teaming up with Dick again was a blast, and his battle with the Heretic was heartbreaking – not just because it was to save the life of an innocent (someone who we’ve actually been following since almost the start of Morrison’s run on Batman), but because even in the bitter end, Damian was trying to appeal to Talia’s heart. As shown in the Talia issue, and as far back as his first story, all Damian really wants is to be with both his mother and his father.
I’m missing a lot of context for this story due to not reading all of Morrison’s run*, especially on Talia. My only real experience with the Al Ghuls in comics is through O’Neill and Adams’ first few stories with them and their small appearances in Hush and Under the Red Hood.
*I became so frustrated due to the confusion of starting to read right in the middle of, I think, Batman RIP, that I gave up reading new comics for about a decade. I’ve never had a reliable local comic shop but I was starting to work and able to order new issues through the internet for the first time…unfortunately I got in right in the middle of a complex storyline so…I have a lot of catching up to do.
I feel that the only essential part of the pre-RIP run is his first arc:
Technically, the “Resurrection of Ra’s Al Ghul” story is relevant, too, but I find it to be fairly skippable (and not particularly good):
I’ve read like 7 issues from the middle of the run and Batman Inc now. I should have started at the beginning back then but…it was a different world and I couldn’t just read back issues on DCUI!
And here is this week’s question:
What did you think of the fight between Heretic and Damian? What about Talia’s reaction to Damian’s death?
Not completely on-topic, but old DCU used to have a handy link that just said “Grant Morrison’s Batman” that I can’t find anymore. Where do I start reading the entire run?
It’s in the “Damian Wayne Week 1” link I posted earlier. It starts with Batman #655.
Of course, Morrison had written other Batman stories in the past:
I’m familiar with AA and Gothic, as I understand they’re respectively a one-shot and a Legends of the Dark Knight miniseries.
I meant the start of the storyline that concluded with Batman Incorporated (presumably). Is it all cobtained within the Batman title or am I gonna be ping ponging back and forth between books to get the full story?
It starts in Batman, then it goes to Batman & Robin, and it finally ends up in Batman Incorporated.
Were the stories interlaced with the Detective Comics and other related Bat-books of the time or am I way overthinking all of this?
The Resurrection of Ra’s Al Ghul is a crossover.
It’s a satisfying (if tragic) conclusion to Damian’s arc. I love how he becomes engaged in the fight to protect Dick, and then he tries in vain to deescalate the conflict before accepting his lack of options. And of course, he dies saving someone.
Well, at least she felt something, despite her horrible justification of the event.
There is a lot going on with Damian during this fight isn’t there? But he does come full circle here and it also shows exactly how far he’s come since he first appeared. I would never have imagined a “younger” Damian would have even attempted to deescalate any conflict for one thing.
I was actually surprised that she felt anything at all to be honest. Not a fan of Morrison’s Talia at all.