Monday, March 28, 2011

Batman, Inc. #4

Grant Morrison's writing on Batman, Inc. has been a wonder to behold.

Namely, I wonder how he gets away with it.

I suspect someone made a bet with him that he couldn't include elements of the Batman from the '50s and '60s in a modern story and make it work.

Because that's exactly what's happening here, as we see flashbacks to the original Batwoman - Kathy Kane - and how she set out to win Batman's heart.

The story spools out as the modern Batwoman battles the bad guys at a circus once owned by the original Batwoman.

We see scenes of the early Batmobile,a young Robin and a grinning and lovestruck Batman - all quite a shock in this era of grim and gritty, "no camp for me, thanks" stories.

In the modern side of the story, Batman is trying to get out of a death trap that has him fighting his old friend El Gaucho to the death.

It's all played fast and loose and it's actually quite a bit of fun - but I'm still amazed Morrison was allowed to tell this story. The flashbacks are almost cartoonish, and Batman comes across as, well, henpecked!

The art by Chris Burnham is different but very effective, as we jump back and forth from flashback to the present day. The art is loaded with detail and lots of energy.

It occurs to me that Morrison may be trying to bring the same sensibility to this title that he managed on All-Star Superman. If so, I'm all for it - that was one of the best limited series in recent memory.

I'm not sure how his stories will line up with established continuity, but he earns points for being daring and different. You never know what to expect from this title, and (so far) that's a good thing!

Grade: A-


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