Monday, August 30, 2010

Comic Observations: Batman, Inc.

So, as I have mentioned elsewhere, I have pretty much left DC Comics in favour of Marvel, with a few exceptions. I'm still reading Green Lantern (though I really don't know why as I haven't been excited about it for months now), I still collect the trades for 100 Bullets (though I'm a little behind), and I'm still reading Batman & Robin, which remains a joy largely thanks to writer Grant Morrison's amazing talent.

In the past, I've written about how his stories tend to confuse the fuck out of me, but upon reflection (and a few more reads) I usually begin to regard them as utterly brilliant. He just has a completely masterful way of telling modern stories that recall the flavour of earlier eras while still containing some of the most innovative, bizarre, and fresh concepts. I've gone so far as to completely reverse my initial reaction to Batman RIP and now call it the best Batman story in a decade. Here's a cool interview that describes his stance on Batman.

He's been behind the Batman franchise for a few years now, and he's doen some incredible things. Since Bruce Wayne's "death" in Final Crisis, former Robin Dick Grayson has taken on the mantle. In the series The Return of Bruce Wayne, it's been revealed that Bruce was in fact zapped by Darkseid back in time and is now bouncing back towards the present through his family history. Amensiac, and yet still driven to survive against all odds, other heroes such as Superman have become aware that Darkseid has turned Wayne into some sort of living weapon, and when he finally figures out who he is and returns to the present, he might destroy the world. In effect, Wayne's indominatble spirit, his greatest asset, is now being used against the world. Cool, huh?

Meanwhile, fans have been sort of loving Grayson as Batman, and his partnership with Wayne's abrasive uber-assassin son Damian, who has become Robin. So, you've got two popular characters trying to fill the same role. But there can be only one, right? Well, not according to Morrison and DC.
Morrison is leaving Batman & Robin to create a new title, Batman Inc, which finds Bruce Wayne returning to the role of Batman and taking a more global stance on his mission. He is basically sertting up Batman as a worldwide organization. Grayson will continue as Gotham's protector, but Wayne, in a slightly different costume, will focus on "franchising" Batman, going so far as to have numerous others take on the role throughout the world.

Personally, I think this could be an amazing idea, or a complete disaster. On the one hand, it's bold and certainly innovative to have Wayne take on a global view, it also runs the risk of weakening the brand through diffusion. Still, it does allow fans of either Batman to have their cake and eat it too, while opening up the adventures of the Caped Crusader to other locales and new frontiers.

Trust a complete wacko like Morrison to take such a tried and true icon in a totally new direction.


Brenton said...

Reminds me of the Grendel. It always was very difficult to keep track of all the diverse storylines resulting from having no fixed character.

TimeLords said...

Have to say the Batman Inc. idea leaves me cold. I hope they suceed, because lord knows DC needs something, but I won't be lining up for issue 1.

More excited that the other new direction for Batman, so I've been told by my local comic shop, is that Batman will go back to being more a detective, and having more investigative mystery adventures. Not sure if that will be Bruce or Dick, but either way, I will be giving that a shot.