Batman Incorporated #4

I’ve been geeking out over the release of this issue for a while, and not just because of the kickass cover art! Promises of a Batman-Batwoman teamup, and bringing in the first Batwoman, Kathy Kane! How can you go wrong?

Here’s how: Grant Morrison.

Don’t get me wrong, Morrison is a terrific comic book writer. He’s also prolific to a fault, throwing in multiple epic plot lines, dramatically mysterious dialogue, and extremely minor characters and villains cross-referenced from his other books.

Regrettably, Batman Inc #4 is no exception; with three stories going on at once, the plot became disjointed and bewildering, even for someone who calls herself a fan.

Full review after the jump!

This isn’t really a Bats/Batwoman teamup; instead, they’re both fighting villains who are connected to the murder of Kathy Kane, the first Batwoman. Between these fights, we have a long flashback of Kathy’s origin story and her relationship with Batman. Luckily I’m familiar with the first Batwoman, and this section impressed me to the point that it was worth the purchase just for those scenes. When a character is revamped, like Batwoman, the first version is usually scrapped; instead, Morrison draws on that Golden/Silver Age era and brings Kathy back into the fold. It makes everything more complicated, but the continuity and history of Batman and his “family” feels more valid and relevant–something unheard of for lots of other stories (coughSpider-Mancough)

Kathy is brought back to life, in full colour; she’s quirky, fearless, and the essence of her bygone era. The Bat-family scenes were portrayed wonderfully with Robin, Ace and Alfred all in tow, and now that the new Batwoman has reopened Kathy’s murder case, I’m excited to see where it will lead in her new ongoing series.

I can’t say the same for the story as a whole, which jumped around so much that I was left without any continuity. Morrison either needs to slow down (not in his vocabulary, methinks), or less dedicated fans should probably wait for the trade…and an encyclopedia.

I wish I could give this more stars, but as an issue, the story feels like I was dumped on a roller coaster ride with no view ahead of me. Maybe I’ll appreciate it more with the whole story in context.

Also, anyone else realize that Kathy Kane and Kate Kane share the same surname as Bob Kane, creator of Batman? Yeah, I just noticed that. <<

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