Written by Peter J. Tomasi
Art by Patrick Gleason and Mick Gray
Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Yanick Paquette, Pere Perez, and Michael Lacombe
When the announcement was made that DC Comics would have two Batmen after the return of Bruce Wayne to the land of the living, I cried foul. When they said that Bruce would make it his mission to scour the globe to create a worldwide network of Batmen, I was understandably skeptical. Then I read the first issue of Batman Incorporated and was pleasantly surprised. That initial storyline featuring Batman going to Japan with Catwoman was a lot of fun, but I think the gimmick is starting to wear thin on me based on my reaction to the third issue. On the flip side, Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason’s work on Batman and Robin #21, featuring the other Batman, Dick Grayson, and his not-so-trusty sidekick, Damien Wayne, gives me just about everything I look for in a Batman book.
Batman Incorporated #3 finds Bruce Wayne in Argentina, attempting to recruit a masked vigilante known as El Gaucho (which, of course, is Spanish for “The Gaucho”) to his Bat-franchise. He of course finds himself aiding his South American contemporary in his attempts to take down a vicious crime boss known as Oroboro. This issue is just as irreverant and crazy as the first two issues of Batman Incorporated and includes some nice references to South American literature, but as I read through it, I found myself caring less and less about Bruce’s mission. It seems that the formula of this book is already starting to repeat itself and the book is starting to devolve into a globetrotting Brave and the Bold-style team up book, with Batman joining a new hero from a different country every few issues. There’s nothing really wrong with this formula, and Grant Morrison seems to be having a great time writing the book, but it’s not really what I’m looking for in Batman right now, and despite this being a well-written and generally enjoyable issue, I don’t think I’ll be joining Mr. Wayne on any more of his travels for the time being. 3.5 out of 5 Exploding Blue Scorpions.
Batman and Robin #21 begins with the Dynamic Duo saving the wife and children of Kirk Langstrom from what appears to be a mass suicide attempt. In truth, however, they have all been drugged and placed on a rooftop with angels’ wings attached to their back. After saving the Langstroms, Batman and Robin pursue the man responsible, a costumed nutbag known as the White Knight. As expected from the second part of a three-issue arc, the assailant gets away, and Dick and Damien try to piece together the clues left at the scene to try to find out the identity of the White Knight and find out why he is targeting the families of current and former Arkham patients. This book contains most of the elements I look for in a good Bat book. It gives Batman an opportunity to do some detective work, it features some wonderful bits of dialogue between the always bickering Dick and Damien, and it gives us an interesting villain with an intriguing m.o. I’ve wanted Peter Tomasi to write a Batman book ever since I read his extremely entertaining Blackest Night: Batman miniseries, and I’m delighted that he finally gets an opportunity to do so, and Patrick Gleason’s art is a wonderful complement to his script. I’m glad that Gleason is following Frank Quitely’s lead on this book by drawing Damien as a proper ten-year old and not a small teen, which is how most people tend to draw him. Based on the strength of this issue, I hope that this team stays on this book for a while. 4.5 out of 5 Jim Aparo tributes.