Jul 31, 2016

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 522: Batman, Inc: Leviathan Strikes!, February 2012


From this point, we move forward trepidatiously. There are two reasons for this. First, Batman and his allies are moving into the final phase of war with Talia al'Ghul and the League of Assassins. As the second section of today's comic demonstrates, this will be a war fought on levels within levels. Bruce will have to become a general in a far different way than he was in "No Man's Land," this time fighting not with guerilla tactics, but with an almost 4-dimensional (perhaps 5-dimensional, if we remember Might's last words to him) way of moving, thinking ahead to all of the possibilities until the wave front collapses into the most likely. And, knowing superhero comics, it'll see like he hasn't prepared for this, and then he will have. Maybe.

The other reason for trepidation is that the second volume of Batman Incorporated takes place after Flashpoint, and thus well inside the new continuity of the New 52. I have to give DC credit where it's due that they let this story continue through the reality shift, but as of next issue, Dick is no longer Batman but Nightwing, and the timeline of Bruce's adventures is...tough to pin down. Today's comic is very interesting as a historical artifact, as there's a palpable sense of excitement over the changes that the New 52 will bring, the possibilities that are presented by this kind of large-scale embrace of the revision wave (see Supreme). And, I have to admit, I was right there going along with it at the beginning. They brought back Animal Man, and it was amazing. Morrison wrote Action Comics, and it was amazing. China Mieville's Dial H ranks as one of the best comics I've seen DC produce. Of course, as history has shown, the experiment was a failure, hence the current Rebirth initiative.

But what about today's comic? Can I just say that I love Stephanie Brown as Batgirl? She's another of the casualties of the New 52, as Barbara Gordon is returned to that role - and here we see just one of the many glaring cracks in the shiny skein of this post-Flashpoint world. If Steph is not, and never was, Batgirl, where does this first part of the comic fit? If Barbara Gordon is still the physical Batgirl, and not Oracle, who is the protector of Internet 3.0? It's questions like this that the editorial staff really should have been dealing with, especially knowing comics fans and their propensity for pointing out continuity errors. Still, nice to see Spoiler/Robin/Batgirl have one last little pre-Flashpoint hurrah.

I could go on about this issue for a lot longer, but I've often been told not to make daily blog posts any longer than a single page. And I break that rule on a fairly regular basis. 12 issues to go and then Morrison's Batman is finished (well, sort of. There's still the Gothic series, and his work with Batman in JLA). Onward!

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