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Batman Incorporated, Vol. 1

Batman Incorporated, Vol. 1 - Grant Morrison, Yanick Paquette ARTWORK: ASTORY: F-Nope. I did not understand this story. I mean, I did a little bit, but most of it seemed like meaningless, chaotic crazy shit that made no sense whatsoever. Bruce Wayne jets around the world, meeting with different crime fighters; I can tell you that much. He goes to different countries, meeting the indigenous costumed superheros of the world. That part is fun, because the Marvel and DC universes are very America-centric (as is our own world), so you never hear about there being foreign superheros, with their own local flavors. The writers and artists did very well here. I particularly like the Japanese superheros called “The Super Young Team”, as well as the Argentine avenger “Scorpion Tango”. If Batman had collaborated with these heroes, this could have been a pretty cool story. Instead, it turns into a tale of homogenizing globalist corporate imperialism: Bruce Wayne convinces each foreign crime fighter to forsake his natural identity to instead become the “local Batman”, in effect making them subsidiary superheroes. It’s pretty offensive, really, because much in the spirit of predatory corporate expansion, it substitutes a local product ideally suited to its “market” with an unimaginative globalist, one-size-fits-all product, which only succeed in the local market because it is overwhelmingly resourced (with Bruce Wayne’s money, in this case). And that brings me to the confusing title: Batman Incorporated. Huh? Incorporated? When local superheroes become “Batman -Japan” or “Batman -Brazil”, etc., they join a top secret international organization called “Batman Incorporated”… which is obviously owned and run by Bruce Wayne. By the way, how is Bruce Wayne going to explain owning all the shares of Batman Incorporated? But never mind that. WTF is up with incorporation? I mean, the whole idea of Batman is that he’s a vigilante with a secret identity, who works outside the law. Can you file for incorporation if you have a secret identity? Won’t the SEC want to know who you really are? And why incorporate? Is it to sell stock, to raise money for the organization’s operations? That seems a bit weird, since the story seems to be saying that the whole thing is paid for by Bruce Wayne out-of-pocket. So is this not a publicly traded company? He’s just sitting at home with all the shares? What’s the point of that? Or is it publicly traded, and the story just doesn’t mention it? So Batman Inc had an IPO? It seems like it would be pretty easy pickings for an enterprising arch-villain like the Joker to amass some capital and stage a hostile takeover. Joker could put Batman out of commission in the corporate boardroom, where he was never able to on the streets. I am currently exploring more practical superhero business structures in a fanfic work I'm calling "The Spiderman Limited Partnership".Another odd thing about incorporation in this case is that it actually exposes Batman to more liability than before! A common reason to incorporate is to reduce liability. If there is a big lawsuit, you can only go after the corporation’s assets, not the assets of the proprietor(s). In the case of Batman, though, he used to be a faceless, nameless entity. He would see a crime in the works, he’d go in, kick some ass, trash whatever place he was in (usually an abandoned warehouse or docks down by the waterfront, etc), and then he’d disappear into the night, leaving no forwarding address for people to charge medical bills to, or to demand repairs to their warehouse. Now, with a giant corporate structure, if Batman (or one of his foreign subsidiaries) kicks some henchman’s ass, that guy can file a claim against the corporation. And if Batman has to blow up some building a villain is using as a hideout, well you can be sure that building’s owners’ lawyers will be at Batman Inc’s headquarters the next day! Overall, I would say incorporation is the absolute worst thing Batman could do.A few other random thoughts :1) The artwork in this book was great 2) Whaaa? Catwoman has a secret civilian identity (“Selina” something)? I thought she was just always Catwoman. That’s only the beginning of the Catwoman weirdness! Apparently Selina and Bruce Wayne are romantically linked, and they know each other’s secret identities, but when they’re in costume, they’re enemies, but when they’re civilians, they’re a couple??? And they don’t blow each other’s cover? Weirder still: what is Catwoman’s motivation to be a criminal at this point? By day, she’s girlfriend of billionaire Bruce Wayne. She could pretty much have whatever she wants. Why should she risk her safety and potential jail time by being a criminal? Bruce Wayne and Selina (Catwoman) hanging out together. Puh-lease.3) Bruce Wayne’s keeping his secret identity is becoming as patently ridiculous as nobody recognizing Clark Kent as Superman, just because he’s wearing glasses. At the beginning of the story, we see a Japanese newspaper reporting (in English!) as its top story (!! slow news day?) that Bruce Wayne is in Tokyo for some business meeting. That night, some Batman action goes down, and the next day’s newspaper exclaims that Batman has been seen- for the first time ever- in Japan! Hello??? Nobody in the world can put 2 and 2 together?? I guess anybody who suggests the two stories might be linked is shut down by being told “That’s a conspiracy theory!”4) Batgirl makes an appearance at the end. God damn. She is the hottest superhero ever.5) The arch villain who keeps making appearances, “Lord Death Man”, is ridiculous. He’s immortal, it seems, but hasn’t figured out a way of making legal riches, fame and fortune off this? He’s got to be the leader of a street gang? 6) As stated above, there is too much unbelievable stuff going on, even by comic book standards. One character lives on the 8th floor of an apartment building. Villains fill his apartment with seawater… which doesn’t leak out, because apparently his apartment can bear the weight of being filled to the brim with water, and because his apartment is apparently water-tight. The villains then put a giant killer squid into the aquarium/apartment (where’d they get it from?? Nobody noticed all this going on?) This sets the stage for a dramatic scene where the character’s girlfriend is dropped through the ceiling from the apartment above into the killer squid aquarium, so Batman can use a bazooka to blow a hole in the outer wall of the apartment, thus dropping thousands of gallons of seawater and a giant killer squid from eight stories down onto the streets of Tokyo.I’m sorry. I can only suspend so much disbelief.