Grant Morrison has been crafting his epic Batman vs. Leviathan storyline for more than two years now. He started with an 8-issue run, and followed it with a one-shot called “Batman Incorporated: Levianthan Strikes!” And once DC rebooted their universe and 52 of their titles, Morrison started over at issue #1, which unlike most of the other New 52 titles, continued the story exactly where he left off.
Morrison is infamous for stories that don’t start falling together until more than halfway through, and Batman Incorporated is no different. The story goes like this:
Having finally returned home after been presumed dead but actually lost in time, Bruce Wayne announces his association with the vigilante known as Batman and his intent of using his resources to help set up incorporated Batman-like vigilante syndicates all over the world. All this is done in an attempt to rid the world of as much crime as possible and battle the terrorist organization Leviathan, which is led by Bruce Wayne’s former lover… Talia al Ghul!
You remember her, right? She sperm-jacked Batman and conceived their son Damian Wayner in an artificial womb. Nearly genetically perfect, Damian was raised to be a member of the League of Assassins, but ended up as Robin.
So, she goes widespread with her father’s legacy, and Batman has agents all over the world to stop it. It’s pretty large scale, and I’ve enjoyed it every step of the way.
This issue elevates the game, though. In it, we find Batman explaining to Damian why he must return to his mother. He claims to have seen the future for Gotham, and that it is a horrific one.
Batman’s vision shows a much older Damian as Gotham’s Batman and Barbara Gordon as commissioner. There’s an outbreak of Joker’s toxin, and people are turning and dropping left and right. Batman finds a baby with a “natural immunity” to Joker’s compound and runs her to Commissioner Gordon, who is being kept under lock and key to keep from being attacked or infected.
However, it is discovered that the baby is immune because she is a natural carrier. Gordon is infected, snaps the baby’s neck, and blows a hole through Batman’s chest.
The government understands there is no way to rid Gotham of the epidemic, so instead of attempting to save those who remain unaffected, they cut their losses and nuke Gotham.
Now, I know this is just a vision, but it still shows the dark depths to which Morrison digs with this series. It’s no surprise that this title was postponed a month or so after the shootings at the midnight premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises.”
Overall, I’m a big fan of Batman Inc. and most of Morrison’s work in general. After all, he is the man that made Batman fire the time-travelling bullet that killed Darkseid. And no, I’m not kidding.