Batman Incorporated 3 – Playing with Matches

I briefly discussed Grant Morrison when I reviewed Action Comics 12. His work on New X-Men was some of his best because it was well constructed and delivered without out complex ideas and confusion. This book is of similar vein and has been for the last two years. Incorporated was initially launched as a Batman title from his rebirth and Bruce spreads the Batman brand worldwide to other do-gooders, hence the title. Since it’s inception there has been an undercover nemesis carefully observing and plotting against him. The antagonist organisation is Leviathan and Talia Al Ghul has been revealed to be its head who happens to be Robin’s mother.

It is refreshing to see a Batman book that is not centred on psychological torture or gritty gruesome brutality. It focuses on the return of Matches Malone, who is Bruce’s undercover gangster alter ego. There is humour to this version of Batman and, ironically, is a breath of fresh Gotham air. The gangsters are Dick Tracey-esque in hilarity with names such as El Bastarde, the Turnip twins, Ogo and Bulldog. The dialogue between Matches and Small Fry is amusing and interesting in the fact that Bruce actually pretends to be someone else. The plot is a simple cog in an interconnected mesh of Morrison complexity, but it works well as a stand alone arc.

The artwork is unique and visually amusing especially with Matches’ henchmen. Chris Burnham has his own style of drawing people, which is not based on appearing life like but comic and fits the light hearted script. The character’s facial reactions, mannerisms and movements are comedic and add to the tone of the book. I give extra credibility to Burnham in brilliantly catching the petulance of Damien better than many artists before him. Morrison and Burnham have crafted a welcome variation to Batman and Gotham with an intricate plot and perfect art accompaniment.

Quirkly brilliant 9/10

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