DC Comics, along with writer Grant Morrison and artist Chris Burnham, have brought the Batman Incorporated story into the new 52 universe. Batman Incorporated #1 picks up where Morrison left off with the Leviathan Strikes one-shot. Right away, Bruce Wayne finds himself in trouble as the Gotham police have him surrounded at what appears to be the graves of Thomas and Martha Wayne. He is relaying to Alfred to inform the others (Batman Incorporated) that it's over. What exactly is over is the question for the reader to answer over the rest of the issue.
Morrison knows how to hook the reader because he understands how to create a particular sense of expectation and then turn it on its head. He cuts from the cemetery to the killing room floor of a slaughterhouse. The action escalates here as we find out that someone has targeted Robin for assassination. Morrison than shifts the scene to a fetish shop in San Francisco that has a Batcave built beneath it. There the Hood, Batwing, El Gaucho, and the Knight begin to plan the attack on the mysterious Leviathan organization. This is a short interlude, but it sets up a measure of expectation that will fuel future issues. From here the plot thickens as issue one ends with what appears to be Robin shot dead by an assassin. This is relayed second hand by the assassin to Leviathan with the assistance of his smart phone. Morrison pulls off the oldest trick in modern literature by forcing the reader to question the reliability of a narrator that is a shady character to begin with.
Chris Burnham’s artwork is great. He reminds me quite a bit of Frank Quitely. who himself has worked with Morrison on a number of other projects. Burnham has a particular style, that works well with the colors of Nathan Fairbairn. The action sequences are rendered well and the layouts are very creative. I was a big fan of Morrison’s work on the first volume of Batman Incorporated, so I am very much looking forward to how he completes the story with this second volume. This first issue has excellent writing and solid art. If you enjoyed the first run you owe it to yourself to check this out. See you in thirty.