Batman Inc. #1: Review!

19 Nov

So, Batman has gone global!  Now, Bruce Wayne is traveling the world to recruit other superheroes like him to join his cause.  In this particular setting, it takes him to Japan to recruit Mr. Unknown.

What surprised me most was the set-up of the issue.  There’s a nice variation on downtime and superheroing time.  There’s a nice balance to the whole situation, and you can tell that it will pan out over some of the issues of the series.  I seriously thought that each new issue would include a new location.  So, I’m glad that the comic will linger on each setting for awhile before moving on to the next one.

What also surprised me was in plain sight within the title of the issue “Mr. Unknown is Dead.”  I was still surprised that Mr. Unknown was dead!  Sure, his assistant guy will take over the role, but it was still interesting how it was all played out against each other.

The art is beautiful in this comic.  I love the thick lines and simpler color palette.  Yanick Paquette really knocks it out of the park.  However, here lies my problem with the issue: the depiction of Catwoman.  Now, there’s a decent balance in the writing by Grant Morrison of Catwoman being a sexy, seductive woman while also being fierce and strong with lots of agency.  [oh my god… someone is seriously growling at their computer in the library I’m in right now!  Plus, she’s wearing a pumpkin hat!]  However, I do not believe this fully carries over into the art.  Paquette draws a great Catwoman, but she’s almost always in sexual positions even when she’s in costume.

Now, I just don’t find this very necessary.  In the two page spread that was given as a preview, it looks pretty badass.  Bruce is coming in on his wire with a determined look on his face.  Sure, his codpiece is strangely emphasized, but other than that, he is very strong.  On the other hand, Catwoman is coming in with her back arched, her butt sticking out, cleavage showing, and a pouty, porn star-esque look on her face.  This would easily be forgiven if, in the down-time scene in the hotel, Selina wasn’t prancing around in a thong.  Sure, she’s wearing a sports bra which seems very practical for superheroing, but there’s still something troubling about her depiction.  Even a common swimsuit would be helpful instead of a thong.  I understand this is the common way to depict Catwoman, but I would very much like the writing to reflect the art in this issue.

First, I was unsure about this new direction in the Bat-books, but this new series seems to be off to a good start.  There’s a nice mix that will surely appease a variety of audiences.  It’s definitely worth checking out, and, after the third issue or so, it may just be added to my pull list.


One Response to “Batman Inc. #1: Review!”

  1. HeartlessSoulEater November 19, 2010 at 8:26 PM #

    Normally I’m not a super big Batman fan but this sounds pretty interesting. I’ll have to check it out. Sadly you are still hung up on an issue that you aren’t arguing very well. Why does a women suddenly become weak and worthless just because she shows her cleavage? Why does her choice of underwear become the deciding factor in determining if she has any value as a heroin? I understand the point you’re trying to prove, but relying on stereotypes to prove your point is a bit counterproductive.

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