Writer: Grant Morrison
Artists: Chris Burnham & Jason Masters
I initially decided to skip reviewing this issue, but after hearing that issue 8 would have a major change (the specifics were spoiled in an article online) I decided I'd go back to review it. Overall I have really enjoyed this series, and it's been a huge improvement over the original series, which although good wasn't startling, and had a very different style than most Batman series'.
With Knight dead and Batman captured, Batman Inc. is at a serious disadvantage over Leviathan, who are now using children in their army.
Although this was still a very good issue it was however one of the poorer issues in the series. Ever since I bought Batman R.I.P. I noticed that Grant Morrison was able to write the Caped Crusader brilliantly, and have since acquired all his work on Batman, whether in comic form or graphic novel (think I have all his works in comics since Batman and Son). Morrison will go down as one of my favourite writers of the character, and when the time comes I will be sad to see him leave the character, but it had to end sometime. Like he's done with the rest of the series Morrison has kept this issue very interesting, and suspenseful. However in doing this he has let things slip away slightly, as with everything happening at the same time the issue feels slightly over the place. I did however love the emotion he has added to this issue, and overall he is brilliant at showing the characters for who they are emotionally, and symbolically. With the issue focusing on so many aspects of the story it did drag on slightly, and I think the development would have been better if it focused on less characters. It was however still very enjoyable, and suspenseful.
I've really loved the art in this series, and Chris Burnham continues to amaze me. Initially back when Burnham joined the original Batman Inc. series I wasn't too keen on his art, but after seeing it more often, and in a better series/story I've started to really enjoy it, and his unique quirky style really suits the series. His art in some ways reminds me of Frank Quitely who worked on Morrison's All Star Superman series, and gives a similar atmosphere as well. I also really enjoy Burnham's attention to detail, and some of the action sequences are wonderful to look at. Burnham also shows the characters emotions excellently, and especially with the deranged Leviathan children. The panel that I especially liked in this issue was on page 18, with all of Robin's (Damian Wayne) pets (Alfred, Titus, and Bat-Cow) together. I don't understand why it the series has needed a different artist for no more than a few pages each issue for the last few issues. However Jason Masters did do a good job on the art for three pages of this issue. It wasn't however as good as Burnham's art, and at times felt a bit still, and awkward. Although I don't see the point of an extra artist for three pages it was however nice to see Master's art shown in this issue, and I wouldn't mind reading something with it in the future.
Last issue showed that this series is about to hit a new level that will affect Batman Inc., and the future of the Batverse drastically. The Knight died, and it showed that the war against Leviathan would involve casualties. Knight and Squire have appeared in a lot of Morrison's work, and with Morrison actually creating this version of Knight and Squire it was a shock to see him kill Knight. If anyone was to do this it should have been Morrison, and at the end of the day there needed to be at least one death from Batman Inc. to show just how far Talia al Ghul has pushed Batman. Although I'd be lying if I said that I was a huge fan of the Knight character, but I was still shocked, and a little upset to see him killed off. It did however lead for some emotional sequences in this issue, especially the one between Squire and Nightwing (Dick Grayson).
In continuing with my previous paragraph I though I'd talk about the rest of the damage inflicted upon Batman Inc. The way Morrison portrayed the damage was very interesting, and showed that it's not always rosy for the good guys. Right from the start it's noticeable that the members of Batman Inc. are broken, and with their leader being out of the picture it would drop their morale even more. I always find it unrealistic when the good guys always win, mostly without any effort, and although it's always right to show that good rules out, it's not as easy as other stories show it as, so it was nice ti see Leviathan on top, even though I want Batman Inc. to win the overall war.
Damian is still stuck in the Batcave during this issue, and to be honest I think that this was the best place for him to be at this stage of the story. Damian being at the cave gave the perfect opportunity to develop his side of the story a little more, giving him time to think over his mothers scheme. It also gives Damian some time to interact with Alfred the butler, and Alfred his new cat, which I thought was very nice. Damian also tells Afred (butler) about a secret of his mothers. I won't go into details to avoid spoiling it, and although it's been a month since this issue was out I wouldn't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't read it. I will however say that it was an interesting discovery, and should add an interesting sequence later in the series.
Leviathan having children in their army was also a shock. It is shown on the cover of the issue, so it wasn't a total shock, and due to this I felt that me talking about it wouldn't really spoil much. Leviathan using children adds another angle to an already brilliant story, and it gives yet another obstacle for Batman Inc., as they would find it difficult to even consider attacking children. I for one will be looking forward to this continuing into the next issue, and seeing whether Batman Inc. fights back or not.
Batman was absent for most of this issue, and although it was strange not seeing him around it was nice for a change. It also gave more time to show how the rest of Batman Inc. was coping after his kidnapping, and Knights death. The few pages that Batman was in was interesting, and if the series hadn't showed it before now this issue showed that Talia had given up on any future between the two of them.
With the way this issue ended, and the articles around the internet regarding the next issue I'm really looking forward to seeing what happens next, and how much it will effect the rest of the Batman titles.
This may not be the best issue in the series, but it;s still a very good issue, and sets up the next issue nicely. I would still highly recommend both this issue, and the series, and am looking forward to reading the next issue.