Artists: Chris Burnham & Jason Masters
This has been a very good series, and I've really been enjoying what Grant Morrison's been doing with the series, and have found it much better than the previous Batman, Incorporated series. It's not always been brilliant, but it has been good, and after recent shocking events (not too shocking it was on the cover) I was really looking forward to this issue.
Batman (Bruce Wayne) and Nightwing (Dick Grayson) battle The Heretic, and Bruce buries his son, Damian Wayne.
This was a brilliant issue and a fitting follow-up to the death of Damian in the previous issue, with Batman and Robin #18 being the only Requiem issue that was better, and more moving. Grant Morrison has done a marvellous job of this series, and I for one have loved all his work on the Caped Crusade (obviously some better than others), and I've always felt that his best work has came out of the Damian Wayne character, even though now he's dead, which although sad, it does make for a good, dramatic story. What I liked most about Morrison's writing in this issue was how it jumped back and forward between the end of the previous issue, and the funeral of Damian, and it almost felt that the sequences that were just after Damian's death were triggered memories, and I liked that. I've not always liked it when Morrison's done similar to this in the past, but I did this time. The emotion throughout this issue was also brilliant, and whether it was the funeral sequence, or the fight against the Heretic, you could easily see how upset, and angry Batman is, and you can't blame him, as he's not just lost a member of the Bat-Family, he's lost his son, and Morrison showed this in his writing brilliantly.
The art from Chris Burnham was once again brilliant, and I've loved his art throughout this series. As I've said before, I never actually enjoyed Burnham's art that much on the previous Batman Inc. series, but since seeing it in this series I have loved it, feeling that it really suits the tone of the book. This could easily be due to it being a new series, or it could be that I like the way he drew Damian, but I have loved it, and I'm glad he's continuing to work on this series. I really think that Burnham's unique, rough style has been what makes the art so good, and I've also loved how it's made the series much darker, but also lighter when it needs to be. I've also liked how Burnham hasn't been afraid to go all out when it comes to the violence, as it's bloody, and gory, and really adds even more darkness to the issue, and this type of issue needs darkness, as it helps show the emotions. I did however think that some of his art in this issue looked a bit awkward like for instance, Batman shoves the tips of his fingers into the visor of Heretic's helmet, but due to the art it looks like it's the sleeves of his suit that's going in, and it isn't actually easy to notice that it's his hand, but besides that the art was brilliant. Jason Masters also did a good job on the four pages he drew, and although his art isn't as good as Burnham's, it's still better a lot of artists, and suited the sequences it featured in.
Damian's funeral was probably the best part about this issue, or at least in my opinion. I really felt the emotion coming from the characters, especially when Bruce, Dick, Alfred, and Tim Drake carried the coffin to the hole, as although he was battered and bruised you could see that nothing but the loss of his son was on his mind, and maybe also the thought of revenge. The other thing I liked about this sequence came in a later part, and that was when Bruce started to blame Alfred for letting Damian leave the Batcave, and even though Damian showed that he could have done it on his own, you can still kind of see how Alfred is to blame, even though he really isn't. I personally saw this coming, and I couldn't believe nothing happened between the two characters in Batman and Robin #18, but I think that was mainly due to Batman and Robin being a silent issue, and the fact that Peter J. Tomasi would have wanted to leave that for Morrison in this issue. I do however question why Alfred was still there in Batman and Robin, as Bruce told him to take a vacation (must have been a short one).
The fight between Batman and Heretic was also brilliant, and you couldn't half see the anger in Batman during this fight. I also found it interesting that Heretic had the brass to challenge Batman, saying boldly that he killed his son, and although this is a natural thing for Heretic to sat, especially considering his characteristics, I still found it shocking, and thought that it made the sequence more dramatic. I also found it interesting that Nightwing git involved in the fight, as although Heretic's much too big for one man to fight, I'd have thought he'd have gave Batman some space. At the same time you could say that Nightwing's emotions could be enough reason to want a piece of Heretic, plus the fact that Batman didn't exactly have the upper hand at this point. The fight overall was very entertaining, and although there were the odd problem art wise, it was much better than any of the fights from the last few issues. I also liked how during this fight that Damian's face was covered by his cape, giving some respect to the departed character.
WARNING: SMALL SPOILER IN NEXT PARAGRAPH!
It was also nice to see the aftermath of the death of the Knight (Cyril Sheldrake), as with everything that happened last issue, along with the fact that all these events have meant to have happened the same night hasn't given any chance to show the effects it has on the characters of this series, and more so Squire. I did however find it interesting that it showed the effect it had on the United Kingdom as a nation, as with Knight being their main superhero it would be a blow to them. It was also nice that he got a hero's death, and that the Prince William, and Harry attended. The part of this sequence that interested me the most however was the reaction to Squire, as she was awful upset, curled up on the sofa watching the news coverage on the TV, but then she decides to become Knight herself. This isn't a shock, and it actually makes sense, as after the first Knight's (Percy Sheldrake) death, his son Cyril (who at the time was Squire) became Knight, so it makes sense that now he's dead that the current Squire becomes Knight.
Talia al Ghul's reaction to the death of her son Damian was also showed in this issue, and although I won't go into massive detail as to avoid spoilers, I will say what I though about the sequence. I found what Talia had to say to the Heretic very interesting, and I also found it interesting that you get to see more characteristic come from Heretic during this sequence, as well as a awkward emotional response from Talia. Last issue we saw Talia kind of upset at the death of her son Damian, so I wonder how she'll cope with it in the long run, as although his death may have been for the greater good in her plan, she's still most likely going to be upset over the fact, and although I won't exactly how she reacted in this issue, I will say that I look forward to seeing her reaction throughout the rest of Morrison's run.
This was a brilliant issue, and probably the most emotional Requiem issue bar Batman and Robin #18, and is also probably the best Requiem issue bar Batman and Robin #18. Morrison's run is almost near it's end, and he isn't half going out in a big way, and I hope he can keep as much excitement as this issue had throughout the remaining issues. I would easily recommend this issue to anyone, whether you want to get one of the better Requiem issues, or a fan of the series already, as it's a very emotional issue.