Artist: Jorge Lucas
I've really been enjoying this series in recent months, and it's been much better than the previous Batman, Incorporated series, being much more dramatic, and eventful, having a proper story structure.
In Japan a female motorcycle gang who work for a Leviathan side group are on a rampage, and it's up to Batman of Japan, and Canary to stop them.
When I started reading this I wasn't too sure whether to love it or hate it, but as I progressed through the issue I surprisingly really enjoyed it, and it was a really fun interlude, and Chris Burnham has done a decent job on his first issue writing on his own (he previously co-wrote Batman, Incorporated #0 - Brand Building with regular Batman Inc. writer Grant Morrison). At the same time I'd have still preferred to continue reading the main story, as with only a couple of issues left it's slightly annoying to have to wait longer to finish it. The story was however very fun, and the interaction between Batman of Japan, and Canary was very entertaining, but I'll talk more on that a bit later. Burnham also did a decent job of the action in this issue, as besides it being fun, and entertaining, it was also very exciting, which was nice. There was however still the odd negative thing about this issue, as it started very slow, and dull, and the dialogue was at times a bit awkward, and weird, not feeling natural. In saying all this it was a brilliant job for his first solo written issue, and I'm sure he will get better with time. In addition, Burnham also did an amazing job with the cover, and I really loved the simplicity of it.
With Burnham taking over writing duties for this issue it left the door open for a different artist to also show his stuff for one issue, and that artist was Jorge Lucas. I've never seen Lucas' art before, and to be honest I wasn't sure what to make of it. To be honest the art was a little too rough for me, as although I like rough art (when it works for the story) this was a little too rough, and nowhere near as good as Burnham's art. I also didn't much like the way Lucas inked his art, as the lines were too bold, which made his art even less appealing. It wasn't however all bad, as there were some positives, as he handled the action sequences very well, making them very explosive, and entertaining. He also did an excellent job of showing the character's facial expressions, as you could easily see what the character's were feeling, which was nice. Another thing about Lucas' art that I wasn't sure whether to love or hate was the layouts, as there were times were it was nothing short of amazing, and others were it felt a bit out of place, and weird. Overall Lucas did a decent job, and there are a lot worse artists than him, but I can't say that I'm not looking forward to Burnham returning to art next issue, cause I am.
This issue featured the Batman of Japan, and although when I heard about this I was upset that it would be delaying the conclusion of the main story, I was happy that it was one of the character's that I preferred in the original series. Being the first member recruited to Batman Inc. way back in the first issue of the original series it was only right that he would be the Batman Inc. member to have his own story feature in this issue. What I like about Batman of Japan is that he's a little clumsy, and easily confused, and this makes him a very fun, and unique character. In saying that he still has a lot of skill, and when it comes to the crunch he can get the job done.
One of the things that caught my attention early on in the issue was Batman of Japan's date with Canary. Now I know nothing about this character apart from what I've picked up in this issue, and she just appears to be a miniature version of Black Canary with wings. I did however enjoy the interaction between Canary, and Batman of Japan, especially during their date, as you could tell that they cared for each other, but at the same time wanted independence. I did also like how during their date they used Internet 3.0, which we've not seen in a while, and it really made it much more interesting, and the way that Internet 3.0 would also be used later in the issue was brilliant.
The main threat in this issue was a group of female motorcyclists that are part of a side group of Leviathan. Now when I first opened this issue I wasn't too sure what to make of these character's, but as the story developed I started to find them quite interesting. Now they may not be the most interesting character's ever created, but they did have their good point, and the attitude that they had was very interesting, and entertaining. I also found the secret that these women were hiding to be even more interesting, and even shocking, but I won't go into any more details as to avoid spoilers.
Now these girls worked for a woman named Lady Tiger Fist, who was appropriately named. Now I wasn't fond of Lady Tiger Fist as a character, as she was your typical female antagonist, looking to get back into the good books of her master. I did however like that she was a character that you could easily hate, as although there are villains like Joker, and Riddler that you can't help but love, it's nice to have a villain that you as a reader despise, and that's what Lady Tiger Fist was.
The action in this issue was very interesting, and entertaining, and also very fun. It was however slightly awkward at times, and although I loved it being fun, I wasn't too sure if I liked how it made Batman of Japan look like a fool at times. At the same time there were certain parts in the fight sequences that were very cleverly thought out, and the fact that it wasn't easy for Batman of Japan, and Canary made it that much more exciting. I also loved how during the fighting that Batman of Japan, and Canary weren't totally in sync with each other, not wanting the other to fight on their behalf, which again made the fight that much more interesting, and exciting.
Although I'm not necessarily happy about the series taking a detour, this was a very fun, and entertaining issue, and a nice change from the normal dark mood that this series has had as of late. I also loved seeing the Batman of Japan again, and how he worked with his partner Canary, and although the issue did have it's flaws, it was overall very fun, and thoroughly enjoyable. I would recommend this to anyone that's been getting this series so far, but would recommend caution towards other readers, as although I enjoyed it, you may not, as it's the type of issue that you either like, or hate.