July 02, 2011

Reviews of BATMAN INC. #7

The BATMAN INC. comic book is showcasing "Batmen" from around the world. Issue #7 features Chief Man-of-Bats and his sidekick Raven, a Lakota dynamic duo.

Wednesday Comics Review:  Batman Incorporated #7 And FF #5

By Rich JohnstonIn Batman, we meet the Sioux Indian chief and Batman Inc operative, Man-Of-Bats, working as a hospital doctor and running a shoddy-in-comparison Batman operation. His dilapidated operation in comparison to Bruce Wayne’s Gotham is demonstrated time after time in quite comic fashion, a shoddy pick up truck painted black with a Bat logo painted on the side, and a Bat Cave that’s not only not hidden, but a log cabin with a big sign outside, with tour offers for $15. “Batman On A Budget.”Batman Incorporated #7 Review

By Erik NorrisThe only crime committed with this issue of Batman, Inc. is that it doesn't set up more adventures for Man-of-Bats and his son, Raven. Grant Morrison's handling of these two characters in this issue has quickly placed them as my two favorites in this extended Incorporated cast.

Up until this point, Morrison has only shown us a sliver of what these characters are like when operating away from Batman's large, looming shadow. And while Batman does obviously show face here in issue #7, it's the parts before his arrival which are truly special. In some ways, South Dakota is almost worst off than Gotham. Instead of gimmicky villains causing terrorism, South Dakota is plagued by extreme poverty. It's a facet of this issue that Morrison plays up in order to show the humanitarian qualities that Man-of-Bats and Raven show for their community.

Batman Incorporated #7–Review

By Minhquan NguyenMorrison has always made sure each of these Batman candidates has enough grit and chops to deserve the distinction, and Man of Bats is no different. This is a man who says, without irony, “I’ll put the first five of you in full body casts for eighteen months. Even wounded.” And by wounded he means gruesomely stabbed in the gut. Good Lord, this guy fought in Iraq and came home to work as a doctor on his reservation—how can you not respect that?

Each of these Batmen represent an aspect of the original: Nightrunner protects the people who revile him; El Gaucho puts fighting for justice over his debonair, billionaire lifestyle; Man of Bats polices his select domain to protect it from itself. Placing that domain on a Native American reservation could’ve opened the story to any number of politically dicey clich├ęs, but Morrison avoids them by giving everyone some measure of depth, even Sam Black Elk, who despite being a dog-kicking, drug-dealing, wannabe gangster lord, offers a surprisingly credible motivation for his gang: they fight “the laws that keep us down.”

By Greg McElhattonPlease, DC, please? A Man-of-Bats mini-series once "Batman Incorporated" is over? Based on this issue alone, I'd be down for it and then some. This is great stuff.Comment:  I haven't read this issue yet, but I saw some pages online. It looks decent--a realistic take on reservation life. In contrast to, say, SCALPED, where the tribal chief is a mobster who kills and scalps people. And where the majority of characters are criminals, thugs, and lowlifes.

For more on the subject, see Indian in RETURN OF BRUCE WAYNE #4 and Chief Man-of-the-Bats.

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