Comic Vine Review


Batman, Incorporated #3 - The Hanged Man


Matches Malone returns as Leviathan continues to widen its grasp across Gotham City.

Note: This issue was meant to be released on July 25 but was pushed back to August 22.

The Good

What is it about having Matches Malone on the cover that immediately amps up the excitement for this issue? What it means is we get to see another side of Bruce. Another method to the way he solves crime. We get to see him use a different set of skills. That's what Matches Malone is about. Most heroes simply charge into a situation or sit around and wait for something to happen. With the threat of Leviathan, that won't work. Just the way he's written and behaves, you would be convinced that this was a completely separate character from Batman. That's what makes the identity work. Where has "he" been all this time? There is a small mention and it's more than enough to make perfect sense.

Matches Malone is doing his thing to try to pick up any information possible on Leviathan. With the attack against Damian in issue #1, this isn't a matter Bruce can take lightly. Besides bringing back Matches, he's even having Nightwing help out a bit. The world believes Robin is dead (apparently) so that means Robin is "grounded."

Seeing the tiny sprouts of the seeds Morrison has been planting is great. At one point we see "Talia's Web" with all the ties to the recent villains and organizations they've had to deal with in BATMAN INCORPORATED. One reason to stand up and cheer for this is it acknowledges what happened pre-New 52 in the Batman comics and works to reassure us older nit-picking fans that those stories still happened (although there are still a couple characters 'missing' that could still be erased from New 52 continuity). The opening pages showing how Leviathan is spreading was great and makes you shudder for would could be bubbling under the surface of Gotham.

I dig Chris Burnham's art more and more each time I see it. For a gritty look at Gotham and the world of Matches Malone, he captures the feel necessary and just feels right at home in Morrison's story.

Besides this we get an appearance from Bat-Cow and the 'first' appearance of Redbird.

The Bad

Of course the first thing we have to ask is how does this fit in with the other Bat-titles? Robin "died" in issue #1 apparently (last issue took a little break with an interesting look at Talia's life). Will we see repercussions in the pages of BATMAN AND ROBIN? While I do support each Bat-title being able to stand on its own, as a Batman fan and comic book reader, how can we not question continuity?

Being Matches Malone is all about wearing a disguise and taking on a different persona. My question is how could Batman look so much taller when 'standing next to' Matches?

Last issue was great but there's a feeling that something was missed from the last page of the first issue to the events here (since issue #2 was all about Talia and flashbacks).

The Verdict

We're one step closer to Grant Morrison's endgame for Batman and Batman Incorporated. After a slight break in the action in issue #2 and a delay imposed by DC, we're back to seeing the next step in Talia's plan of revenge against Batman and Damian. The world believes Robin is dead, unfortunately this something we really get to see. There's a slight feeling as if we missed an issue but the return of Bruce as Matches Malone along with the tiny details that Chris Burnham's art adds makes this an enjoyable reading experience. Plus, we get to see more Bat-Cow. BATMAN INCORPORATED feels like a ticking time bomb. You know an explosive conclusion is coming and you'll be bracing yourself for any explosions along the way.