While Scott Snyder’s Zero Year run on “Batman” has been good thus far, I can’t help but think his story would have been better suited structured as this issue was. This annual did two things particularly well. The first thing it did was connect something that happened early on in Batman’s career with the present. Essentially, it told a mini Zero Year story while tying it to events in the present. What’s great about that is that it reveals the long term effects of the villains and heroes in Gotham, which also makes the events of Zero Year not seem so inconsequential. This issue also does a great job of portraying the negative side to Batman. There will always be a debate whether or not Batman is good for Gotham or not. Whether villains like Joker and the Riddler are drawn to Gotham because of Batman or if Batman is the only thing stopping them from taking over. This issue does a great job of demonstrating how sometimes villains actually are created because of Batman’s actions. This isn’t to say that Batman is solely to blame or that this villain wouldn’t have become a villain if not for Batman, but it does bring up the question once again whether or not Batman does more good than bad for Gotham. 4/5
Batman: Detective Comics Annual #2
Writers: John Layman and Joshua Williamson
Artists: Scot Eaton, Szymon Kidranski, Jaime Mendoza, Jeremy Cox, and Brett Sm
Cover Artists: Andy Clarke and Brett Smith
The great thing about Annuals is that writers are allowed to shine a spotlight on characters who may otherwise be unable to maintain an entire arc or to introduce a character who will soon be a major character. In this case, John Layman and Joshua Williamson use this issue to do both. The issue mostly surrounds Lieutenant Harvey Bullock and Jane Doe. Bullock, a previously dirty cop is now one of Gordon’s trusted allies, but he’s not exactly the best at what he does. On the flip side, Jane Doe can effortlessly take on the persona of whomever she chooses, and she is the best at what she does. Layman and Williamson establish a great story here with stolen identities, broken hearts, and a nice bit of action thrown in as well. Jane Doe’s introduction here is likely forewarning her introduction in the main series, which is nice because while she’s similar to Clayface, she’s ultimately a much more well rounded character. 3.5/5
And with a bang, so ends the era of Grant Morrison. “Batman Incorporated #13” wraps up Morrison’s 7- year epic with a pretty bow on top. There is quite a lot that Morrison is able to fit into one issue and to be frank, it would be pointless to list them all one by one. That being said, this issue incorporates everything that has been great about Morrison’s run into a nice, tight package. What has been exceptionally great with this run is that there have been consequences, dire consequences even in this issue. Unlike the case with many story arcs these days, Morrison’s run didn’t leave Batman exactly where he was seven years ago. For better or for worse, things have significantly changed in the Batman universe, and considering the propensity to leave things the way they are in comics, it’s a nice change. Chris Burnham and Nathan Fairbairn, who have been the very definition of consistent this entire run, continue to produce stellar art. Their collaboration has not only assisted Morrison’s final arc, but in many ways has improved and defined it. 4.5/5
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