Overview: After challenging the team to break Batman’s cardinal sin to never take a life in order to save others last issue, in Batman Incorporated #10, what else can Ghost-Maker do to get the rest of Batman Inc. to thwart the efforts of the Joker and Joker Incorporated?
Title: Joker Incorporated, Part 3
Writer: Ed Brisson
Artists: John Timms, David Lafuente, and Michele Bandini
Colorist: Rex Lokus
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Cover Price: $3.99/$4.99
Release Date: July 11th, 2023
Please Note: This comic book review may contain spoilers.
Simply put, I have been loving Batman Incorporated and I am not afraid to admit having been wrong since the first issue. To be fair, I thought the series began quite slowly. And I felt a little turned off at the fact that some of the members stayed behind in their home cities. Since then, however, Ed Brisson and John Timms have been knocking it out of the park. “Joker Incorporated” has been the best thus far. Batman Incorporated #10 kicks off part 3 of this arc. It quickly picks up where the last issue left off – with action.
This month’s issue kicks off in China, where we find Bat-Man searching for Alpaca. And it doesn’t take long for him to find his sister. She’s continuing her treachery as the Chinese member of Joker Incorporated. One thing that I question as this arc moves forward is whether or not the members of Joker’s team actually know what’s about to happen to them? While not clearly stated – save for one we’ll get into momentarily – but it actually adds to how good the story has been. Granted, as seen in the first issue of the arc, Tap Dance Man didn’t have a clue before Brisson wrote him out with an untimely death. As the story begins, Alpaca is warning of something terrible about to happen, but it’s clear she doesn’t know her actual role in the matter is closer than she expects. Fortunately for her, her brother, Bat-Man, knows.
This main question and answer flow into the next segment involving Dark Ranger and Carvus Cawl in Australia. As Wingman lays dead, Cawl seems oblivious to what’s about to happen to him since Joker activated the device placed in him. For him, it’s simply about the fight that’s coming between he and Dark Ranger. It leads to another question. How does Joker succeed in implanting these various devices into those who would become his guinea pigs to his trek to take down Batman’s most sacred rule? While I doubt it’ll ever be revealed, someone knows.
The Spin-Off We Never Thought We Needed
It’s ironic that the only member of Joker Incorporated who knows of Joker’s dastardly plans is Dai Laffyn. It’s ironic because Brisson matched the Joker of London against my newest favorite couple – Knight and Gray Wolf. As the story goes, Dai Laffyn – likely my favorite villain name right now – not only figured out Joker’s plan. He also succeeded in removing it without it being triggered. How does he do it? Well, he isn’t telling. He tasks the new couple to figure it out for themselves, but not before laying them out for their efforts to take him down. Why does Brisson write him as the only member of Joker Incorporated thus far to thwart Joker’s plan?
Full disclosure, this is not speculation. I have no scoops. This is the hopes and dream of a simple comic book reviewer. That being said, I hope Laffyn’s survival is a sign from Brisson that more is to come. The British villain hints at it as he leaves Knight and Gray Wolf laid out after their very brief skirmish. I truly appreciate how Brisson writes the interaction with these three. There’s a history between Dai Laffyn and the former Squire. While this arc serves as the first times readers see the character, he has a place in Batman history. He was first mentioned in an earlier volume of Batman and Robin. While Dick Grayson and the original Knight visited the infamous Basement-101 prison during Grant Morrison’s run on the title, they mentioned Laffyn by name. I always appreciate it when writer’s stick to history and continuity.
My hope, however, is that Dai Laffyn’s final words to Knight before leaving not only means they’ll be subsequent mini arcs between the three. I would not be mad if DC spun things off with. these three in a title of their own. Brisson created great chemistry between these three characters. That’s not to say chemistry doesn’t exist amongst the others (for example, El Gaucho and Ghost-Maker). However, the interaction between these three, plus the building romance between the two teammates have so much potential.
The Promise to Batman’s Scared Rule is Stronger Than Thought… or Is It?
I questioned in my last review who, other than Ghost-Maker, would consider breaking Batman’s cardinal rule to never take a life. Wingman quickly jumps at the chance. Surely, I thought, more would fall in line behind Ghost-Maker after weighing the risks. Then again, we’re talking Wingman… Jason Todd’s father. Of course, he’d jumped at the chance just because. In the end, it appears that decision cost him his life.
One would question whether or not Brisson’s story kills Dark Ranger as well after he pushed Cawl, explosive device triggered, into the hole. Others initially appeared torn as well, considering the predicament Joker placed them in (“The needs of the many,” to quote a wise Vulcan). They would come around by the end of the issue with Nightrunner and El Gaucho finally standing up to Ghost-Maker. Bat-Man went even further by telling Batman Inc’s leader that he would have to kill Bat-Man to get anywhere close to his sister.
The commitment to Batman’s cardinal rule would end there, however. In South Dakota, a battle is beginning to brew between Raven Red and Dusty Bronco, the Joker of the US. He has no problem killing the western clown considering what Bronco did in shooting his dad, Chief Man-of-Bats. He has no issue in taking the life of the man who almost killed his dad. The only ones there to stop him are Bao and Jiro. However, they’ve both been injured and trapped at the hands of Dusty Bronco. It’s looks like there are rumbles about to happen on both sides of the Pacific Ocean basin. I am here for them both.
Art That Continues to Amaze
It would be careless of me if I don’t mention once again how absolutely beautiful the art from John Timms has been putting out, not just in this issue/arc/whatever, but for the entire series. Compared to his other work, particularly the Jon Kent Superman story. His art in Batman Incorporated has taken a complete 180° from Superman just a while. the lines look much cleaner than before. Perhaps it’s the assistance in drawing from Michele Bandini and David Lafuente. The transitions were nearly undetectable. Perhaps it’s the coloring coming from Rex Lokus. Whatever it is. The work needs to continue.
Batman Incorporated continues to be one of the titles I read first when it is released. I highly recommend others to pick it up as well. You will not be disappointed.
Editor’s Note: DC Comics provided TBU with a copy of this comic for review purposes. You can find this comic and help support TBU in the process. Purchase this issue digitally on ComiXology through Amazon. You can also get a physical copy of the title through Things From Another World.