This one might be a bit divisive. So I’ll make your decision on whether or not to buy this easy:
Do you like the campy characters from Batman Inc. Volume 1 (El Gaucho, Knight & Squire, Dark Ranger, etc.)? If so, then you’ll probably enjoy this. If you didn’t like all of those colorful characters then you’ll see this as filler and a waste of time.
I thought it was pretty boring. It recaps the events of volume 1 and some of Morrison’s Batman run but it doesn’t really do it in a way that I think would be accessible to new readers. It’s too much for them to take in. If you want to get into Batman Inc. then you should just pick up the first TPB. This issue is scene after scene of Batman meeting with one of the Inc. recruits and then moving on. It’s great for those who love these oddball Morrison creations, but the uninitiated or those who never cared for these characters in the first place are going to find themselves wishing issue #4 had come out instead. In my opinion, Batman Inc. was a series that didn’t need a zero issue. Issue #2’s Talia Al Ghul origin (a 10/10 book if I’ve ever seen one) was good enough for me. After waiting so long for Volume 2 to get started it now feels like it’s having trouble getting off the ground! The first issue was great, then the 2nd issue was great but it rewound the clocks to the very beginning and didn’t progress the plot. Then the 3rd issue was delayed a full month and now we have a zero issue that did nothing but remind us of the series cast from over a year ago. I’m ready to move forward.
Something else that really bugged me about this issue was the artwork. Frazer Irving is a fine artist but his work here didn’t fit the tone of the story at all. His style is far too static and moody for a tale as lighthearted and energetic as this. There were a lot of funny lines in this book that didn’t hit home because of the visuals. The art and script didn’t blend well at all in my eyes.
I was let down by this. It’s a zero issue that didn’t need to be told, it had no real sense of purpose, and the artwork didn’t fit the tone of the story. If you like all the throw-back Morrison characters then ignore my score and go pick this book up. You’ll love it. But I was looking for more than cameos and was bored while reading this.