The Professor Pyg two-parter has finally come to a conclusion! As Batman Inc. closes in on their quarry, Ghost-Maker faces an unexpected temptation.
Ghost-Maker uses the hunt for Lazlo “Professor Pyg” Valentin as an exercise for Batman Inc. In the previous issue, Pyg somehow manages to capture major Gotham villains in search of his stolen “mother” effigy. The thieves responsible turn out to be a pair of teenagers from Blüdhaven. Naturally, Pyg confronts the teens with a chainsaw, and luckily Batman Inc. are there to save them. In a sense, Batman Inc. lives up to Ghost-Maker’s challenge. However, it insinuates that the heroes have something to prove in the first place.
Incidentally, the youngest members of Batman Inc. who actually need to prove themselves capture Pyg and the Dollotrons. While Ghost-Maker attributes the success of the campaign to Clownhunter’s investigative work, their accomplishment was a team effort from Raven Red and Jiro. Ed Brisson uses Clownhunter’s relationship with the Haven kids to convey Bao’s loss of innocence. It is easy to forget that the character never wanted to be a vigilante. On the other hand, Raven Red has been following his father’s footsteps his entire life. As sidekicks, they both were unable to have normal childhoods. Moreover, the conflict with Pyg steels the resolve of both Raven Red and Clownhunter to remain heroes.
As for Ghost-Maker, the promise he made to Batman is once again put to the test when he finds Pyg’s lair. Instead of finding Professor Pyg, Ghost-Maker and El Gaucho stumble onto all of the captured villains. Although Ghost-Maker refuses to disobey Batman’s orders, he fumes about how easy it would be to kill all of them. Yet, I believe this isn’t an example of how much he has changed, but foreshadowing his regression. His restraint gives El Gaucho the confirmation he needs to acknowledge him as a leader, but worries me that murder was ever an option at all.
Batman Incorporated has a lot of action film sensibilities. Nearly every page has at least one panel with a dramatic Dutch angle. Michele Bandini’s staging of the figures and backgrounds has a cinematic momentum. Characters have notable expressive motion and liveliness whether they are talking or leaping through the air. While I don’t fully understand the creepy effigy, it fits Professor Pyg’s “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” inspired look. Meanwhile, the hatching, lighting, and colors give the decently illustrated parks, junkyards, and warehouse settings a grimy look. Additionally, I get a kick out of Clayton Cowles’ bold lettering for the lively sound effects.
Nevertheless, there are various irritating details with the artwork and story. Firstly, the entire final fight with the Dollotrons is problematic. Brisson makes the heroes ambush Pyg, rescue the kids, return to finish the fight, end up taken hostage anyway, then confusingly negotiate for their release. It makes Batman Inc. look exactly like the incompetent fools Ghost-Maker thinks they are. In the midst of this, the team violently battles the Dollotron henchmen. Maybe I am still assuming that they are still victims of brainwashing and trafficking, but it made me uncomfortable to see them treated with little regard. Furthermore, I could not understand how Jiro uses his rope kunai-like weapon to wrest the chainsaw from Pyg. Not only is it like threading a needing with nunchaku, but wraps around the handle several times!
- You still a read Batman Inc. regularly.
- You can’t wait to tolerate more Ghost-Maker and Clownhunter character development.
- Professor Pyg is your favorite Batman rogue.
I believe Ed Brisson partly addresses my hopes for this arc to refocus on the team and develop their chemistry. This storyline allows readers to get more of an understanding of Raven Red and Clownhunter’s feelings. In contrast, I think Ghost-Maker’s character becomes far more worrying. While the action is entertaining and fun to look at, I don’t support Batman Inc. revisiting Gotham at all. This issue literally illustrates that there are far too many heroes that live in Gotham to need Batman Inc. sniffing around as well. Overall, while the story seems to be on a good track, there is a long way to go before it feels like the right direction. I sincerely hope Joker Inc. is the arc that sets the pace that brings the book up to speed!
Disclaimer: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.