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This issue turned out to be more impressive than I thought: an interesting story with lots of characters that are written in the perfect way, and even the art had its moment! There are still plenty of things that keep this issue from being perfect, specifically one: Catgirl.
Our caped crusader Dick Grayson meets Sasha Lo in this issue, an interesting new character with an affinity for tights herself.
Tony Daniel’s story revolves around Dick Grayson. Unlike Daniel’s previous portrayal of Dick as Batman (Batman #699) Daniel gives him his own distinct personality that is much appreciated from the tired old Bruce Wayne clone. The dialogue between he and Damian is also amusing, and makes it feel like Dick is similar to an older brother to Damian with all his teasing.
Unfortunately, you will not find a lot of the Bruce Wayne Batman as you all probably wanted – he’s only in this issue for two or three pages, but the time he is there he is written well and his presence is a great addition to the comic. Sasha Lo is also an interesting new addition to the cast with a lot of mystery surrounding her. She is a welcomed addition to this issue, unlike another character’s appearance…
Catgirl, as I mentioned before, is set to play an important part in this arc. She does not seem like it, though. She is given minimal panel time, and the short time she is in the comic people are reminded of the numerous reasons why she has failed as a character: she tries to be a clone of Catwoman, but is instead portrayed as a young Stephanie Brown (a.k.a. Batgirl) character, seemingly a worthless addition to the team, according to Batman and numerous readers. Catgirl’s appearance does mean readers are treated to a quick appearance made by Catwoman. I wish I did see her a bit longer after her poor portrayal in Batman Inc. #1 and her solid portrayal here. The artwork also helped her, but had a fatal flaw that hurt her character a bit.
A rarity in comics, writer Tony Daniel also illustrated this issue, which is probably why his artwork was only a semi-decent job. Selena’s eyes are beautiful, and I could feel myself getting lost in her seductively green irises. The choice of putting her in a sparkling pink dress, however, shocked me. The Catwoman I know is one in sleek black leather. It does not detract from the story, but does not help her character.
Other problems in Daniel’s art are his seemingly aggressive use of lines: he uses so many on all his characters that are not necessary and hurt the overall artwork. He should stick to drawing Catwoman’s eyes…
While the title may have the Batman Incorporated label, the actual event is only mentioned on one page. So for those looking for a continuation to the Batman Inc. storyline, you won’t find it here. If you are, however, looking for solid storytelling and some of the best character portrayals in a long while, this is a great issue, and a good jumping on point as the first part of a four issue story arc. This issue mostly sets up the story, but it does a great job of entertaining us along the way. Another great Dick Grayson portrayal here, and if I can steal a line from Daniel to summarize this feat, it would have to be “that was a total Bruce Wayne move, and now—for the Grayson finish!”
Story – 9.0
Characters – 9.0
Art – 7.5
Overall – 8.5