Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Batman 2022 Annual #1 Review


Batman (St)Inc.

Writer: Ed Brisson
Artist: John Timms, Rex Locus, and Clayton Cowles
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: May 31, 2022
Cover Price: $5.99

I am surprised we are getting more Batman Inc. after Joshua Williamson's disappointing story in Batman.  Having Ghostmaker run the team is interesting, but I'm wondering if there is room for a Batman Inc. book when something like Batman and the Outsiders didn't sell.  Oh well, I'm not signing the checks, so let's see how this Annual plays out and if it gets me excited for the Batman Inc series coming out in October...

Batman 2022 Annual #1 opens with a young Bruce Wayne and Ghostmaker fighting some baddies and discussing their thoughts and dreams.  Of course, they talk about Batman Inc. and how cool it would be to have a franchised international team.  You know, like McDonald's for the hero set.  

While Ghostmaker never seemed too keen on the idea, people change, and in the present, he has agreed to run Batman Inc.  For the most part it's a money-man thing, but Batman also tells his former teammates that he needs to spend more time in Gotham.  I don't mind the money part (even though nobody can quite put a pin on how much Batman does or doesn't have), but the primary function of Batman Inc. was to do things because Batman didn't have the time.  Unfortunatley, that's not all that Ed Brisson struggles with.  I'm not too fond of his voice for Batman, but that's less concerning than the odd way he portrays Ghostmaker.  Brisson plays him off a bit too jokey for my tastes, and it slightly lessens things at the start.

Most people interested in this Annual are probably here for the team, and I'm not sure if there are enough fans to get upset at the changes.  If you are a Man of Bats fan, you are out of luck for now.  I'm guessing that has a lot to do with Man of Bats outfit, which is a shame because he is an interesting character.  In his place, readers get Raven Red which could be interesting.  I say "could" because Brisson plows ahead with him and the rest of the team with little background or explanation of the characters.  That is a colossal misstep since even the primary Batman Inc. characters are not that well-known.  For example, as far as this continuity goes, Wingman should or at least could be Willis Todd, Jason Todd's Father!  We also get a quick couple of panels of Wang Baixi, the Bat-Man of China.  Readers not familiar with Gene Yang's New Super-Man book will probably have no clue who he is, which is a shame because that book was pretty great.

After Ghostmaker forms the team, they are off on their first mission.  It ties into Lex Luthor and his recent dealings with Batman Inc. Unfortunately, it also deals with Lazarus Resin and is pretty convoluted and boring.  I don't know why we need another book dealing with Lazarus Resin at this stage of the game, but here we are.

While the mission is going on, Ghostmaker deals with Clownhunter, and all it does for me is make me wonder why Clownhunter is still around.  Ghostmaker doesn't want a sidekick, Clownhunter doesn't want to be a sidekick, and I am wondering who Bao's agent is because the guy should get a raise.  I haven't met a Clownhunter fan yet, and I doubt this Annual will increase the number much.

Like I said earlier, the actual mission is convoluted and boring, and in the end, it only seems to be a delivery system for a new character, the Grey Wolf.  I like the character design, but Brisson does so little character work with the team that adding another character immediately feels silly. 

If the mission statement for this Annual was to get everyone on board with this Batman Inc team and excited for the upcoming series, I think it's a fail.  Not an epic fail, but still a fail.  After reading it, I do want to check out the series, but only because I didn't get enough about the characters in this Annual.  That's a whole world of difference from learning about the characters and wanting to continue their adventures.  

The one thing I can wholeheartedly say is that John Timms's art is fantastic.  Every page looks excellent, and the team looks great!  Kudos to Rex Locus for the colors as well!

Bits and Pieces:

Batman 2022 Annual #1 (I'm not too fond of how these are titled) is a backdoor pilot for the upcoming Batman Inc. series, so whether you are excited about that may sway your opinion.  I was lukewarm going in and left feeling much the same.  The art in this book is fantastic, but Ed Brisson struggles a bit with characterization... when he tries to give the reader any.  Most of the book gets tied up in a boring mission that seems to miss the mark of what this book should be doing.



  1. Agree about the rating. What's the problem with the outfit of Man of Bats? And yeah, as a Jason Todd fan I am curious if DC still acknowledges the fact he is Willis Todd. I also don't get why they keep insisting with Clownhunter. I'm not a huge fan of Ghost-Maker either but at least his design looks good so he has something going on for him, Clownhunter looks ridiculous.

    1. Eric said on the podcast that he wouldn't mind if it's actually Jason Todd himself, watching Ghostmaker