Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Quick question: Just how rebooted is the newly rebooted Batman, Incorporated...?
In general, I enjoyed the series quite a bit, and I'll write more about it in greater detail at some point in the near future, but one thing kept nagging me while I was reading it.
Morrison continued his "Every Batman story happened" approach to Batman continuity, with a surprising amount of plot details pulled from Batman comics from the 1950s, and characters pulled from Bat-comics from the 1940s, '60s and 90s, and even early 2000s. While there are a lot of little references and allusions to "get," it's hardly necessary that you need to do so (In fact, this "Deluxe Edition" is apparently made deluxe simply by having Morrison point out all the cameos and character origins in a back-matter feature). But it is very rooted in Batman continuity, particularly that of Morrison's own creation, but he uses the entire Bat-family as it stood at the time of the series creation in the story.
It was gnawing in the back of my mind as I was reading, and sort of exploded at the climactic, cliffhanger ending, that the New 52boot has undone a lot of the characters Batman teams up with in this book.
For example, in this book, Barbara Gordon is Oracle (and a digital Batgirl fighting cyber-crime in the Internet via avatar), Stephanie Brown is Batgirl, Cassandra Cain is The Black Bat, Dick Grayson was Robin and is now (also) Batman and Tim Drake was Robin and is now Red Robin. A particular version of The Outsiders superhero team appears.
I haven't read any New 52 Bat-books yet, but I understand Gordon was apparently never Oracle, we're not sure if Stephanie Brown or Cassandra Cain ever even existed or not, so they certainly weren't Batgirl. Whheter or not Tim Drake was ever Robin seems to be something still under discussion, and depends on who you ask at DC. I know Grayson has gone back to being Nightwing...was he ever Batman? Did they explain why he went back to being Nightwing instead of Batman in the pages of his own series?
There's so much continuity referenced in this book, and a lot of it probably doesn't matter overmuch—like, whether Batman had an Ace, The Bat-Hound in the New 52iverse, or not—but it really doesn't look like it would work in a five-year timeline, and, if nothing else, few members of the supporting cast seem like they could still "work" if this were read from the perspective of The New 52, and even the villain and the villain's motivation becomes...suspect, given the reboot.
Anyway, I know the New 52 iteration just started—issue #3 is in shops this week—so maybe a lot of this isn't even clear yet, but if any of you have been reading Batman Inc and/or the other Batman titles since the reboot, I'm curious to know just how rebooted the new volume of the series is.
In the Chris Burnham-drawn image above, Batman Dick Grayson is apparently working up a thirst in the pages of last winter's Batman, Incorporated: Leviathan Strikes, and is asking his sidekick for a drink.