Previously on Batman Incorporated: Covering Issues #1-3
Death of the Boy Wonder (#1)
Batman and Robin chase a group of men wearing goat masks through a butcher shop, the goat men killing cows as they go along. As Robin downs one foe, a sniper takes a shot at him, killing the man Robin was fighting. The sniper, known as Goatboy, retreats after the shot. Batman and Robin notice the upside down “Demon Star” brand on the cows and take one of the cows (affectionately called Batcow) as a lead. The dynamic duo go after and stop an eighteen wheeler with the same logo filled with beef from the branded cows. Batman and son then go after the thugs responsible for loading up these trucks. Goatboy returns and attempts to take another shot at Robin, but Batman sneaks up on him and attacks. Following the fight, a battered and beaten Goatboy goes to the secret organization Leviathan to cash in the bounty on Robin. He claims to have wounded Batman and killed Robin, and shows the photographic evidence to prove it.
Talia Al Ghul (#2)
This is the recap issue. Talia is the daughter of Ra's Al Ghul, a villain of Batman who relies on the Lazarus Pit to restore him to life and youth time and time again. Talia was raised to be the perfect assassin and leader but had her life structured by her father. Even when she falls in love with Batman, it was all part of Ra's' plan. Batman and Talia have a kid together, Damian Wayne, now the current Robin, and Talia raises Damian in the same way her father did. In the modern day, Talia is brought before Ra's who insists Talia stop confronting Batman. She reveals herself to be the head of Leviathan and brings Ra's' guards onto her side and captures him. Instead of being mad, Ra's is very proud of his daughter for besting him.
The Return of Matches Malone (#3)
Bruce brings back an old cover identity, “Matches” Malone, a wise-cracking information dealer. Matches heads to one of Gotham's dive bar, the Three-Eyed Jacks, to meet with the gangster Small Fry to try and learn something about Leviathan, but all Fry will tell him is to stay away from Leviathan. The singer, Lumina Lux, is threatened by some guys, but Matches stands up to them with some hired backup of his own. Matches and Lumina exchange numbers and start to talk about Leviathan when “Batman” (Dick Grayson in the costume) interrupts the conversation by threatening Matches. Back at the Batcave, Bruce continues to piece together the Leviathan puzzle while Damian is anxious to get back out on the streets following his supposed death. The next night, Matches returns to the bar but can't find Lumina, but he does meet up with Goatboy who is torn up about “killing Robin” and comes clean with some information about Leviathan. He explains that he was blindfolded to the deal but recognized the part of the city where they took him. He adds that they have a “Frankenstein monster” made out of Batman's DNA. Matches leaves Three-Eyes Jacks and starts to head towards Leviathan's hideout when he's called by Lumina who says she's in trouble. Instead, Matches shows up at the address Lumina gave him and has a plastic bag pulled over his head upon stepping over the threshold. Meanwhile, Damian knocks out Alfred and takes on the guise Redbird to go try to put a stop to Leviathan himself.
Morrison's Weirdness: Morrison gets right back to his Batman creepiness in no time. The fight in the slaughterhouse is just gross, and made so strange when everything is splattered with blood and bodies, and then Robin claims Batcow as evidence. This style extends into the Matches scenes. Morrison has a great handle on that character's voice and placed him in what's frankly kind of a goofy noir scene.
Matches Malone: Matches is an older character from Batman comics, but he's a fun one to have around and a welcome addition to Batman Incorporated. The Matches scenes are just fun and different from the sorts of stories being told in all the other Batman books. I wouldn't want to see him in every issue, but I'd love to get some more Matches and the street-level Gotham underworld now and then.
Slow Start: I think DC made the right decision for them, but the slow start did hurt my esteem of this title. Issue #2 was a necessary recap in order to give anyone new to the Talia/Batman storyline a chance of understanding it, but for those of us already familiar with it, it was a throwaway issue. Then, Batman, Inc. #3 was delayed by a month for a good cause but has nonetheless set this book back.
Reboot, I Don't Seen No Stinkin' Reboot: Even with the recap Issue #2, Batman Incorporated is going to be damn difficult to follow for anyone not familiar with what came before, as the current plot line is bringing in years of stories to make this work.
Batman Incorporated: Despite the name, the other Batmen haven't really been a part of this story. Issue #1 promises they will have a role, but it may be quite a while before we see them come into play and start to become the worldwide organization of Batmen they are supposed to be.
Redbird?: You would think Damian could have come up with an alternate ID, one that was less . . . I don't know, Robin-like? If I were a villain, I wouldn't question for a second that Redbird was Robin in a new costume. Choice of name and colors aside, Damian has been unhappy with his role as Robin for a while now. Even once Leviathan is dealt with, will Redbird be here to stay?
Gotham City Underworld: Batman Incorporated has introduced a lot more small-time crooks like Goatboy and Fry. I'd like to see this trend go forward, as these characters are an interesting part of the Batman mythos and a fun part of Gotham City to play around with.