First off, this coming Wednesday is our third Ask Nozz Day. So if anyone has any questions about anything, leave a comment or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll have and answer for you.
Second, my buddies Mike Federali and Drew Moss are getting things together for their comic release and have a Kickstarter going for it, so if you show them some love, I'd appreciate it.
And finally, I've got a working razor again so I got rid of my beard. Amen.
Its easy to interpret things wrong. Our preconceived notions of what we're experiencing can throw us off. This is very true with entertainment. If I told you TWILIGHT was a horror series since it has vampires and werewolves in it and you've never seen anything about it, you'd be a bit surprised when you finally got around to reading the books or watching the movies.
That said its easy to read BATMAN INCORPORATED as a superhero story when there's obviously superheroes in it. But that's not quite accurate. It's much like when Mark Waid wrote "Terminal Velocity" and when everybody expected the death of Wally West, Waid delivered a great love story. More recently Grant Morrison wrote a widely misinterpreted story. It wasn't intentionally misleading, but some of the DC staff got all excited by the notion of Batman dying in what was really part of a greater story involving Bruce Wayne's greatest triumph. So everyone was yammering about Bruce Wayne being dead, when that was furthest from the truth. Now he's on to something new. "The Once and Future Batman" epic has been completed, and now Morrison is doing something very different, and again, he's not meaning to mislead folks, but its happening.
Currently we are five issues into this new story. It began with BATMAN: THE RETURN and is continuing with BATMAN INCORPORATED. There's also a lot of tie in books. There's a bad history of books tying into stuff Morrison is doing, but not understanding what Morrison is doing thus making the whole thing weird in a bad way. But let's lay out where we are going into this for those late to this dance.
Bruce Wayne grew up. No more brooding, spiteful, keeping everyone at arm's reach because he really needs a hug and doesn't know how to ask for one. He's still the baddest sum'bitch on the block but now he's finally taking the experiences he's had and being a man about it. He has a family which he loves dearly, and has fully accepted that. He's proud of his sons. And he's doing what he does because he sees the need for it and knows he's best suited for the task at hand. Its not some dark compulsion. And his family is glad to have him back, especially now that he doesn't seem like a half crazed zealot in his war on crime.
But something is afoot. Bruce Wayne knows something is out there that is going to be very dangerous to the world. Its something subtle and secretive, not the kind of thing you can point the Justice League at and have them hammer it into submission. So he formed a "company".
Intelligence organizations have a long standing history of using business terms for going about their business. So on the surface BatCorp is planning on fighting the idea of crime with the idea of Batman. But is that all there is to it?
This Morrison, people. There's never a "that's all there is to it".
Bruce Wayne is the director of operations. He's also operating in the field since this "business" is this in start up mode.
Alfred Pennyworth is the one who keeps everything together. Without him this whole thing goes off the rails. He's Kate Cooke except not as pretty more use in the field.
Now with most intelligence firms there are two divisions. One is internal in dealing with its home turf. Defending the castle as it were. The compliment branch (which is funny to think about since they tend to be pretty competitive with one another) deals with what's going on outside of the home turf. Now, the lead story in BATMAN: THE RETURN was "Planet Gotham", but that's not really the case. Gotham City is still home base and everything that goes on inside it is a domestic affair. Currently Dick Grayson is in charge of all domestic affairs, and he's aided by Damien Wayne as well as Commissioner Gordon and rest of the GCPD.
Now most operatives lend themselves both to foreign and domestic actions since we have seen Grayson operating in France. But again we're still in start-up phase so double duty is to be expected.
Barbara Gordon is crucial to everything. Something she should be used to by now. She's the desk that every bit of information passes in front of. What's more, she has her own personal unit she's in command of to help facilitate operations. Everything goes through her before getting to D-Ops, and she's got discretion and capability to handle things herself should she see fit.
This brings us to our floater operatives. Tim Drake and Stephanie Brown are both fully vetted and have their missions to attend to. Drake is currently dealing with the Unternet situation because this is an intelligence game and having an evil internet in play makes things difficult. Brown mainly operates domestically, but will soon be on assignment to one of the foreign stations. The status of Kate Kane remains up in the air at this time. She's been vetted by Grayson and Wayne seems to approve but she's yet to take direct action for the Corp. The current case she's on is leading directly into BatCorp's affairs, so we'll likely be seeing a lot more of her soon
Now, for the foreign intelligence you can't just read the newspapers or the tea leaves. You need people on the ground. Wikileaks broke a story a while back telling everyone that governments were using embassies for intelligence gathering. There's was a bit of Oscar Mike Golf about it from folks, but anyone with half a clue pretty much rolled their eyes that this passed for news. Currently BatCorp has three stations up and running and a fourth pending that we know about. These station heads are all field trained and have the added value of a secret identity which allows for more effective intel gathering. There was some debate about who really killed Mister Unknown since Jiro laid to rest the identity along with his mentor and took up the new role of Batman Japan. He pretty much has to since his identity was compromised by Lord Death Man. While its doubtful that Lord Death Man worked for BatCorp's competition, and that wouldn't really matter since his sorry ass was shot into space, he did have a few underlings that could be gotten to.
This also makes me wonder about Nightrunner's relationship with the Parisian law enforcement. Wayne approached them directly. On the surface it seems like he wants his agents to have the same relationship and support that he enjoys in Gotham. In the back of my mind I have to wonder if he suspects corruption in their police force that may be linked to Leviathan.
Wayne has also made use of independent contractors in the past and in this endeavor its no different with him employing Catwoman to help on a case. Of course in this instance its not so much about financial compensation as it is a matter of he trusts her to come through for him.
Using superheroes as spies has been done for a quite a while, but not really like this. They have good covers, and are well trained. The public identities can actually work favorably in gaining assets as being superhero often attracts people who want to help.
We've seen Bruce Wayne in a lot of different lights over the years, but I think many of us weren't quite ready to see him as a spymaster. So as Morrison draws us in deeper and deeper into this fascinating story, keep this in mind. BatCorp is watching.
You never need an excuse for playing Elvis Costello.
Alrighty then, that'sll do it for today. Remember Ask Nozz day is Wednesday. I've had some good questions so far and would like to keep this ball rolling. See y'all then.