MR. UNKNOWN IS DEAD
Pg. X: Grant reintroduces a lot of that 60’s vibe by occupying Catwoman’s current costume and look post-Brubaker/Cooke with a lot more Julie Newmar. Batman robs blind a super-gemstone from Doctor Sivana. Don’t forget this particular bit, it’s sure to come up.
Pg. X: Catwoman reads what Mr. Unknown (Senior) has been researching. THREE UNIDENTIFIED MURDER VICTIMS. John Does. Much like how Doctor Dedalus’ trap revolves around the number three in the next storyline, Lord Death Man’s also begins with three. Three “unknowns” points to killing Mr. Unknown. The aquatic death trap points to Aquazon. First instance of the importance of the number THREE, but keep in mind … Batman Incorporated is the “THIRD” Season of Grant’s Batman Series.
Pg. X: The three missing men – the John Does – were buried alive. Death Man’s original premise was to be buried alive. During R.I.P., Bruce Wayne was buried alive. Coincidence?
The “Elemental Chain of Death”. The John Does were BURIED alive. EARTH. The Mister Unknowns were to be killed by WATER. Aquazon … hard to say, since Death Man was driving a car blazing a machine gun, but traditionally Japanese (and quite a few other, notably Buddhism) subscribe to a FIVE ELEMENTS philosophy (Earth, Wind, Fire, Water, Void/Heaven). Whatever Oroboro is supposed to be, Dedalus hints that it might be a FIFTH form of matter. (Solid, Gas, Liquid, Plasma, Filaments). Presumably, Lord Death Man might have been leaving the same clues about Leviathan that Scorpiana and
“I suspect an upgrade”. Lord Death Man is upgraded. Dirty metagenes? We find out that Scorpiana has upgrades as well. Could they have received them from the same guy – Sheikh Farouk from “The Return”? At any rate, we know Leviathan deals in this trade. Create-Your-Own-Supervillain. Except
Something to note – Lord Death Man is in a space capsule orbiting the MOON, not the Earth. I guess if they need him, Superman could go fetch him.
Who was Selina’s client?
The speculation really steps up once the Argentina/Falklands arc begins.
Is Doctor Dedalus the one who captured the Metalek Xenoformer?
Others have mentioned this before – Super-Hero team Victory Vs get murdered. Only The Knight survives, this being Percival (which means he didn’t die until oh, the early 80’s. Probably during Dick Grayson’s last year as Robin, or right around when The Outsiders are formed and Jason Todd shows up. Young Cyril is likely off at college and Knight has joined a Super-Team to keep busy. The Outsiders thing feels quite apt, actually, as the Victory Vs seem like kind of a quirky, obscure group. Once again, Knight is kind of ripping off Batman’s latest trends. Anyway, everyone gets killed EXCEPT Percy (who gets killed pretty quickly afterward by Springheeled Jack).
Others have speculated that the only reason he survives is because he’s a normal human being. Better than average, but still just a man. Later we learn that Dedalus has a “Meta-Bomb”.
No need to go too far into the inspirations for the short-lived Victory Vs, other than to say that their style and personas peg them as purely 80’s. DC’s
Pg. X: Can’t be a coincidence that Papagayo “The Parrot’s” meta-weapons lab (he’s a gadget-maker for the super-criminals) is located in an astral observatory. This isn’t the first time Batman’s entrances have been marked as “supernaturally silent” and it won’t be the last, even in this arc.
Pg. X: Tristessa Delicia. “Sad Delight”.
Pg. X: Tango of Death. Scorpiana. Another thematic “death” character. Another follower of Joker’s trends.
Pg. X: The main thread about “THREES”. Expect to see more pairs of threes come up. Expect them to point toward FIVES. Three Blind Assassins were also the killers in the very first scene of the very first Bond movie, “Doctor No” – the tip of the iceberg that was S.P.E.C.T.R.E., and we know that Leviathan is Morrison’s answer to giving Batman his own version of the classic Bond enemy. Grant’s been building toward Bruce as a better James Bond since his very first issue.
El Sombrero completes the theme for “death”. We get another “Skull & Crossbones” (See the acid vial that Lord Death Man kills Unknown with … and hell, Lord Death Man for that matter). It’s rare that Joker fails to kill … but like with Le Bossu, perhaps Joker’s goals with his devoted fanbase was to maim – he saved the killing for the Black Glove.
THE KANE AFFAIR
The Doctor Dedalus we see here conducting, I believe is the real guy. It’s only next issue when he’s been replaced by a double. The dead giveaway is the Cloak of Smoke, and I suppose the “three men” arriving at the end of this issue.
Pg. X: Kane’s Kolossal Karnival. I don’t know if it’s a subtle dig, but people have pointed out the KKK name. While replacing C’s with K’s (especially to match surnames) is a common business practice, one can’t help but think Grant is trying to further point out the dramatic rich white bastardness of Bruce’s maternal side. First there was the WASP references in “Return of Bruce Wayne”, and now this.
We never do get a solid reason for what the connection between Kate’s “Kanes” and the Gotham Kane family are.
Agent-33 continues the repeated use of THREE. But then again, so does Batwoman. There have been THREE Kathy Kanes (Batwoman I, Batwoman II and Kate’s stepmom, and THREE Elizabeth Kanes (Bruce’s grandma, Batgirl I/Flamebird and Mistress Alice (Kate’s sister)).
Nathan Kane died at 47. Batman was already at Year 3 or Year 4 at this point, so Bruce was 25ish. His uncle was roughly 22 years older. Nathan would’ve been 32 when Martha was murdered.
Nathan was with Kathy for 7 years, married only 4 of them. She was 25 when they met, when Nathan was 40. So she was 32 when she became Batwoman, when Bruce was 25ish. And she left Bruce a year later – she was THIRTY-THREE. Christ.
Johnny Valentine has limited speedster moves. Another upgrade courtesy of Leviathan.
Pg. X: Note the super-subtle panel composition of Kathy (Ariadne) in the background, and the foreground is her ACTUAL Sewing Machine.
Pg. X: More Chris Burnham drawn Bat-Cave. This guy seriously needs to do an “Ultimate Guidebook”.
More Black and Red. There’s always more black and red. Key thing to note here is what appears to be black and red is happening in Kathy’s mind? In that case is it also happening in Doctor Dedalus’s mind? So therefore is the black/red stuff next issue happening in his mind? Is he able to infiltrate people’s minds? Is his control over this fifth element, fifth form of matter, what allows Leviathan to control children’s minds?
“Advanced Meta-Materials”. Military codename. Ultimate weapon. Snake eating its own tale. Filaments. Mirrors. A ring around the world. Satellite base. But if it’s a satellite weapon, what do they need brainwashed zealots for? Weather control seems likely, though. This is what Bruce means when he says things have been covert. Oh, sure, assassination attempts against him and his allies. But what do OROBORO, the Heretic, and all the rest have in common?
So what did Dedalus want in the
Bruce Wayne has seen glimpses of the future. He’s planning – preparing – to FIGHT the FUTURE. On an interesting meta-textual level, we’ve often constructed scenarios where Grant Morrison has been using his stories to “combat” the negative influences of other writers from the same 80’s fulcrum that he came out of. Mandrakk the Dark Monitor was Alan Moore, Grant was shiny Dax Novu taking him down with creativity rather than watching the decrepit old thing leech the life out of the DCU. All-Beard vs. No-Beard. The list goes on and on. There was some talk to whether Rox Ogama might be a Frank Miller … conspiring with the darkening of the DCU … furthering it … zealously defending his own interests. I believe Ogama was even the Monitor of the Multiverse that contains Miller’s Dark Knight Returns. Universe.
Grant has on the other hand, used works by Moore and Miller. But what future did Bruce glimpse? There are a lot of Bat-Futures out there. Is he trying to prevent Frank Miller’s future?
I think it’s far more likely that the future he’s trying to prevent is the very same future we have been catching glimpses of all along – and none more strongly than in Batman # 700 (TIME AND THE BATMAN, if you’ll recall). The Damian 666 future where either Bruce or Grayson was killed, Michael Lane went back to being the Third Man, souls were sold, devils were dealing, Damian ends up training Terry McGinnis because Bruce is dead, Iron Heel of Fura. That sort of thing. Tough to say for sure at this time, though, but the operations of LEVIATHAN could be the thing that spurs the Damian 666 future into existence.
Pg. X: Doctor Dedalus raid of ancient caverns talking about primordial fallen empires, presumably in
- Nazi during WWII
- Betrays Nazis, works for
- Goes solo in
- Comes out of retirement in
- Sends Kathy to infiltrate Batman’s operation
- Betrays UN during
- Contacted by Leviathan. Sets up trap for Batman
- Freed from island before Batman gets there
T.H.E.Y.? Now what in the hell could that stand for? Matron?
Batwoman vs. Scorpiana: One of the all-time greatest fights. Notice how Bruce uses his allies to do ground work while he goes in by himself and gets all the main clues. He trusts them to get the job done so he can put his brain to use as the world’s greatest detective.
Scorpiana has 500 accredited kills. Leviathan has 500 agents in their first wave.
The NATO Marines were PSY-OPS. This would certainly go right alongside my theory regarding Doctor Dedalus’ “Fifth Element” being a mind-controller. Not telepathy, but something more tangible.
We still never got an answer about Kate’s relationship to Kathy, let alone the nitty-gritty details about Gaucho’s affair with her. The imposter Dedalus also wears a Cloak of Smoke. And has the cane.
The WASPiest weapon on the planet could plunge the world into war. Go figure.
Dedalus is an old-school dude if he’s been killing everyone with Foxglove poison.
And of course, David – Batwing – is tracking The Heretic. It’s good that he is, since he’s equipped with a new WayneTech flying bat-armor suit, and Heretic was tough enough to cast Damian off with armor like that.
Pg. 1: Speaking of video games … two of the Average Joes are clearly patterned after Mario & Luigi. Nero Nykto is another in a long line of aliases used by Bruce like Matches Malone.
Pg. 2: As others have duly noted, there’s Ellie, in classic “1, 2, 3” writer’s technique.
Pg. 3: Emoticon-Man?
Pg. 4: Prototype Bat-Knights,
Pg. 5: Dick calls Gordon “Commissioner”, Bruce calls him “Jim”. Dick smirks, Bruce scowls. All this change, but some things don’t, including the Dynamic Duo.
Pg. 6: Batman and Red Robin just doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, but Grant reaffirms that “Bruce and Tim” is still as strong a partnership as ever. Handing Tim command of the Outsiders? Fascinating … the Outsiders debuted back when batman split from the JLA (shortly before it disbanded and Aquaman had to build a new JLA … imminently Pre-Crisis. Jason Todd was Robin.). They’ve had their ups and downs. Got a nice kickstart two years ago when Pete Tomasi wrote a one-shot featuring Alfred rebuilding the team himself. Have been floundering ever since. Wonder what pairing them with Tim Drake will serve to do, but this is most of the classic lineup. Katana, Metamorpho, Halo and Looker. The big guy, Freight Train, is a Dan DiDio contribution. Random – but if Incorporated is about anything, it’s about how a more loose, creative Batman can lead to better play for all the writers at DC.
Pg. 7: Bruce keeps telling everyone all about Leviathan … except us. We aren’t trustworthy … but then again … we could be part of Leviathan. 10,000 eyes, 10,000 fists … sounds a fair bit like Darkseid’s Justifier army, actually. Oracle’s avatar now has bat ears. Huntress is sporting her Cully Hamner duds, sans Ed Benes belly window. Pep rallies in the Bat-Cave are a new thing, right?
Pg. 8: Little details are great. Dick and Damian drink some cocoa or coffee or something. Alfred’s legs can be seen climbing back up the ladder to
Pg. 9: Attempts will be made to expose secret identities. Their identities have been less secure than usual of late. How many people know Bruce Wayne is Batman? Catwoman … Hush … Red Hood … Ra’s al Ghul … certain members of the Black Glove … quite a few. It’s gotten out there over the years. Now nobody can be quite sure. Note that Bruce’s CBR forum avatar is a singular eye. Barbelith? Mickey Eye? “Why does anyone build an army?” Good question. Misdirection, I’d guess. An army is a big distraction and allows covert types to move easier. It spreads the targets out into an anonymous mass rather than individual duels of wits.
Pg. 10: Good at improv: See, entire run of Batman and Robin. Saw the future? Could Bruce have seen the Damian 666 future? “Not everyone’s going to survive it” … recall that in the 666 future, Damian vowed revenge when “Batman” died. There’s a few Batmen now. Another callback – the Azrael railcar last seen in B&R#13 is back – it’s the standard transport between Wayne Manor and
Pg. 11: Alfred basically sums up the answer to “Why does anyone build an army?” – While the enemy looks in the wrong place, you get to survive.
Pg. 12: “They know not what they do.” Average Joe quotes Jesus Christ.
Pg. 13: More brainwashed children. I’ll give Leviathan this – (and Grant Morrison as well) – if we’re getting a string of enemies that take “elements of Batman” and make them eevil – like Flamingo as an evil Zorro, or Hurt as an evil Wayne, and so on and soon – where we have an enemy that brainwashes children. Bruce is a man who has taken in children and the unwanted over the years and taught them – but he does have a tendency to initiate them into his world. Leviathan goes way beyond that.
Pg. 14: Batman and Cassandra Cain follow the trail to
Pg. 15: Dark Ranger II, formerly the Scout, is Aboriginal.
Pg. 16: Batwing. He’s Shaft, Jim Brown, Super Fly and Mohammed Ali all combined. We gotta find out where Bruce found this guy at some point. Spidra and Traktir from The Return. The new Wingman is a hot mystery. Money’s on Jason Todd, but I’m not buying. Then again, I have no clue who it could be, except that it’s somebody who knows Bruce Wayne is Batman and might be taller than him.
Pg. 18: Guess criminals trying to pull crimes in
Pg. 19: Doctor Dedalus, Leviathan. We know a good deal about Dedalus, and that he’s a great candidate for helping Leviathan with super spy evil operations. Is Leviathan himself a burnt up husk of a man? A skeleton in robes? A guy in a mask? The “youngest and most zealous living weapon” that’s barely “eighteen months old” is presumably The Heretic from Batman: The Return. As for secret satellite bases … it’s old hat. The Injustice Gang pulled this routine in Morrison’s JLA, which in turn had pulled it prior to that even in Libra’s first appearance.
Pg. 20: Interesting that each member of Batman, Inc. seems to be fighting a group of fanatics. Batwing battles more Leviathan goons. Nightrunner fights a Knight Templar. Gaucho battles what look like Crime Bible cultists. Blackbat takes on … well, it looks to be Triad dope dealers, likely connected to the ones connected to Leviathan from earlier this issue. Red Robin beats on Obeah Man. They have history, looks to be in
A NYKTOMORPH would literally be “Night Shape”; a “Night Species” or “Night Animal”. Kind of like how the Xenomorphs of Alien would mean “Strange Shape”. The very bogeyman Batman is talking about – shapeless fear like flapping wings and rumor.