I complained slightly about last issue, stating that it was more “Batman” than “Incorporated.” Well, neither one plays much of a role in the second issue! Instead we are delivered the origin of Talia Al-Ghul. Apparently her mother was a global-minded young woman that Ra’s met at a benefit rock concert. The book recounts her unpleasant upbringing (being trained as a natural assassin), her first exposure to Ra’s immersion in a Lazarus Pit and his resulting uncontroled rage and the time she located her birth mother, now a fortune teller. The woman shows Talia the constellation Perseus and points to the severed head of Medusa in its hand. The eye of the Gorgon is none other than the Demon Star, Algol… or Al Ghul.

When she is old enough, Ra’s gives her her own secret lair underneath London. Then when in college, she is kidnapped by Doctor Darrk – an attempt foiled by the intervention of Batman. Their courtship is recapped briefly, culminating in Ra’s desert duel with the Dark Knight which preceded Bruce and Talia’s consumation of their relationship, leading to the birth of their son Damian. We also learn that Leviathan, the crime boss that attempted to take over the Gotham underworld last issue, is none other than Talia, having usurped power from her father.

So there was minimal Batman and no Incorporated, but even so, it was a solid issue and it was nice to get some sense of Talia and Batman’s history in the New 52. No specific dates are given, though, so it still doesn’t make sense that Batman first started operating five years ago and yet Damian is now ten years old. They’d kind of fudged and stated that Batman began operating in secret prior to going public five years ago… but five whole additional years earlier? And the scene of him attacking Doctor Darrk took place in broad daylight. How was he still able to remain covert?  So once more, the lack of planning prior to the launch of the New 52 rears its head. It’s still a solid story, so don’t let that ruin it, but still…

The fact that neither Batman nor his allies appears in the present in this issue bugs me slightly too. I just feel that at this point, this book isn’t what it says it is. It’s just another Batman book. The supporting cast barely appeared last issue and didn’t appear at all in this one.  That could all change, but at this point, I feel like this is a bit of a bait and switch.

But the story itself is entertaining and the art is very nice.  So although I have some quibbles, I still think this is worth a read.

Verdict: Borrow

Written by Grant Morrison
Art and Cover by Chris Burnham