This Week in Comics — 2011/12/21

Its Mind Control / Memory Manipulation week in the Batman universe as the Leviathan storyline continues past the havoc of the Flashpoint and into the “52” era and the Birds of Prey battle an enemy who uses innocent (and not so innocent) individuals not only as unwitting spies but bombs as well.

Batman: Incorporated #1

The post-52 Batman: Incorporated storyline seems unchanged from the pre-52 era, a continuation of Batman’s quest to discover the truth behind Leviathan, a ruthless international criminal organization. To that end, Batman started franchising the Batman name internationally, building an army of crime fighters across the world to battle and equally world-wide threat.

This issue is a special issue with two stories, both written by Grant Morrison, so expect weirdness especially of the mind-warping kind. The first story is about an exclusive girl’s school that is actually a school for criminals, especially assassins and killers. Batgirl, the daughter of a former Batman foe, infiltrates the school to discover it had been taken over to produce mind-controlled killers for Leviathan. The second story consists of a weirdly confusing sequence of the same confrontation played over and over with differing results, until at last the final result reveals the true identity of the leader of Leviathan and its true purpose.

Birds of Prey #4

The story opens with the Birds of Prey (consisting of Batgirl, Black Canary, Katana, Poison Ivy and Starling) riding an out-of-control train with several unwitting (and one witting but not compliant) bombs aboard, ready to be mentally triggered by hearing a nursery rhyme. Unfortunately, the one victim who is aware of her state is Black Canary, who is saved from death by a good right to the jaw from Starling.

However, the real situation is more insidious: the other people weren’t walking bombs, they were walking, unwitting spies. Everything they saw and heard was undetectably transmitted to the organization called the Cleaners (who use invisibility suits) and run by someone named Choke, who was the mental voice that was about to kill Black Canary. A very angry Poison Ivy used her own special way with men to get the information the team wanted about the location of the Cleaners and Starling described exactly where that location was. Each team member used their own special abilities to enter the Cleaners headquarters. Unfortunately, what they found was a room full of suddenly not-so-invisible Cleaners and the mysterious voice telling them:

That won’t be necessary. Welcome to the Cage.
I’d explain …
… but you won’t remember any of this anyway.

The issue ends with the Birds of Prey standing outside, with Starling wondering “Uh … What was I just saying?”

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