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Written By: Scott Snyder Art By: Greg Capullo, Danny Miki, FCO Plascencia Cover Price: $3.99 Release Date: August 12, 2015
Quid Pro Quo
*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*
What a cliffhanger we were left with in the previous issue of Batman. After fighting a super powered gangbanger, who received his powers from a new threat named Mr. Bloom, we saw Jim Gordon go and meet up with Bruce Wayne. After our initial shock that Bruce Wayne was alive and well and for some reason working at a Rec Center, we were blown away again as we saw Jim Gordon introduce himself to Bruce as being Batman. That's the first day of Being Batman 101, you don't go telling people your secret identity. It's time to go back to Gotham and find out why our favorite hero is still alive and well, working with kids and why Jim Gordon would meet him in private. Let's jump into this issue and get all the answers.......... not to mention our introduction to Mr. Bloom! Let's check it out.
Our story begins with Jim Gordon trying to ask Bruce Wayne for help with his Batman suit because when Powers International absorbed Wayne Industries, most of the tech that went into the Batman program was from his company. Now, I don't know if Jim believes that Bruce designed it personally, but that's the way it comes off and even if Bruce did personally do all the work on it, I don't think that's something Jim Gordon would know. Anyway, Bruce turns Jim down in his request to take a look at the suit so he can take it out without Powers International knowing by telling him that's he's not the person he was before and really, he wants no parts of Batman. Which yeah, if Bruce decided to finally put Batman behind him and work at a Rec Center, I don't see why he would...........even if my own personal Batman would die before he gave up the cowl. That's the beauty of this issue, we find out what happened after Endgame and it's so satisfying.
I love this too because it also ties into what's going on in Batman/Superman, but we have Alfred and Clark Kent together and Alfred lets Clark in on what happened to Batman. After the cave collapse at the end of Endgame, Julia searched for Bruce for three weeks and eventually she found his body, but when she was zipping up the body bag, Bruce came back to life. Now calm down, it really gets good here. The dionesium that was in the cave must have seeped into Bruce and when it brought him back to life......... it brought him back mint in package........ I mean, it brought Bruce back as Bruce by healing his brain so that it became what Bruce should have been if his parents never had died. Now I can't say that I understand everything that goes with it, like how it took three weeks for Bruce to come back or how his brain reworked itself into the form it became, but I love all of this section because the writing is beautiful and Alfred telling us how he brought Bruce home and explained who he was, while never telling him that he's Batman was great. Especially with Superman telling Alfred that he would simply tell him the truth if Alfred would not and Alfred replying with the kryptonite ring in his hand, that if he did he would surely kill Bruce because this Bruce doesn't have the years of experience that Batman did. So without knowing the pain that a child had in an alley, Bruce Wayne decides that he's going to take after his parents and work with the people of Gotham face to face. The greatest part of this whole section is when Alfred told Clark that in a city that never gives anything back, it gave back Bruce Wayne......... So I guess all the work that Batman put into the city was finally repaid. If all of that wasn't enough to make you excited and weep at the same time, we also get a cool callback to the future story that Scott Snyder wrote for Detective Comics #19, where Batman had created a device to clone himself at the instance of his death so that there would always be a Batman. Luckily though, it looks like even though Batman was working on that machine in secret here, he never completed it........ So don't worry about Batman clones running around.
In the end, Jim Gordon works with Julia to go off protocol and find out who this Mr. Bloom is on the down low, but instead he finds himself in a trap by the Devil Pigs gang and it looks like our new Batman might be burned alive. Before our issue closes though, we move to Mr. Bloom conducting a meeting with The Penguin. It seems that Penguin isn't interested in a new showboat coming to Gotham and giving everyone powers, so the Penguin does what he does best and eliminates the competition by having Mr. Bloom shot in the head............ Seems like Mr. Bloom isn't just a clever name for someone passing out superhero seeds though because as the issue closes we see that Mr. Bloom is some kind of terrible plant monster man and I'm not certain, but he might have just killed Penguin. Maybe Penguin can survive being impaled.........who knows?
That's it for this issue of Batman and goddamn I could have just had the section of the book with Alfred dishing out what happened to Batman and been completely happy....... Actually I wish that part would have continued longer because it was beautiful and I just love seeing the love that Alfred has for Bruce Wayne and what he's willing to do to show it. Sadly though, it had to end and while I loved the ending with Mr. Bloom's introduction.......... and Penguin's possible death, the part with Jim Gordon as Batman was kind of lackluster in comparison. It wasn't bad, it just brought the story down at a time where I was riding high off Alfred's "Gotham Gave Something Back" monologue. This is the best issue of Batman since it came back from the Convergence hiatus and I'm sad to say this because I actually really like Jim Gordon as Batman, but besides for the writing being great, it was the issue with the least amount of Jim Gordon as Batman....... Coincidence? Anyway, as you'd expect from Greg Capullo, the art was great and the only flaw I see is that Clark Kent looks a lot like a beardless Bruce in this issue and that's it. I'm going to go back and re-read Alfred's monologue again because it is just so good.
Bits and Pieces:
If you've been wondering what's been going on with Bruce Wayne since Endgame, well this is the Batman issue that you've been waiting for. If that wasn't enough to get you interested, it's also told with some of the most heart warming dialog that I've seen from this title in awhile and I just found the whole experience beautiful. Go get some Batman and get the answers you've been dying to find out since March.