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Written By: Scott Snyder, Brian Azzarello Art By: Jock, Lee Loughridge Cover Price: $3.99 Release Date: September 9, 2015
Much Ado About Nothing
*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*
Let's head back into Gotham and see what's going down with Mr. Bloom in this very odd issue. Previously we saw how Bruce Wayne survived the cave collapse from the finale of End Game due to the abundance of dionesium in the area and how it remapped his brain, creating a man who never was Batman. Yeah, it's kind of weird because in my mind that would leave him little more than a man-child who wouldn't even be able to care for himself, but he comes off as a pretty regular guy just trying to get his life together by helping the less fortunate. We got that and Jim Gordon's Batman trying to hunt down the super power drug dealer Mr. Bloom and apparently this baddie is more than he seems when he possibly kills Penguin after turning into a Slender Man monster. Yeah, it's all pretty odd and even though I'm sure we'd all love to see where we go from there.......... Too bad, because we're going back to a post Zero Year Gotham. Let's check it out and see if we can get excited for this new villain.
As I said, we begin this story in a post Zero Year world where Batman is still trying to get it together to become the Batman we all know and love and the city continues to try and get back to some semblance of it's former self after the Riddler attack. Outside of the city limits, Batman finds the body of a fifteen year old boy and the hunt is on for his killer. Batman connects the boy from his place of residence to The Penguin, who is trying to take over gangs in that area and I immediately realize that this feels nothing like a Batman book, but more of a Detective Comics story. It's like a damn relay race as we move from person to person to get the full account of what went down, but there isn't much fun involved.
The whole story boils down to the murdered kid named Peter Duggio who wants to save his family's bodega and since his father became ill after the events of Zero Year and the gang: The Four Fives have taken over the area, Peter goes to the Penguin for a business proposition. Penguin and the Four Fives don't get along so Peter offers to run Penguin's merchandise through the bodega........ only thing is Penguin then gives it over to the Four Fives as a peace offering. During the story it's a bunch of back and forth in the timeline where we eventually see that first Peter went to Bruce Wayne for help, since Bruce was redoing the whole neighborhood, but when that didn't work Peter went to the Penguin, who then fucked him over. With Peter seeing no other options, he then went to Mr. Bloom in a back alley garden and acquired a super powered concoction. This led to Peter taking on the Four Fives single handedly, but even his new found strength couldn't stop them from setting his family's business on fire....... if that wasn't bad enough, when a cop arrived on scene, he shoots Peter and him not wanting a black mark on his record, he simply left the scene. Can you guess what happened next?........ Absolutely not because it's fucking out there. Peter then grew giant bat wings and flew away until his serum wore and he fell to his death........... What the hell does this have to do with Mr. Bloom except that he was there for one panel?
In the end, Batman realizes that while he can't find someone behind this murder, there are a lot of people who need to pay for the things that they do in Gotham....... Bruce Wayne included and Batman decides to pull a Doobie Brothers and begin taking it to the streets by talking to some of the kids in the area of Peter's burnt down bodega........... The End.
That's it for this issue of Batman and after having such a huge cliffhanger last month, it's so freaking disappointing to come into this issue where absolutely nothing happens. I mean, we could have at least delved into the origin of Mr. Bloom a little, but all we get is a murder mystery where a kid happened to take his serum five years ago and died........ and I guess Batman never caught him or even thought about him again. It's just so odd. We're in the thick of things with Jim Gordon being Batman and we take a breath to deal with the actual Batman and learn nothing new about our story.......which like I said before feels more like a Detective Comics issue.......which went unused until Snyder needed a filler story and rewrote it for his own means. Jock's art while really stunning in shots where Batman is contemplating the evidence and the things he's read in the newspapers, doesn't really work for the rest of the issue. I found myself struggling to understand what exactly was going on and that's never a good sign. So all in all, this is an issue that doesn't need to be read and is complete filler while masquerading as part of the story arc.
Bits and Pieces:
This really feels like a refurbished Detective Comics story and while some might say that isn't a bad thing, it really upheaves us from our current story line and offers us nothing for what we've been dealing with..... you know, except having Mr. Bloom in one panel of a story that takes place five years ago. It's just a real letdown after having such a great cliffhanger last month and not dealing with any of the aspects to that story here.