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Written By: Scott Snyder Art By: Greg Capullo, Danny Miki, FCO Plascencia, Steve Wands
Cover Price: $3.99 Release Date: November 11, 2015
*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*
It's time to get back to Gotham and see how our current Batman plans on taking down the Slender-Man like Mr. Bloom. In the previous issue, we saw Geri Powers give Jim Gordon the business after he almost died going off protocol to take down Mr. Bloom on his own, but before she could publicly fire his ass...... or just force him to resign, which is the same thing in my book, Mr. Bloom went and crashed the farewell Batman party. This has been a weird story for me to really get into because as much as I was looking forward to a Robot Suit-ed Jim Gordon Batman, it's just not feeling all that Batman-y to me and I'm beginning to long for the days of Bruce Wayne's return. Let's jump into this issue and see if the story can Batman the hell up and make me a believer in Jim Gordon. Let's check it out.
Our issue begins with Mr. Bloom really playing up the fact that he's a super villain by monologuing to the big wigs of Gotham and using similes about what they're trying to do in Gotham........ and gardening. Yeah, it's a little lame, but it's what we're used to from Batman villains and it won't stop there in this issue. Anyway, after Bloom's big spiel, Jim Gordon comes out of the shadows and tries to stop this monster, but like any other time he's just jumped into something half-cocked, he fails, but luckily Julia's there to back him up and I get the shock of my life when I learn that the thing Bloom flew in on in the previous issue was actually the Bat-Blimp. I don't know if this was really apparent to everyone else, but to me it resembled something that Black Manta might rock instead of our current Dark Knight and it's not until we see the Bat-Signal shine down that I realized what was actually going on....... and then I was immediately confused again because Julia uses the Bat-Signal to pull Mr. Bloom to the signal because it uses electromagnets to keep the Bat-Suit hanging from the Bat-Blimp........ and apparently Mr. Bloom's seeds are electromagnetic. Now, I'll give this the benefit of the doubt and say that this was probably mentioned in like the second issue of this story arc, but I personally have no recollection of it and it seems really weird....... especially when Julia gives Jim Gordon full credit for coming up with it because........ when the hell did he come up with that plan? Even with the magnetic plan, Mr. Bloom breaks free and we continue to have a madman out on the loose.
After the party crashing, we see Bruce Wayne talking about marriage to Julie Madison, while she feels insecure about her past since her father is up for parole in a few months and it's believed that he's the man that sold Joe Chill the gun that killed Bruce's parents........ but he doesn't give a shit about that, he just wants to marry that red head with all those tats....... Yeah, I don't know why I find it odd, but Julie's sporting a ton of tattoos in this book when we see her share some shower time with Bruce and for some reason I don't like it.
Moving away from my apparent disapproval for body art, we see Duke Thomas "doing the dumb shit" when we see him breaking into "The New Ice-Berg Lounge", to get the dirt on what Penguin had on Bloom before he met him........ the most important thing here is........THE PENGUIN IS ALIVE! That's right, even with a gross ass elongated finger poking through him, he's alive and well and even though he's supposed to be resting in the hospital, we see here that he's not one to nap when there's business to conduct. Penguin comes back to his place with a bunch of friends to figure out this Bloom problem and they find Duke snooping around and capture his ass. So yeah, the Penguin is alive and that's great, but just like Bloom did in the opener, he's spouting off about birds and I'm left shaking my head at Batman villains. Come on guys, you're more than just what you call yourselves. Another semi-cool bit in this is we see that Penguin brought along The Ventriloquist and Scar-Face........who I thought didn't exist in this Universe, what with the other Ventriloquist and all, but he's one of my favorite villains, so I'll go with it. We also have Great White Shark, who I always just want to call Great White until I think of the band and shudder all over and finally we have Black Mask............who just looks like the gimp from Pulp Fiction here with a suit. It's a very odd design and I really don't like it.
In the end, after Geri Powers shows Jim Gordon her inventory of Bat-Suits that looks like the roster of Iron Man suits at the end of Iron Man 3, Jim convinces her to stand down on activating them so he can go after Bloom alone, as to make Batman feel like more of a symbol than a mass produced product. It's just too bad that after tracking down his secret hiding spot in Blossom Row, where we saw Bloom hanging out in Batman #44, it looks like nobody thought it was a problem that Bloom somehow hacked the Bat-Blimp and sent Jim out to find him without wondering what else he was able to hack into........ as we see here, he's able to hack the Robo-Bat itself and pits Jim's suit against him.
That's it for this issue of Batman and while it certainly made Bloom more of a threat to me than some super power peddling Slender-Man that just sticks to the shadows, the beats in this story come off a little forced because of the more prominent role of the villain and Batman having to go after him. I mean, I really feel like I missed an entire issue to this story with everything that feels like it came out of nowhere. Again, I could just be simply forgetting something that was briefly mentioned months ago that became a big plot point here, but even that feels wrong because even though this is a big story arc, I shouldn't feel completely lost in something that I've been following. We've got Bloom's seeds being electromagnetic, Batman having the ability to neutralize Bloom's power (I didn't mention that in "Explain It!", but it was there) and hell, even Duke knowing so much about how the Penguin runs his empire. Just a lot of things feel like they come out of left field and it brings the enjoyment level of the book down a bit. The art though, like most issues of Batman is fantastic and I'm a big fan of almost everything that Capullo does here, except Black Mask's redesign, but I love the helmet that he added to Duke in his Robin persona, so maybe the two cancel each other out. So far, this new direction of Batman has been lukewarm and I hope that the next issue does a little bit more for both the characters of Jim Gordon and Mr. Bloom, but with everything else going on in this story with Duke Thomas and Bruce Wayne, it feels like Snyder bit off a little bit more than he could chew in telling this tale.
Bits and Pieces:
While Mr. Bloom seriously ups his threat level here, the pacing of the story feels off at times and even makes me feel like I missed an issue do to all the things that are thrown out here like they're common knowledge. There are so many things that are going on in this story that it's hard to keep track in what's going on, especially Bruce's personal life because it's basically just thrown in for no reason besides to remind people that the character they know and love is still alive and to tease readers that he may return. Even though I thought that some of the story didn't mesh right, the art was great as always and I hope that this story arc can truly become epic so we'll all have fond memories of Jim Gordon's time as Batman in the future.