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Written By: Scott Snyder Art By: Greg Capullo, Danny Miki, FCO Plascencia, Yanick Paquette, Nathan Fairbairn Cover Price: $4.99 Release Date: March 23, 2016
*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*
It's been a tough bunch of months with Bruce Wayne being all brain dead when it came to all things Batman, but as we saw in the last issue, Batman is back and it's about time because Jim Gordon was just constantly getting his ass kicked and not really filling the shoes of our Dark Knight. Don't get me wrong though, I originally thought that taking the badge away from Gordon and placing a cowl on his head was a bad ass idea........ it just didn't pan out in the end and Mr. Bloom hasn't been the most intriguing of villains either because really, we know absolutely nothing about him or what his real motives are. Hopefully that will end here and we can get some closure on "Heavy Metal". Let's jump into this issue and see what kind of hell Batman has walked into now that most of Gotham is rocking one of Bloom's super powered seeds and all hope seems to be lost. Let's check it out.
As we begin our issue, we see that Jim Gordon survived his encounter with Mr. Bloom, where we saw the villain gross us the hell out when he shoved his hand down Gordon's throat......... but survived doesn't mean that he's out there doing a jig, no it turns out that our hero's spleen as been punctured and he needs to get his ass to a hospital fast. Too bad Bloom's lackeys or "The Bouquet" which I was calling them before aren't finished with good ol' Gordon just yet. Now even though this seems like a precarious situation, what with Jim having one foot in the grave and all that, it's resolved pretty fast when our real Batman enters the fight and quickly dispatches the toadies. This part is a lot of fun and not just because we haven't seen Batman in action for awhile, but because we have Alfred in Batman's ear telling us and him that with the dionysium revival, he's the fastest and strongest that Batman's ever been because it healed his entire body. That's just a cool concept and I can't wait for Bruce to cut loose to see how far he can push his new body in the future. There isn't any time for these two friends to catch up though because Bloom is Godzilla-ing throughout Gotham and...... get this.......... has a transmitter in a super seed in his back that is channeling all the power of the seeds that people have put inside themselves into the collider at Powers Industry, making a dark star that will consume Gotham........ Holy Shit! Out of all the crazy shit that Bloom has been able to do in this series without much of an explanation about how....... this has got to be the worst. So Batman needs to stop Bloom while Jim Gordon gets his ass to the hospital, which Batman makes sure that he does by handcuffing him to a helicopter and telling him that the cuff has a GPS in it and will detach once he gets there.
The fight is on in Gotham and it's not going to be very simple because on top of having to deal with a Kaiju Bloom, it seems that Batman has to deal with the entire police department rocking giant robot Batmen suits that Bloom has taken control of........... and even a Joker Batman suit for some reason. It seemed strange to me before when Mr. Bloom was able to take control of Gordon's suit, but being able to take over all the suits, when our protagonists knew about that problem is something that's completely bonkers.......... but fuck it, I'll go with it. While Batman takes on his robotic doppelgangers, we head over to Duke Thomas catching a ride on the Bat Blimp and it's there that we find out that his friend Daryl is the one behind Mr. Bloom and was actually the original Bloom in Batman #44. This genius kid wanted to make the people of Gotham strong with his Weird Science, but after his cousin died he put a stop to it........ until Endgame, where it seemed that Batman was dead and the city needed a hero more than ever. So Daryl started up his tests again and placed one of his seeds in a corpse and this thing became the Bloom we know today.......... and having Bloom be just a random cadaver means nothing to this story for me because we have no background or motivation for him to be doing any of what he's done since it was Daryl's plan and intent to give people super seeds and save the city. This explanation, forgive the pun, just soils this character because all of this just seems to be out of nowhere for absolutely no reason.
In the end, Batman fights his way past the robots to get to Bloom and is now rocking his own mech to take on the villain, while Jim Gordon completely disregards his own safety to stop this dark star from consuming the city by going after the super conductive Batmanium batarang that Geri Powers discovered and designed. Using his Batsuit's ability to block Bloom's powers and relaying it through the Batmanium batarang, Jim is able to shut the dark star down, but we don't really see that because the comic cuts to Jim in the hospital recovering from his wounds. As our issue closes all our characters are put back in their proper place and status quo and Jim and Batman have themselves a nice little moment where we get the idea that Jim knows who Batman is, but it doesn't matter because from being Batman, the man he once was died a long time ago.
That's it for this over-sized issue of Batman and while I had a good time reading this, what with Batman being back in the saddle and being able to see Jim and Batman team up to take down their foe.......... the plot was a little heavy handed with it's over the top-ness. We never really get a clear idea who Mr. Bloom is or what his motivations are for being this villainous character and because of this we don't have any clue on how he's able to do all the things that he's been doing in this arc....... or why. He's apparently just some super smart cadaver, who stole Daryl's research and mask and took it upon himself to destroy the city........ Some positives though, we do get Batman in a new costume and while I'm not completely sold on it yet, I think it will grow on me and I loved everything that we had with Bruce in this issue......... and while it may be that I'm just starved for Batman, it was spectacular seeing him here and I love the voice that Snyder gives him. As for the art, well I loved Greg Capullo's art, but some of the details were lost to me during the action scenes and I found myself wondering what the hell was going on, but this was kept to a minimum and I enjoyed the art for the most part. While this was poised to be my favorite fiftieth issue, the problems with Mr. Bloom having no real characterization was just a little too much for me and I'm still not positive why he became a gigantic flower/eye/thing at the end of the issue...... I just really don't care for the character and nothing in this story swayed that opinion in the slightest.
Bits and Pieces:
While it's great seeing Batman back in action again and having his genuine interactions with Jim Gordon, this over-sized issue is hurt by the lack of characterization and motivation by our villain Mr. Bloom. While I was patiently waiting throughout this story arc for the whys and hows about this character, we were given nothing here about it. Just Batman getting back down to business....... and don't get me wrong, that is awesome all the way through, I was just expecting a little more from this story to have it make sense to me overall.