This week David Finch and Paul Jenkins gets to work on the Batman centered issue and oddly I had no expectations in any regard going into this one.
We start off getting a little bit on Batman’s view of fear as he changes into his civilian attire and heads towards some sort of charity event. Got to wonder, how can he pull off his suit and not need a shower to clean up or even water to fix his hair? Either way, we soon get a slight nod to Batman #1 with a mention of Bruce recently revealed plans to restore Gotham – and all while Bruce has two girls hanging on him with a couple more looking fondly his way. This soon breaks up though as Lieutenant Forbes from internal affairs basically demands to talk with Bruce. Seems Forbes helps tie in the notion that Batman Inc. is still part of this relaunch. Mostly Forbes is not liking that angle of Bruce but he soon gets pushed away as Jaina Hudson steps in to break it up then flirt with Bruce who of course flirts back.
After meeting with a few more people, Bruce slips away to join a break out that is happening at Arkham. Yes, another massive break out at Arkham. The police are in trouble but of course Batman takes them out in moments and then heads into Arkham followed by a group of GCPD armed in swat gear. Some reason he is specifically worried about Two-Face here, but I have no clue why beyond the fact that he wasn’t with the small group that tried to escape. Batman begins his “fear” inner monologue from earlier talking about how he’s not afraid and that he gets the jump on fear, and then we get a distraction from a playboy bunny. I seriously mean that. Some hot woman wearing a mask but otherwise dressed like you’d expect to see at the Playboy Mansion appears for just a split second and I really don’t see why Finch did this besides maybe toss in some more fanservice. After bunny woman disapears though an explosion goes off and we see Two Face looking like he just got jucied up on some Venom or something and acting different by calling himself “One-Face”.
Finch does a pretty nice job in writing this, and as a stand alone Batman issue it is great. But this isn’t the only Batman centered comic of this relaunch and so a few parts in this story leaves me a little confused. One, which is just slight, is Finch obviously is playing up the “Bruce Wayne Billionaire Playboy” role. It isn’t that I find that odd, but it’s just a little different from the others. Detective Comics #1 made it seem like Bruce Wayne was dating (or trying to date) someone named Charlotte Rivers which was made rather clear it wouldn’t have been the first (missed) date. Snyder on the other hand in Batman #1 had Bruce completely woman free during the charity event in that issue and Batman & Robin #1 never even got to Bruce’s social life. Just a slight thing, but if you keep up with all four Batman comics it may seem odd if they portray Bruce in different lights. More so though, I was a little lost on the Arkham breakout here. Batman #1 started with an Arkham mass breakout which had inside help. This issue has an Arkham breakout that sounds to have had inside help. So were two different people on the inside working to help start not just one but then a second break out? And for that matter, why no concern over the Joker in these issues? Detective Comics #1 ended with the Joker caught, Batman #1 started with Dick pretending to be the Joker, and this breakout didn’t seem to have the Joker at all yet Batman wasn’t concerned about where the Joker was. My only guess is DC #2 will have the Joker escaping to better help this work out but its a bit confusing for me and the double mass break outs at Arkham seem a bit much. With four bat-books going around all staring Bruce Wayne/Batman, well I can continue to see similar confusing things happening between the books. Besides that though, Jenkins and Finch did some nice writing here setting up a couple of plot points to continue in later issues and the art is just amazing done by Finch with Richard Friend and Alex Sinclair on inks and colors.