My review's a week late, but hopefully not a dollar short.
Well, there's not a whole lot of capital to spend on this issue, anyway. It's a transition issue. There's not a lot of new revelations, twists, or plot development. As you might imagine from reading the first three issues, it takes a pretty natural course with what was already laid down: Jim Gordon is thrown to the wolves by the authorities, Barbara goes nuts over the betrayal, Stephanie Brown is in a lot of trouble, Forbes demands the police go after Batman, and Batman unsuccessfully tries to intimidate Falcone.
As expected of any member of the Bat family when their family and loved ones are killed or put in harm's way, Barbara goes hardcore in her beatdowns, much like Batman after Jason Todd died. Or after Damian died. Or after that week Alfred kept using too many chives in his salads. We get the usual, somewhat cliched scene where Batman tries to reason with Babs, trying to pull her back from the brink, and she's not having it, and attacks him. It's not quite what the weird cover depicts (why is Batman looking at the reader instead of Batgirl?). She punches him and that's about it. Then he gives her the usual "Revenge isn't justice. This isn't justice." spiel you've read in a million Batman comics in your thirty years of reading about a grown man in a bat costume beating up the mentally ill. Paint by numbers scene here.
Maybe Babs is feeling extra resentful because her father's bail was denied due to his "willingness to align [him]self with Gotham's vigilante elements", which make him a flight risk. Now, if we assume the judge isn't just on the take, that's a pretty reasonable assumption, and makes an interesting point. Though it is those vigilante elements that are constantly saving hte city, letting Gordon walk around a free man until trial would give him ample opportunity to be smuggled out of Gotham by any of those costumed crusaders (watch it happen anyway). This is much like in No Man's Land when Gordon reveals he tried to get jobs in other cities, in other police departments, but they all laughed him out of the offices because he practically Batman just take over law enforcement in the city, making his police career kind of a joke. Inside of Gotham City there's a reason why it works, but outside, it can only be seen as a failure.
It's kind of bullshit that he's sent to general population at Blackgate. I'm pretty sure Gordon's lawyer would have at least gotten him protective custody, even if the staff was corrupt. Maybe Leo will teach him how to carve a shank out of a bar of soap.
"A bowel problem. It's embarrassing us all. Oh, and your daughter is onto you. Yes, about the bowel thing, too."
Things are getting worse for our purple-hooded princess Stephanie Brown, who manages to find the last existing pay phone in a major American city to call her mom, but surprise, she's in on Cluemaster's schemes! Stephanie doesn't know it, but her mom has already ratted her out and the goon squad is probably well on its way to intercept her. I certainly hope for Cluemaster's sake his plan is a little more elaborate than "burn down Gotham". Firefly could get on board, but I doubt the other great criminal minds he assembled are so much into dancing flame women (or does this new incarnation of Firefly not see them?). You really want to have a plan Signalman and Lock-Up can sink their teeth into.
I guess we'll see more about this mysterious Brazillian soap opera star and the war between Falcone and Cobblepot in the next issue. Also, Tim Drake!
You mean, like the movie Ghost?
- Penguin Truth
Story & Script: Scott Snyder & James Tynion IV
Script: John Layman
Consulting Writers: Ray Fawkes & Tim Seeley
Art By: Dustin Nguyen
Inks By: Derek Friddles
Colors By: John Kalisz
Lettering By: Rob Leigh
Cover By: Jason Fabok & Brad Anderson
Editor: Katie Kubert
Group Editor: Mark Doyle
Batman Created By Bob K--AHAHAHAHA, NO. Batman Created By Bill Finger