I'm really way behind on comic blogging, and even comic reading. Heck, I received my shipment of August-released comics (except for the first Wednesday's releases, which I'd gotten with my July shipment), yesterday. I haven't even gotten down to that first Wednesday of August in my reading, what with the very pleasant diversion of Ghost Story as well as The Gods of Mars, on top of the not-so-pleasant diversion of “on-call” week starting 15 August (I keep saying, “I'm not that kind of doctor!,” but I'm still expected to be around for meetings and the like), and classes starting a week later. I have a totally new on-line course I'm having to put together this semester, as well as re-key-in question pools for another class's on-line quizzes that got lost in the conversion from one course management system to the other by my university. Neither task is hard, just incredibly time-consuming and above all tedious. In any case, here comes a valiant effort at beginning to catch-up.
“Pieces, Part Three: Gilded Lily”
This penultimate issue of the first Batman series brings Batman Dick Grayson into the confrontation between The Riddler,his daughter, Two-Face, and the seeming alliance between Mario Falcone and Gilda Dent. In the end, the really interesting part of this, the “reunion” between Harvey Dent and his long-believed-dead wife is cut short as it seems to go bad for her, despite her pleas – “I still believe in Harvey Dent. … I believe in Two-Face. … I love you, Harvey Dent. Remember that” – by the intervention of Batman. The thanks he gets for (probably) saving her life is to be shot in the head by Gilda. He awakens some time later under the care of Alfred: “How are you feeling, Master Richard?” – “Like I got run over by a truck.” – “A tiny .22 caliber truck, you might say. Lucky it wasn't something with more punch. Your cowl redistributed the impact.” Two-Face is still “out there”; the mystery of Gilda Dent's return remains unexplained. But one of Tony Daniel's plot-lines does reach some resolution – Alfred gives Dick a letter dropped off by Catwoman – to Batman from Kitrina Falcone, “Catgirl,” announcing her departure from Gotham to take him up on the school he suggested – but “I'll be back. … And I will be BAD-ASSED.” In an epilogue, we find that Riddler and daughter are still out there as well – except that it seems his turn back to the “dark side” is complete: “... What's purple and green and bleeds profusely?” – “No. What are you – ?” – “AIIIIIEEE!” “The End.” Except she's not the one wearing purple and green …. ?
“Part Three: The Key to the City”
More fascinating revelations about the history of Gotham City and how that history is now impacting on the present, including Tim's putting the pieces together based on 3D scans of the steampunk suit worn by the Architect, perpetrator of the city's historical landmarks' destruction – a 19th-century underwater construction suit designed by two brothers – “Nicholas and Bradley Gate.” “The Gates of Gotham,” Dick muses. “The bridges. The families. The suit. They all lead back to the beginnings of Gotham.” As Tommy Elliot had taunted him, “How can you hope to deal with Gotham's future when you know so little about it's past?” He sends Tim and Damian (to Tim's delight) to find out what the owner of the last known Gates suit, “stolen six months ago,” knows, while he has another heart-to-heart with Tommy Elliot. Red and regular Robin end up encountering the Architect in the cliffhanger ending, while Dick and Cass have determined that the Elliot family secrets are in their old newspaper morgue, where they find original city plans from the turn of the century (obviously the turn of the 19th to 20th century) missing – including those for the Kane Bridge. In the flashback sequences, we find that Bradley Gate had died in a construction disaster during the building of a Wayne Bridge, which they had chosen to build instead of a Kane Bridge, leaving a grieving Nicholas. “I'd given these men exactly what they wanted. … and they took everything from me.” The Kanes - Bruce Wayne's maternal ancestry. “Next: The Gotham City Massacre.”