Wednesday, November 23

Batman: The Dark Knight #2 (Dec 2011)

“A Rush of Blood”

I get the feeling that this story takes place a bit later in time than some of the other New 52 comics that are coming out concurrently, although how you reconcile that with the fact that you obviously have some subplot carry-over from pre-Flashpoint I'm not sure. Hmmm... I wonder if there's really anything in the pre-Flashpoint incarnation of this title (all five issues, guffaw!) that would preclude it being all post-Flashpoint … except visually, the style of Bruce's costume, the older appearance of Gordon, and the like. Anyway, during the course of this issue, Bruce calls in all his allies against various “drug-addled sociopaths coming in from all across town....” These include Damian as Robin working side-by-side with Dick as Nightwing (yay!) against 'roid-rage Ventriloquist (who, when his doll is broken, takes up a fallen cop's body and starts using it. It's not often you see Damian with a look of fright on his face: “Uh … I think we're gonna need a little backup.” Of course, their potential backups are busy too – Barbara Gordon Batgirl vs. Zsasz; the Birds of Prey (Canary, Starling, and Katana) vs. Clockmaster (?); Kate Kane Batwoman vs. ?????  (It's just a feeling, but in each case I think we're seeing the characters somewhere past where they are in their own books.)  Before all that, Bruce had been suffering a pretty severe beat-down from the “enhanced” Two-Face until blood started coming out of the villain's eyeballs … not sure what that was about. In context, it seemed like Bruce did, but I don't think so – Gordon intimates it was something to do with the drug itself, which turns out to be the case. Bruce goes to interrogate Dent, who's in the hospital, down off his high, but doesn't get anywhere. Then news comes that the Joker (“back already?” is Bruce's reaction – from where?) has commandeered a commuter train. Bruce boards it, finds dead bodies like usually litter the Joker's wake – the Joker's own people – but there's also the masked Playboy Bunny from Arkham who leads him a chase through the train cars, to face a drug-enhanced Clown Prince of Crime … who utters Jack Nicholson's immortal words, “Wait till they get a load of ME.Next: Catch Me If You Can.

Incidentally, the carry-over sub-plot I mentioned above? The one about Gordon being the subject of an Internal Affairs investigation. If I recall correctly, even though I didn't note it in my write-up of issue #1, that plot was already going on.

Oh, Alfred, you hound dog! Early in the issue, as he and Bruce are consulting via comm-link – “Anything on the girl [who appeared in Arkham during the first issue]?” asks Bruce. – “A half-naked girl in white lingerie. No doubt, the world wide web is replete with such images, Master Bruce,” the butler says, flexing his fingers. “I shall do my utmost to sort through them all.” Which does bring a subtle grin to Bruce's cowled visage. My grin was more than subtle.

Cheers! And thanks for reading!

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