By the time we got to Croc talking about French literature, I knew we were in one of the worst issues of this series. That just to confirm it.
Seeley's "Grayson" is a study in keeping the reader guessing in a way that doesn't become overly annoying. We've gone several issues now with only vague hints of the mysterious plot lying at the center of the series, but Seeley gives us just enough information each issue to keep us interested.
This issue is exactly the opposite of that. We're given so much information that it's incredibly annoying. Scarecrow and Gordon's cellmate, the Lion, engage in long expository sequences for no reason. Scarecrow's musings about the pasts of each of the villains in his little group is wholly unnecessary, done as if the reader has no idea who Clayface or Mr. Freeze is. The Lion's babbling is possibly worse, awkwardly bringing the reader to speed on the happenings in the prison since we last saw him and Gordon. It serves as a reminder of how we just drop plots for issues at a time and suddenly re-engage with them for no apparent reason. Moreover, I'm not sure how accurate what he says is. The Lion says that everyone knows that Jim's not responsible for the train crash, but how? Batgirl told Bard, but I don't see how or why that information would've been passed to the Blackgate crowd.
Moreover, I have no idea what the point of Scarecrow's gang was. They were introduced last issue to much fanfare, since a union of six of Batman's enemies seemed appropriate for the last part of this series. But, suddenly, Batman dispatches them this issue, making you wonder why we even bothered. Plus, certain parts of their story still doesn't make sense. For example, how did Ivy get word to Catwoman to set up Croc's confrontation with Bane? How did Selina even know Ivy was running with that crowd?
I'm not going to even go into Bard's miraculous conversion to the side of angels. He kills cops willy-nilly with Hush and tried to murder Batman extrajudicially, but now suddenly he wants to save Gotham? Really? I feel like I'm crazy to keep harping on it, because the authors just keep treating him like he did nothing wrong.
I just...yeah. This series needs to end.
* (one of five stars)