Manalatto continues to blow off my socks with this one, folks. It's great stuff, from start to finish.
First, my only exposure to Anarky/Lonnie/Moneyspider came from Lonnie/Moneyspider's appearance in "Red Robin." He was paralyzed at that time (for reasons that I don't recall ever learning) and used some sort of cybernetic connection between his brain and the Internet to help Tim. I can't exactly remember the details of the case(s) where he helped Tim, but I don't think it's all that relevant, given that the DCnU obviously retconned away those stories. However, Manalatto seems to be setting up a similar dynamic here, since we end this issue with the DCnU Lonnie shot and likely dying (if not already dead). Having learned that Lonnie is the only person ever to hack into Wayne Enterprises' systems earlier in this issue, it stands to reason that we're going to see him survive, but be similarly paralyzed and connected to the Internet like the DCU's Lonnie. (The first off-note of this issue was Lonnie's weird conversation with Matches Malone, who talks to him more like a ninth-grade algebra teacher trying to inspire him than the mobster that he is.)
However, since we seem to rule out the possibility that Lonnie is Anarky, we therefore don't know who he is. Manalatto throws suspicion on Sam Young, but I'm somewhat doubtful that it's going to prove to be true. (The second off-note of this issue is that Young seems to have been demoted from a Congressman to a City Councilman. Either he's changed jobs or someone goofed, but we should probably clarify that at some point.) At this stage, we know that Young worked for Falcone and that he ordered Lester to falsify the records of containers entering the port. Harvey knows that, too (as seen in issue #33, where Lester spills the beans). However, Young doesn't necessarily know that Harvey knows. If he is Anarky, it would make sense that he'd want to tie up that loose end, though I'd like to know why he decided to do so now. Was he just waiting for the dust to settle on the Kings of the Sun debacle? As I said, I'm doubtful that Young is Anarky, not because it doesn't fit, but because it seems too obvious. However, if Young is going to continue to play a role in this series, we're also going to need to get an explanation of where his loyalties lie as a result of Falcone (his previous ally) having left town.
Overall, again, I really adored this issue. You have to overlook certain parts, like the off-notes that I mentioned or how Anarky managed to get a mask on the doorstep of every person in Gotham in one night without anyone noticing. But, as I think I've mentioned in previous reviews, I'm happy to be forgiving of such bobbles if the story is good, and this one is. The mystery so far is easier to follow than the Icarus arc. It's a little unclear if Jervis' murder of the kids is going to tie into the larger Anarky story, but it adds to the sense that we're dealing with a lot of stuff happening in the background. So far, it's pretty easy to follow, since it involves mostly Batman just trying to ID the kids so that their families can have some peace. But, it's the identity of Anarky and the connection to Lester that'll really fuel these next few issues.
I didn't even mention the art. I'm clearly starting to take for granted how beautiful Manalatto's issues are. I'll try not to do that, because they really, really are amazing.
**** (four of five stars)