Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Batman #46 (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

OK, Snyder lost me a bit here.

At this point, we really only have two solid clues about Bloom's identity.  First, he was able to control the Bat-blimp last issue and Rookie (a.k.a. the Bat-suit) in this one.  It certainly narrows down the number of candidates, though it doesn't necessarily mean that we'll wind up recognizing him:  after all, he could be some rando working for Powers Industries.  Second, we also learn that he knows all the people in the room at the event that he (quite literally) crashed.  Again, it could just mean that he worked for Powers Industries as a security guard, but Snyder certainly hints at something larger, implying that he's one of the favored sons of Gotham.  I want to say that Bloom is James, Jr., because it seems that he's targeting Gordon specifically.  Jim was originally turned onto the Devil Pigs as connected to Bloom in issue #42 because its leader was one of his former collars.  In fact, he realizes that several of the people that died from Bloom's seeds were all his collars.  Plus, James, Jr. is smart enough to hack into Powers' systems.  But, I'm really just guessing here.

If these clues are the solid ones, you can tell how weak the intangible ones are.  First, he never reveals here why Bloom decided to reveal himself now or why he chose to do so by attacking the party.  Bloom saunters around the party thanking all the do-gooders of Gotham for their work, but Gordon manages to interrupt him before he does anything else.  Second, Snyder seems to be implying a larger connection between some of the locations where Bloom has been active, but it's still unclear why this connection would matter.  We've got the alley that Dylan IDed for the "old" Batman in issue #44 as connected to Bloom.  Then, in this issue, the team is able to track Bloom to old "Blossom Row," a pathway that used to divide wealthy and poor Gotham.  (Wealthy adults apparently would walk along the Row and buy the handicrafts that poor children sold.)  In other words, we've got a bunch of alleyways and a bunch of wealthy do-gooders, but how they're connected (and if they're connected) is unclear.  Finally, we have Duke continuing to pursue Bloom, though I'm still not sure why.  Dylan implies that he's doing it because Duke's missing parents saved Bruce Wayne during Zero Year, but why does Duke worry that Bloom is after Bruce?  He hasn't shown any specific interest in him so far.  Duke eventually breaks into the Iceberg Lounge to go through the Penguin's papers and seems to discover Bloom's identity in them.  I guess that it makes sense that the Penguin would've been able to get that information, but it still feels overly convenient.  Moreover, we don't even know why Duke is looking for them in the first place.

Then, we have the parts that aren't just unclear, but actually don't make sense.  Julia saves Jim by activating the Bat-signal.  The explanation is as follows:  "Seeing as the Bat-signal uses an electro magnet to hold the robo-suit and Bloom's seeds are electro magnetic.  Find the right frequency and he's potted."  Um, OK.  First, since when did the Bat-signal need to "hold" the robo-suit?  I don't even know what that means.  Are they storing the suit on the Bat-signal?  Why would they ever do that?  Second, why would Bloom's seeds be electro-magnetic (other than the obvious reason that Snyder needed them to be for this trick to work)?  This whole part made no sense.

On the plus side, we get an extended sequence of a naked Bruce Wayne, so I shouldn't complain too much.  (Does anyone else think that it's portentous that Julie Madison is covered in tattoos, particularly an owl one?  It's unlikely that doesn't mean something.)  But, overall, the missed and random connections left me feeling like I'm reading Craigslist, not a "Batman" comic.  (Ba-dum-DUM!)  We need to get somewhere soon-ish, because we're heading into a "Court of the Owls" neighborhood here.

** (two of five stars)

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