Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Batman #47 (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

OMG, the end of this issue is mind-blowing.  Seriously, if you don't want it spoiled, stopped reading!  (It's a double spoiler alert!)

The beginning of the issue -- showing Jim's fight with Bloom -- is pretty straight-forward.  Jim maneuvers himself into a position where he can shut the vent over Rookie's missile array and then proceeds to immobilize him.  He does so because he knows that Rookie will follow his programming to use his missiles when immobilized:  the missiles hit the vent and explode, destroying Rookie.  :(  However, Bloom is still Bloom, and he has Jim on the ropes in short order.  But, Jim has two tricks up his sleeve.  First, he uses a charge from his suit to overcharge Bloom's seeds, knowing that they have an electromagnetic shell around the radioactive core.  (Although I don't understand why disabling the shell would render the seed useless, it apparently did.)  Second, he blocks the signal that Bloom was using to control Rookie and, apparently, his own powers.  (I'm actually not sure if it was disabling the seed or the signal that robs Bloom of his powers.)  At this point, Jim is able to take down Bloom pretty easily.  But, Bloom isn't without his own tricks:  a veritable squad of Blooms appears to free him from the Bat-tank just as Gordon is going to unmask him.  (For what it's worth, Bloom again implies that he exists because of Jim.  Maybe he is James, Jr.)

But, it's Duke's story that kicks us into high gear.  He barely manages to escape from the Iceberg Lounge.  He swims for shore, but he's almost killed by two goons when he arrives.  However, Bruce is there and knocks out both men with a bat.  We learn that Bruce was able to follow him because Duke used the center's computers to do his research (presumably about the Penguin).  Bruce beseeches Duke to tell him why he's so cold to him, and Duke reveals that he's furious at him for giving up being the man he was, the man that inspired him and his parents.  Bruce is confused, and Duke pushes, saying that he figured out that Duke was Robin because he always figures out everything.  He tells him to stop being so selfish and figure out the riddle that he won't let himself solve.  Duke finishes this conversation by standing in front of an on-coming train, and Bruce dives to save him, awakening something inside him.  As Bruce later sits on a bench near where he had his "accident," he starts to tell himself that he's Batman.  But, he's interrupted when someone sits next to him, someone else who had an accident there:  the Joker.

That's right, ladies and gentlemen, GAME ON.  Snyder is certainly implying that all the mumbo-jumbo about Bruce's mind being permanently re-written is just that:  mumbo-jumbo.  The point that Duke makes here isn't just that Bruce has the ability to remember his past if he wants to do so:  it's also that he still has the skills that Alfred swore that he didn't have.  (Has Alfred just been lying to everyone?)  The Joker's appearance implies that he, too, may suffer from a similar amnesia, but that he also might be able to return.  Now, at some point, Snyder is going to have to undo what he already told us, about the irreversible changes that dionesium made to Bruce's (and, presumably, the Joker's) brain.  But, since it's clear that he knew where he was going with this story from the start, I assume that it's not going to be that difficult.  But, the unknown here is whether Bruce will want to be Batman when he remembers.  After all, Duke essentially accuses him of denying the information to himself because he wants the life that he has now.  If that's true, even if confronted with his past as Batman, does that mean that he'll want to take back up the cowl?

***** (five of five stars)

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