Miller and Azzarello kick it up a notch here, building slowly but surely to the epic last scene.
We start with Yindel trying to crack Carrie after she's sat silently in prison for 27 days, desperate to learn more about Bruce's fate. Eventually, Carrie "confesses" that Bruce died. She tells Yindel that he barely survived a fight with an enemy and eventually even the machines couldn't keep him alive. As she's being transferred to Blackgate, she activates the Batmobile through a series of whistles. (It appears that she had pre-positioned it along the route.) The Batmobile crashes into her transport vehicle, allowing Carrie to escape and grasp onto its undercarriage. The Batmobile makes its way through police lines and eventually returns her to the Cave and, not necessarily surprisingly, Bruce.
But, it's the Atom story that sets up where we're find ourselves at the end of the issue. Ray is working off the notes of a Kandorian scientist as he tries to find a way to enlarge the Kandorians. The man's son, Bhal, thanks him for his efforts. Later, Ray puts into action his plan; it involves enlarging 1,000 Kandorians at a time via specifically constructed platforms. In the first effort, he's stunned to discover a few dozen Kandorians standing among the bodies of many dozens of dead Kandorians. Bhal introduces his father, Quar, the leader of a cult that the Kandorians had apparently rejected. He irreversibly shrinks Ray as Ray realizes his mistake, and Bhal smooshes him under his shoe. Then, Quar destroys Kandor as punishment for not accepting him.
Meanwhile, in this issue's small-issue insert, Diana has called Lara to Themyscira to practice her sword skills, but Lara rejects the lesson by having the sword smash on her indestructible skin. She tells Diana that she's not an Amazonian, but a Kryptonian, and leaves. Given a conversation that she had with Bhal while he was currying favor with Ray, she appears to be in cahoots with him. Given her sense of superiority, it seems that she's ready to follow Quar as he takes over Earth. The master race, indeed.
At this stage, we have two essentially separate stories: we've got the Gotham one and the Kandor one. It seems likely that they'll merge next issue, as Bruce realizes that he has to confront the threat of Quar. I'm intrigued to see how that presents itself. Although I knew that enlarging Kandor was a threat, Miller and Azzarello still allow the threat to present itself naturally. I was still surprised by the two-page splash page of dead Kandorians and the revelation that it's a cult that could spell doom for Earth. It makes me excited to see what other surprises Miller and Azzarello have up their sleeve.
*** (three of five stars)