Batman #50: The revelation that Daryl is the inventor of the technology that created Bloom is a sad but brilliant twist. Brilliant, because Snyder makes it very clear that he knew exactly what he was doing with Daryl from the moment that he first appeared. Sad, because Snyder is also showing us how desperation can push someone like Daryl over the edge. We learn that Daryl tested the original seed on his cousin Peter, explaining how he plummeted from the sky (and presumably survived the four gunshot wounds) in "Batman" #44. Re-reading my review of that issue, Snyder had us believe that Bloom gave Peter some sort of serum to gain his powers, but I think that Batman was forced to draw that conclusion based on the information available at the time. Daryl is more or less correcting the record here (I think). Peter never met Bloom, because Bloom (as we know him) wasn't created until after his death. Instead, after Peter's death, Daryl started experimenting on homeless people; one of them steals the seeds and becomes Bloom. Amazingly, it means that even Daryl doesn't know who Bloom is. Although we've seen hints throughout "Superheavy" that Bloom knows Gordon, we're really not left with more information about his identity than that. In fact, all we really knew is that Bloom knew of Gordon: any small-time hood could have the same vendetta against Gordon that Bloom has. It's a great twist. In the end, Snyder also makes it clear that it's been Gordon's story. Bruce reminds Gordan that he defeated Bloom, and the pair explicitly discuss Bloom as Gordon's own version of the Joker. I like the idea that Jim gets this collar as Batman, because it makes his time in the suit more real. It also supports the lesson that Snyder wants us to take from this arc, that superheroes exist simply to inspire us to be the heroes that we need to be. Snyder is saying that Jim didn't need to become Batman to be a hero; he always has been.
Grayson #18: I haven't been a fan of Lanzing and Kelly's work on "Batman and Robin Eternal," generally finding it to be effective narratively but emotionally weak. As such, I was worried when I saw that they've taken over the series from Seeley and King, particularly with so much left on the table. However, their narrative effectiveness is exactly what this series needed, as they move through a lot of revelations as well as can be expected for replacement authors wrapping up a series earlier than expected (a DC hallmark if I've ever seen one). They even manage to add an air of mystery to the affair, flipping our perspectives by implying here that Dr. Netz is actually the one trying to save Spyral and Luka is the agent of Leviathan. For it to stick, though, they then have to explain why Dr. Netz and Agent 8 have been killing Spyral agents. We'll see how they pull that rabbit from the hat.
Star Wars #17: This issue is possibly the best issue ever. First, we have the mysterious protagonist committed to doing what Leia won't, killing the prisoners in the titular "rebel jail." (Is he the guy from the Annual? Man, I hope so, because he was great. After this arc, if he survives, I could totally see Leia employing him as the head of an "X-Force" sort of team.) But, the best part is the fact that it throws Leia, Sana, and Aphra together as they try to stop the protagonist while simultaneously not get killed by the prisoners. Aaron, Yu, and Gho all work together to create an "Alien" vibe to this story, and it's just a wonder to behold.
Also Read: All-New Hawkeye #5; All-New, All Different Avengers #7; Batman and Robin Eternal #25; Bloodshot Reborn Annual #1; Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D. #6; New Avengers #8