At the end of Batman #45, Mr. Bloom literally crashes Geri Powers’ Batman party/news conference/gathering. Jim Gordon is to step down as the Batman, and someone new is to step up. Batman is now not a single person, but persons into perpetuity. This feeling of constant change is felt in this issue of Batman. Not only is that cape and cowl supposed to change owners, but Bruce Wayne wants to change the parts of Gotham that get destroyed the worst only to be rebuilt and cleaned last.
Gordon is able to escape from his coffin of fire at the beginning of the issue only to be released of his duties by Powers. She understands that he was just going after Mr. Bloom but reasons with Gordon. All of his antics were over the news and the business leaders who will attend the press conference need confidence in the Batman. Gordon seems to reluctantly accept. This isn’t the end of Gordon as Batman, but this wanted change may place a very valuable chip on his shoulder.
Bruce is fighting what seems to be an insurmountable battle. Outside of the community center where he spends his days, he’s trying to rid the area of trash courtesy of the Joker and “Endgame.” He wants to do right and believes that the “old Bruce” didn’t have much of a life outside of his mission. This new Bruce wants to change that and create a better place for the kids in his care. It is interesting to note a look of absolute anger on Bruce’s face when he’s speaking of a better Gotham. There is a shadow of the bat behind Bruce’s eyes. Is there something in that new brain that just needs to click to become the Dark Knight again?
The story by Scott Snyder is like a seesaw. First, we have Gordon bloodied, then we see Bruce angsty, followed by a science lesson, then a multi-colored dinosaur, and last the arrival of Mr. Bloom. The overall pace to the plot is well and good, but the story is a little muddled in the middle. Sure, Gordon went rogue for a few days as Batman, but is that any reason to seek out a new Batman publicly? The biggest downfall of this issue is that it’s setting up the meeting between Batman and Mr. Bloom. Snyder is getting all the pieces into place.
Glancing at page after page is always a treat with Greg Capullo, Danny Miki, and FCO Plascencia doing work. The ever-present hues of black, dark blues and purple are the hallmark of post-New 52 Batman as Plascencia literally colors the world of Gotham. Capullo’s pencils detail the worst parts of the world with the greatest care. Even rivulets of blood look like they have an incredible amount of mass. Faces, places, actions, and results coming from one hand is astounding. Miki’s work enhances Capullo’s work and brings everything together in one cohesive piece.
Batman #45 sets up Gordon against Mr. Bloom finally. Gordon has acquitted himself well as Batman so far and Mr. Bloom is able to kill with the touch of one finger. Gordon has a tough test ahead of him. Snyder and team continue to push Batman into new territory. Reading a little between the lines it’s easy to see Bruce and Gordon teaming up in issue #46. Don’t turn your back on this one yet.