Welcome back to yet another review, this issue gives us more questions than answers. As always we begin with the cover, Alfred is running through a building with a hand gun at the ready. We also have a person in a shadow background holding a syringe of death. This is a different feeling from other covers and reminds me of a Die Hard cover. What could this story tell us about Alfred and do we want to know?
We begin this story with James Bard entering Vicky Vale’s apartment and goes into a lover’s kiss. We learn that James Bard isn’t James Bard but a guy named Jason, He is working some sort of scam with Vicky Vale. I knew something was up with Bard but had no idea Vicky Vale was involved. James Bard tells her that something has thrown off their plans. I’m not sure what though.
We cut to Blackgate Prison where Leo and Carmen Falcone are having an argument about exposing Leo’s true identity. This makes a lot of sense since they are both gangsters. We learn that someone is still alive that Carmen Falcone thought he killed. This cliché is in every gangster movie. Carmen Falcone leaves the prison as he threatens Leo. Even though Warden and the guards let Carmen Falcone escape, they put a chain on his belt and he gets lifted off the ground. I’m not sure whether to trust the Warden or not; even her first appearance was a bit shakey.
We learned that Batman was pulling the chain and is now violently questioning Carmen Falcone. We also learned that the knife from the last issue was not from the League of Assassins but a ceremonial knife from a Hong Kong gang that Carmen Falcone was involved with. It’s interesting how they are going back to Carmen Falcone. At one point I thought he was going to be left in Blackgate. Carmen Falcone just bursts out laughing and tells Batman that he is way off and passes a piece of paper to Batman. The piece of paper is an invitation to Jim Gordon’s demise. Why Carmen Falcone gave Batman a bit of evidence I don’t know. Maybe he doesn’t care anymore. I just love how Carmen Falcone is not afraid of Batman at all. It provides a worthy adversary to Batman.
At the GCPD Harvey Bullock speaks to James Bard about his new position. What! They’re making James Bard commissioner? Why? There are many more people more qualified than him. This is obviously part of James Bard’s plan but why is he doing this? Harvey Bullock leaves the room as he tells James Bard that he has a lot of work to do. Batman appears in James Bard’s office and tells Bard that he can’t fill the shoes of Jim Gordon. Batman doesn’t suspect James Bard of anything? I find that really hard to believe. Batman says to Bard that he doesn’t trust him but yet gives Bard a flash drive of evidence to clear Jim Gordon’s name. Batman has to be up to something otherwise I can’t see why he is being this dumb.
At Wayne Manor, Julia and Alfred try to have a heart to heart conversation. Unfortunately an intruder alert signals. It’s starting to feel like Julia is understanding what her father is doing. If it wasn’t for the intruder alert, this would be a great father-daughter scene. Alfred begins to open the entrance to the bat cave as Julia pulls out her gun. We learned that Alfred opened the bat cave to shock Julia enough for Alfred to knock her out and lock her in a room for safety. Alfred picks up her gun and gets ready for combat. I’m not sure if that is good parenting or not. Yes, Alfred, it’s protecting her but maybe you didn’t have to knock her out. Hopefully we get a few scenes of Alfred being a bad-ass.
Alfred goes out in the main hall to verbally threaten the intruder and fires the gun at a place where he thought the intruder was. For an ex-war hero Alfred is extremely talkative to his enemy. Why did Alfred fire the gun when he was uncertain that the intruder was there? The intruder comes behind Alfred and calmly says “I’m here for you”. That is creepy. The intruder quickly takes down Alfred and starts coming at him with a syringe. You know for an ex-war hero and Batman’s assistant Alfred, it was pretty easy to get the upper hand on him. We learned that the intruder is none-other than the Batman villain, Hush, as he sticks the syringe right into Alfred’s skull. About time he showed up. I was wondering how he would be involved in the new 52 series.
As Julia wakes up, we cut to Blackgate Prison where Commissioner Bard is handing the Warden release papers for someone. We see the pair walk past Carmen Falcone and Jim Gordon to find them at the unknown cell. Who is this mystery person that Bard is freeing and why? This makes me think that Bard is another part of the plan that involved Carmen Falcone but not the head of the plan.
We cut back to Wayne Manor as Julia finds Alfred on the floor. She is in a panic as any child would be seeing their parent almost dying. We leave them with Alfred telling Julia about the grandfather clock. This is a great set-up for making Julia an ally to Batman. We learn that James Bard is freeing a villain called the Architect. I never heard of that guy. When I saw the mask I thought he was freeing Bain. It could still be Bain. The Architect could be a nick-name of his. Forgive me if I am making any Architect fans mad.
We end the story with James Bard informing someone with the code name “Mother” that the plan is in motion. The last thing we see is James Bard breaking the thumb-drive given to him by Batman. I believe that James Bard is talking with Hush. This issue had more conspiracy added to the story, I can’t tell if it will be a benefit or not.