We all know every series, whether in comics or television, there are bad issues or episodes. This issue feels like it’s coming back from one of those. As always we begin with the cover, Hush stands atop of a burning Gotham with a gun in one hand and Batman’s cowl in his other hand. This makes me wonder if this is the issue where they go back to the first page of issue 1. This is a great drawing but Hush’s head covers up part of the title.
We start the chapter at the Gotham Gazette with James Bard and Vicki Vail arguing over James Bard’s tactics. We are also introduced to a new art style. This art style is not very different from the last one although close-ups of characters look different. This opening makes the reader think that the bad guys are losing but I feel that this is just to put the reader in a false comfort zone.
We cut 24 hours later to see that Gotham has gone to hell. Bombs have been exploding everywhere and we see a little girl being mugged by two men. This is something we already saw in the “zero year” story line as well as the “Arkham War” story line. This wouldn’t be such a bad thing if the story lines hadn’t just happened a few months ago. Harper Rowe jumps into rescue the girl as Red Robin critiques her hero skills. There is one big question ‘when did they get back from Tokyo?’ I’m glad to see Red Robin take Harper Rowe on as an apprentice. This opens up many possible story ideas for Red Robin. Red Robin gives Harper Rowe a combat test once the little girl leaves. Harper Rowe utterly fails the test. It makes sense that Red Robin would win in a fight against Harper Rowe since she is a trainee. I hope they keep this relationship for a while to show how long it would actually take for Harper to learn to be a hero.
At the bat cave Julia is trying to understand why Bruce Wayne became Batman by to talking to him on the phone as Batman is doing a mission. While this is bad timing, it’s a bit funny as well. Whoever decided to make Julia the comic relief had a very good idea. Batman tells Julia that he needs information on the situation on Hush. Julia shows Batman a security camera footage from Blackgate Prison. Batman learns that James Bard is there and is up to no good. This is good place in the store for Batman to realize what is going on and hopefully we will see Batman acting smarter than he has in the last few issues.
Red Robin goes to the hospital where meets up with the Red Hood who is looking after Alfred. I’m going to be honest here. I have no idea what the Red Hood and Alfred’s relationship was before the Red Hood died. Both Red Robin and the Red Hood are sad to see Alfred in this state. Red Robin and the Red Hood try to have a conversation to determine what’s going on but end up in an argument. There is obviously still some hatred between these two characters that is still unresolved. Red Hood asks Red Robin to get a hold of Batgirl so they can all talk to Batman.
Batman breaks into a building looking for James Bard but instead he finds a hologram of Hush. He attacks the hologram without realizing that it is not Hush, showing his anger towards Hush. Having one guy that Batman fears makes him realistic and relatable to the audience. The way Batman and Hush are drawn in this scene is fantastic. We cut to Barbara Gordon’s apartment as she is on the phone with her father, Jim Gordon, from prison. Another realistic scene, seeing a concerned daughter trying to comfort her Dad in jail which gets interrupted by the Red Hood trying to call her. Barbara Gordon hangs up the phone and answers her cell phone to find out Red Robin is using the Red Hood’s cell phone. Red Robin tells her that all of them need to talk to Batman. I don’t know why, maybe I’ve missed something but I’m pretty sure I didn’t.
We return to Batman arguing with the hologram of Hush as Hush tells Batman that he already won. This scene shows the worst thing that could happen if two friends become enemies. Hush’s speech is a bit boring. There is nothing clever about it. Hush says good-bye as he blows up the building where Batman is. Out of the countless times Batman’s been through an explosion he has never been hurt so I think Batman is fine. In the bat cave Julia is freaking out. She gets a call from Red Robin telling her that the family is coming to the cave. Julia is confused which is appropriate she has only met Batman and not the rest of the family.
The scene changes to City Hall where James Bard is yelling at the Mayor to declare martial law. I will say this again, I don’t think the Mayor has the power to declare martial law. The conversation between James Bard and the Mayor could use better scripting. We end this chapter with Batman being rescued by Red Robin, Red Hood and Batgirl. This is a nice ending. It shows that Batman has a lot of work to do and yet he has small victories. This issue is good at showing the Bat Family as a group.