This week we have the most unusual team-up ever. Alfred and Bane. The guy who looked after Batman teams up with the guy who broke Batman’s back. As always we begin with the cover, the cover shows us our two heroes fighting for their lives. The cover is in a slightly different art style than normal. Don’t know if I like it or not. This is going to be an unusual story but I hope I am not disappointed.
We start this story with Alfred being pinned down by debris as he hallucinates about his old Lieutenant. Alfred knows he is hallucinating and accepts the fact that he will die. How come every Batman character is having a near death experience in this book? Bane comes to Alfred’s rescue which is odd because he knows that Alfred helps Batman, his enemy. We cut to Julia watching the rescue of the people of the asylum. She watches them rescue Mr. Freeze but something look fishy. I’m kind of glad that the bad guys are still being themselves while being rescued. This scene feels realistic and a logical step in the plot.
We cut again to the fight between Batman and the Joker’s daughter from last issue. Batman quickly takes her down without any trouble only to learn that it was a distraction. This plot element again? Didn’t Batman fall for something like this a couple of issues ago? Up on the surface, the inmates of Arkham Asylum ambush the police. I knew this was going to happen. You never trust a super villain. On the down-side, I thought that this plan was taken out too early. Batman jumps out of the hole to fight off the super villains. While this is happening, Batman and Julia realize that Alfred could be missing. Batman, don’t expect too much from Alfred on your birthday. For the world’s greatest detective, it’s a bit late to discover your friend is missing.
The police try to shoot Batman but Harvey Bullock is there to stop them. This is interesting because Harvey is putting his job on the line which could lead to his own sub-story. As Batman finishes up, Julia tells him where Mr. Freeze is going. Is Mr. Freeze is the shadowy figure who talked to the Joker’s daughter in the last issue, because I have no idea. We turn the page to get a full page of Batman taking Mr. Freeze down. What, we go from Mr. Freeze is getting away to Batman taking him down? I don’t know why this page was like this. They could have easily used a page with 6 panels of Batman chasing Mr. Freeze.
We return to Bane and Alfred as Alfred tries to figure out why Bane saved his life. There is this one issue with this scene. The writers have used the term “psychopath” for Alfred describing himself, but hallucinations don’t have much to do with being a psychopath. This doesn’t seem to be the right terminology. Alfred and Bane continue to get out of the rubble. Alfred tries to make small talk with Bane but it doesn’t work. While this makes sense, it’s a bit weird because I feel like Alfred is putting a little too must trust into Bane. The scene ends with the pair being attacked by zombies or what looks like them. I’m not sure what they are.
In the bat cave Julia digs around for information and is horrified at what she learns. It took Batman and Julia how many issues to find out that Alfred is in Arkham? I thought they would be smarter than that. In downtown Gotham, Vicki Vale watches the news as something explodes behind her and the Spoiler comes out of nowhere. I almost forgot that Vicki Vale was a character in this story. It’s been so long, like 10 issues. Where did the Spoiler come from? She seemed to come out of nowhere.
As the Spoiler races down the sidewalk on her motorcycle, we learn that she is chasing after Hush. She catches up with Hush only to be beaten by him. This makes sense because the Spoiler is not very experienced in combat yet. We catch up to Batman as the cops try to arrest him. Batman uses a sonic wave to distract the cops to get away. I thought that Harvey Bullock said that the cops could not do anything while he was there. Batman jumps into his place and flies away as he updates Julia. We see that the whole situation is weighing heavy on Batman and it’s a good thing. We need to see the hero struggle.
We jump back to the fight between Hush and the Spoiler to find out that the Spoiler has given out an SOS signal to Batman. I think she planned to get caught by Hush to let Batman know Hush’s location. I don’t know if this was a good plan. In the underground, Alfred and Bane fight for their lives from these things. It is an interesting fight scene but there are a few minor changes that I would have done.
Alfred and Bane finish off these creatures as Alfred leads Bane to a secret Batman base. Why is Alfred taking one of Batman’s deadliest enemies to one of his secret bases? This make no sense. Alfred would never do this. I blame it on his hallucinations. We end this story learning that Alfred used the base defence system to knock Bane out. OK, Alfred, you are back in my good books for now. Alfred makes contact with Batman and Julia as the story ends. This issue felt like only part of chapter rather than a whole chapter like it should.