It’s a new year and that means… Nothing. Let us continue with this great story. As always we begin with the cover, the snow falls as the Riddler watches a hawk from a distance behind the cover of trees. This is a beautiful cover. Probably the best of the series. This reminds me a lot about Edgar Allan Poe’s story, “The Raven”. We start the story in the bat cave as Batman and Julia confirm that the Riddler is the one they need to find. This is really odd because I thought that last issue Batman already confirmed that the Riddler was someone he needed to talk to. The art style looks like it has changed a bit in this issue. It’s not really that noticeable.
As Batman figures out the location of the Riddler, we cut to an army prison van where Mr. Freeze is being transported with a trigger-happy guard. Why is a trigger-happy guard escorting a prisoner? More to the point, how the heck did he get this position? Also, Mr. Freeze is supposed to be fully covered with armour otherwise he will die. Why are his arms bare? The van pulls up to a building only to have more soldiers pop out of hiding and shoot up the van. They seem to miss Mr. Freeze on purpose. Who the heck are these guys? How did the shooter know where exactly Mr. Freeze was in the van? He doesn’t have a thermo reading since his body temperature is always below zero. At the Gotham Gazette, Vicki Vale is crying as her boss gives her the most aggressive pep talk. Good thing this guy did not go into psychiatry.
We cut again to an abandoned resort where Batman is looking around while we hear someone talking about how Gotham has gone down the toilet. I don’t know if this is Julia or just a random newscast that Batman is listening to. I am kind of confused. It could be the Riddler for all we know. We soon find out that it is the Riddler that is talking about Gotham as he goes into a long monologue. Some people never change. For the Riddler, he never knows when to shut up. Riddler won’t give Batman the answers he wants until Batman asks the right question. The Riddler really has downgraded from villain to annoyance in this issue.
Batman has had enough. He climbs on the roof of the resort in a blizzard to get closer to the Riddler. Why didn’t Batman wear his bat suit that was specified for cold weather? I don’t even know if he has it in this continuity. We move to an underground base where a bunch of Batman’s enemies are being held hostage by Selina Kyle. As per usual, the bindings that are on the hostages let them break free. I don’t know if this was Catwoman’s plan or not, but at least the hostages are staying in the same room. Was it a good idea to have 10 super villains in the same room?
Back at the resort, Batman finds the cabin where Riddler is patiently waiting for him. This is a scene we have seen many times before but I’m not sick of it. This series of events usually takes only a couple of seconds in movies or one panel in comics. Batman violently interrogates the Riddler, asking him for all he knows. For once I’m on the Riddler’s side of the fight because he really didn’t do anything to provoke Batman. But on the other hand, this shows that Batman is sick and tired of all the unknowns. Back at the Gotham Gazette, Vicki Vale is having an argument with her boss. She doesn’t think that everything that has happened in Gotham is connected. She will be soon proven wrong.
We see the group of villains that are being held hostage being attacked by Batman’s robots as Vicki Vale thinks she finds out who is behind everything. Apparently the bad guy behind the conspiracy is Signalman, what the ….. (We apologize. WordPress is unable to show this part of the blog. We apologize for any inconvenience this has on you. Have a nice day.) The group of villains learn that the Batman robots are actua1lly gifts from Selina Kyle. First you attack them, then say “psyche”, that’s just pure evil. At least they get cool gadgets out this near-death experience.
We cut back to Batman’s interrogation of the Riddler. We see the Riddler telling Batman that whoever is behind the conspiracy is winning due to the fact that Batman is slowing going insane. As much as I like Batman, you already know he is insane. No sane person goes out in a bat suit and fights crime. Somewhere close to Batman and the Riddler, an explosion happens causing an avalanche to occur. They used two pages for one big picture of the avalanche. This feels like filler. We end at the Gotham Gazette as Vicki Vale’s boss convinces her to work on the story only to have James Bard come in and go postal killing her boss. James Bard know when to give up. He’s been beaten and yet he is still evil. This issue presented us with a lot of interesting questions that I’m intrigued to find out the answer.