Unlike the last forty seven issue, this issue felt like it had two different writing styles. I know that this series has four different writers working on it, but until now it didn’t feel like it. As always we begin with the cover, in the midst of a prison riot, two inmates crown the Penguin with his top hat. The rioters surrounding the three form an illusion on the floor of the top hat. I enjoy this subtle design of the cover.
We begin this issue in the office of the mayor as James Bard tries to convince the mayor to pardon Jim Gordon. It looks like James Bard is turning against his employers or this is another part of the plan. They could go either way with this very easily and with four issues after this anything could happen. The two continue their conversation as we cut to Blackgate Prison where the Penguin has a phone conversation with an unknown person. While we don’t know who is on the other end of the conversation, I can only guess it is Hush’s friend that helped him break free in the Bat cave from last issue. We also get to see more of the conversation between the mayor and James Bard but I don’t why the writers have put these two events together.
The mayor tells James Bard that he’s baling out while we also see the Penguin eying a guard. The guard seems to be an ally of the Penguin but I don’t know he’s an old character or a brand-new one. We continue the trend of going back and forth between the two scenes. We see James Bard violently forcing the mayor to pardon Jim Gordon and the Penguin’s guard friend knocking out another guard and opening all of the cells. I don’t know where the writers are going with this issue.
The prison breaks out into a riot only for the scene to change showing us how the Bat Family are doing their mission from last issue. It is now we get the opening title and the credits! This is on pages 6 and 7 of the comic which I have never seen this late. Is this going to be an issue with unrelated scenes just mashed together? I hope not! We continue to see the individual fights spread across two more pages as Hush starts to sabotage the Bat cave. Finally some consistency with the scene changing. This was beginning to feel like Issue 2. In one of the fights, Bane looks like he has his head surgically attached to a robot.
As Hush continues to sabotage the Bat Cave, he managed to cause the Bat Family equipment to malfunction causing them to lose the upper-hand over their target. At least this makes sense. If your equipment has a malfunction in the middle of a fight there is a good chance you can lose concentration. I have seen this kind of scene before where all the heroes lost at the same time but they didn’t explain why. We focus on the fight between the Red Hood and Bane for a single page. My problem is not the fact they took a whole page for a single panel, but somehow Bane has become twice as big. How do you double in size in a single page? At least his waist is now proportionate.
We cut to the shores of a river where Julia is recovering from her rocket trip from last issue. She knows that Hush has the Bat computer under his control and needs another way of contacting the team. This makes sense. Due to her history as a spy she is not in a panic. In an airfield nearby, Batman is recovering from his plane crash and tries to get to a safe location. We know that he is in a lot of pain. We see this by the grunting noises he is making. People may say this is unnecessary but I have to disagree. Batman steals a plane from a nearby airstrip and leaves a giant IOU written in chalk on the tarmac. I say that is still illegal. This is a nice bit of comic relief that we needed.
At the Gotham Gazette, the Spoiler breaks into the office to have a conversation with Vicki Vale. The conversation is what you expect from a vigilante to a reporter. As the two discuss their goal, the Cluemaster attaches a hook to Spoiler and yanks her out the window with his helicopter. It may be early but I am going to give Cluemaster the “worst Father of the year” award. We catch up with Batman flying over the city learning that there is a riot in Blackgate Prison via radio. As this is happening, we also learn that James Bard is also learning about the riots at Blackgate. This is how you put two scenes together on the same page, have them both deal with a similar topic
In Blackgate Prison, we see Jim Gordon try to save a man’s life from two thugs beating him to death. It is here we see that Jim Gordon is still the good person we know he is after all the time in the prison. We end this issue with the Penguin and his goons coming behind Jim Gordon and threaten him. Things are not looking good for Jim Gordon. This issue began with a confusing set-up but realized half-way and changed the way they told this story.