Batman is by far my favorite character in comics, but when DC started going bi-weekly and raised the price, I stopped collecting the title. Especially when they teased and highly publicized a wedding between Bruce and Selina that was quickly and mournfully incinerated. However, with the introduction of Punchline, I was intrigued and I picked up the title once again.
I am enjoying the run and the stakes are incredibly high. Assassins led by Deathstroke are running amok in Gotham and a villain, named the Designer, is pulling the strings. To catch you up, the Designer, who has a big red “D” on his white mask, and a feathered pimp coat (Not a whole lot of design work went into the Designer apparently) met with the other villains, including Catwoman. He promised them all of their desires. However, he had his own motivations for helping them. His only problem was the Joker, who was a wild card (pun mostly not intended).
The entire through-line of the story is this concept of design. With Bruce intending to redesign Gotham, while the villains do the same. The issue begins with a flashback of his training days, where he attempted to become mentored by a great detective. The detective instead told him that he was going to teach Bruce the greatest lesson of all – how to fail.
The story picks back up with Batman with a katana run through his leg from the last issue and Lucious trying to fill in for the late Alfred (I still can’t believe they did that). Lucious informs him that the Joker embezzled all of his funds and is about to take the Wayne Industries and his house. Though I’m not quite sure how that works, since the house is probably paid off and you can’t just take someone’s company like a Rolex out of the drawer– but we will just roll with it. The writer wants Bruce in a situation he’s never been in before.
There’s a very emotional call between Bruce and Selina that I feel was much needed after the whole wedding debacle. He goes to the hospital to find Selina missing and the Joker’s goons waiting for him.
I feel that Batman has something to prove to both himself and the memory of Alfred during this run. Though I’m still waiting for Punchline to actually do something. Let’s see what the next issues bring.