Bruce Wayne and Jim Gordon: mortal enemies? In BATMAN #19, the caped crusader continues to recover from the loss of his son. But villainy runs unabated. Does this include his own alter ego? Whose the real monster here? And in a backup story, can Superman lend a hand in investigating a series of disappearing people?
BATMAN #19 begins, as many often do (or did), with what is certainly a fake-out scene used to drum up interest. In this case, the police pile around a bank being held hostage…by Bruce Wayne. Once this sequence ends with it thoroughly being established that Wayne has seemingly gone off the deep end, we cut to a week earlier where Batman is busy brooding over the video records of his late son Damian. Partially in an attempt to get the dude out of his funk – and head off another cavalcade of angst and brooding like what followed after Jason Todd’s death (who got better) – Alfred informs him of the apparent suicide of one of Bruce Wayne’s major corporate partners. The fact that it’s a suicide strikes Batman as obscenely unlikely, taking him out of his funk long enough to get on the case. This is made much more complicated when it turns out that very partner is still running around, maybe.
If you’ve been reading Detective Comics (unlike me, though I’ve researched enough), or even just know anything about Batman’s lore, you can probably already guess what’s going on. It’s kind of obvious.
Perhaps for the best, we’re finally taking a breather from the huge, series-shaking events to get Batman down to actual crime-fighting work. Which is great considering that storylines that last for six months or more tend to drain me something fierce. Although BATMAN is going to start yet another such event in two months, Zero Year, so think of this as a brief respite.
In a rare bit for this book, BATMAN #19 also includes the first part of a two-part side story called Ghost Lights. In it, Batman tries to investigate a building where a number of people wandered into and didn’t leave, including at least one cop. But while scoping out the place, he’s joined by his “best friend”, Superman.
Because the best person to help you while you’re dealing with the crippling grief over your lost son is an alien who is invincible, and has to my knowledge never lost a love one. Though to be fair, the New 52 apparently changed a number of details about Superman’s origin, so maybe I’m talking out my rear. And to Superman’s credit, Batman would probably give the same cold treatment to any of his colleagues in the crime-fighting business. Because angst.