The Mad Hatter spies Batman dropping off his current girlfriend, and realizes that she is perfect to play the role of Alice. He runs his slaves through the reenactment of that perfect date, and after the rehearsal is over he murders them all and dumps them in a lake for Batman and Gordon to find. In the meanwhile, Bruce wonders if what he's feeling for expendable #1 is in fact love.
I apologize in advance for sounding like a lunatic in this review.
I'm getting a bit tired of this series. I know that Scott Snyder, writer of Batman, has said that the different Batman writers all basically agree that everything that's happened in the past for Batman really happend. Except apparently anything involving any of the women in his life. Did you think his true love was Talia, or perhaps Selina? Well the New 52 doesn't care one bit for that. This Batman has never been in love. In fact, he isn't really sure what love feels like.
The stupidity of that moment is just staggering. How young is this Batman supposed to be? Is he an inexperienced Batman? Who hasn't gone through the many, many adventures, during which he most certainly knew what love was. That's obviously not true, because everything else in his life indicates that certain adventures most definitely did happen. Falling in love with Talia and sleeping with her. That most definitely happened! Or are we supposed to believe that Bruce really is so shallow that he'll just sleep around. Oh, wait!
I don't deny that as part of his playboy persona he's done the nasty here and there. But the thing with his relationship with Talia is that she was one of the only two women Bruce Wayne ever loved. Unfortunately none of that seems to matter, because all his history with Catwoman has been obliterated and his relationship with Talia has clearly gone beyond sour.
I wouldn't even be complaining about this if it weren't for the fact that I've been rereading some old Batman stories, and I've come to realize exactly how much the reboot hurt the character and his mythos. The stories on their own are perfectly fine. But the moment you have Bruce wondering what love is, when he's clearly been in love before, I can't help but get pretty furious at this comic.
The writers can say Batman's history is intact. Whether it be through the existence of his printed stories, or as theoretical history in the current books. The problem is, they can keep saying that, but when I see so much being ignored I get understandably annoyed.
Instead, we get the clear sacrificial lamb in the form of whatshername. Not only is she apparently the first woman to truly touch Batman, and I've spent several paragraphs explaining why that is garbage, but she's also the one responsible for turning him into a blithering idiot. We know for a fact that she's going to be kidnapped by the Mad Hatter. And it's going to be Batman's fault. Because he apparently thought it was a good idea to drop her off at the concert hall in the BAT PLANE!
Say what you want about Catwoman, but Batman clearly needs her as his romantic interest, not random victims to be. If nothing else, she's the only woman he actually acts like himself around. Unless he's visiting her book, in that case he starts acting like a mental case. Sigh. Maybe Batman should just take a step back from romance, until we can get someone in here that promises to write him properly.
And I haven't even gotten into the Mad Hatter. Suffice it to say, I still think his backstory and descent into madness is stupid. There, that's all he needed.
The art is interesting this issue. It's quite beautiful, but completely at odds with the previous issues. Is it really that hard to keep the same artist on a single issue and have them stick around for the storyline. Issue by issue changing the artists is no big deal. But when I buy trade paperbacks I would like to have the art remain consistent. A major style shift like this is only going to hurt trade sales. Well, the story did that job first. I'm not picking this series up in the trades. It's too busy insulting me as a fan of Batman, though, honestly, a lot of what's been done with Batman the past few months and year has been pretty insulting overall. Anyone with even a bit of knowledge of Batman knew whatsherface was a goner the moment he revealed himself to her. I would prefer if my Batman books assumed I knew the tropes, and didn't keep using them with any sense of sincerity. I know what happens to any romantic interest that isn't Talia or Selina. They die. It's not going to be shocking when she dies, it will be predictable and I'll be mad anyone thought I would be fooled. Unless she does survive. That would actually be legitimately shocking.
I really want to like the current Batman books. And there are quite a few that I really like. But the overall decisions made with this franchise just aren't what I wanted to read. I defended the New 52 as being a great way to draw in new readers, but I'm starting to think that would have worked just as well had they started everything off at number one issues, without rebooting everything. My only condolence is that this isn't exactly the first time the DCU has been rebooted. With any luck all we need to do is stick things out and eventually someone will come to their senses and start telling stories we actually want to read.
Either way, Batman - The Dark Knight is most certainly the number one book on my chopping block. I read some bad ones, but those are the only books for certain characters. I already have two books with Batman in them. I don't need this third one unless it's phenomenal.