The coolest aspect to the new and recently introduced villain Mr. Bloom is his connection to plants — more specifically weeds. Sounds underwhelming but surprisingly weeds are one of the biggest annoyances in cities as they can pull up entire sidewalks and destroy brick buildings. Does that make the supervillain an even more symbolic one to Gotham city itself? What will he do when he attacks the city itself in this issue?
Batman #48: is it good?
Batman #48 (DC Comics)
Bruce Wayne has no recollection of being Batman nor any memory of his parents dying. The latter memory loss has made his need to fight crime go away completely, but old memories are percolating and an old clown nemesis has found him walking in the park. Meanwhile Mr. Bloom has taken the attack to Jim Gordon, the current Batman, and it’s not looking good.
Why does this book matter?
Mr. Bloom is turning out to be one of the creepiest villains to hit the block oh and he’s brand new! That doesn’t happen everyday people and nor does learning about a new character in comics either. Plus Bruce Wayne has slowly but surely realized the truth of his identity as Batman, and boy did that last issue end with a whopper of a cliffhanger; that makes this issue must read stuff!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
There are two concurrent stories going on in this issue and writer Scott Snyder balances them quite well. This balance between smaller reveals and big reveals works in creating an exciting narrative. One story involves Mr. Bloom attacking Gotham City and the other Bruce and the Joker having a little chat on a park bench. The latter story thread is very interesting in a calm before the storm sort of way as Bruce/Joker work at uncovering who they’ve become since giving up the violence. When have we ever seen these two have such a rational sit down that didn’t take place in Arkham Asylum?
Well, Mr. Bloom relates to the people of Gotham the nature of a garden. It appears heavenly and calm from afar, but he explains it’s anything but. The plants are all at war for light and water and so too should the Gothamites be. As Bloom grows as tall as a skyscraper he tells them of a gift, a seed if you will, that should have big implications for Batman comics moving forward. Like the Court of Owls this villain wants to plant his evil ways across the city so that they may sprout and attack at any moment.
It’s not looking good for Jim.
Greg Capullo handles the Mr. Bloom scenes in a beautiful but horrific sort of way, especially when the Bloom henchmen reveal themselves. He’s twisted and barely human and the visuals are reminiscent of a dark, disturbing version of a Roald Dahl menagerie. Meanwhile the scope of his actions are felt via Bruce and the GCPD via tight layouts and great storytelling. Though much of this issue is spent with Bruce and Joker the larger story of Bloom continues to hammer on and it’s largely due to the epic nature of Capullo’s lines.
Snyder does well to keep Joker and Bruce’s interchange interesting and believable. Joker is a bit nuts, as we all know, but a bit of the opposite of who he was. He’s weaker and much more fragile and Bruce is growing stronger. Like the many comics that came before this it appears Snyder is showing us how Bruce/Batman needs Joker and vice versa. In the final pages we all knew were coming we’re left feeling almost sad when you’d expect yourself to cheer. If nothing else, Snyder has proven over his tenure of Batman that the cape and cowl are burdens and it’s exciting to read Bruce accepting it for what it means.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Much like many of Scott Snyder written comics it’s hard to gauge whether the story is yet to be told or if this is it. If it is, Joker is getting the short end of the stick as far as character growth and development. We’ll see where he’s at next month!
Is It Good?
A menagerie of nightmares float about Gotham in more ways than one, but more importantly the core of Batman discovers its true self.