Batman: The Dark Knight takes a downpour in its eighth issue. Unfortunately, the narrative takes a strange and unexpected turn as it resolves some minor subplots from the previous Bane arc.
The issue begins with Batman thinking about Gotham City bringing out the worst in you. He is with Gordon, and the Commissioner wants to know why Batman brought him down there. There was apparently a mass murder on the subway. They analyze the situation, and Gordon comes to the conclusion that the men were not killed but killed themselves. Batman thinks there is something going on in the tunnels making Gotham citizens kill one another, and Alfred questions his conclusion as they analyze the situation in the Batcave. Batman then rushes off as he needs to find out what is happening before it happens again. Lt. Forbes makes a re-appearance in his vendetta with Gordon; sending him to a shrink as he got permission from the mayor to do so. As Batman is investigating, he stumbles upon Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. He notes they are fuller of rage than usual, and reminds readers of whom they are since they may not know. He fights them, and then Batman continues on after them. As Batman continues, Senator Toomey kills himself on live TV as he is about to declare his candidacy for President of the USA. Gordon and his doctor speak next. He asks what he needs to say to get Forbes off his back, and he essentially goes through his recent history with his daughter Barbara being able to walk, his son in Arkham, and his wife coming back into his life after many years. Batman comes to the conclusion the two Tweedles were affected by the same thing, and he and Alfred analyze forensics. As the two Tweedles aid the Mad Hatter with a satellite for the aforementioned nefarious purpose, Batman steps in, and stops him. Mad Hatter uses the signal on Batman as both Tweedles go full forse on Batman. Right as Batman is in a bad position, Gordon steps in to stop them in a helicopter. As Mad Hatter almost attacks the helicopter, Batman stops him after breaking free from the Tweedles. After they are stopped, Gordon asks if Batman is ok, and Bruce says how he could ask the same of Gordon. Bruce concludes they are as ok as they are going to be in Gotham City.
I was quite upset with this issue for a number of reasons. David Finch’s story with Joe Harris providing the script changes quite a lot from what the cliffhanger of the previous issue seemed to clue us into. Noticeably absent is the White Rabbit even when Bruce mentions about where the “Rabbit Hole” will lead him. That is just bad writing, and it is somewhat sad Paul Jenkins was not there to work with Finch to get the story about the White Rabbit concluded. Personally, I would have finished that arc up, and wonder whether or not the other villains (Tweedles Dee, Dum, and the Mad Hatter) were absolutely necessary. They could be worked in better but it just seemed to be somewhat confused in the writing stages. I would also not have tried to tie up Gordon’s arc so quickly or at least, I would have given Forbes some more room to grow and speak his mind in the issue. On the art side, it is alright. David Finch did not draw this issue, and his dynamic art which has defined this series is noticeably absent. Ed Benes does an ok of trying to stay within Finch’s style but also bring some of his own style to the series. That is where the conflict arises; he should have completed it using his own style. While this issue should have been better, I have not lost faith; the next writer Judd Winick should provide a great fill-in issue for “The Night of the Owls” event where we have David Finch back on art, and then we move onto Gregg Hurwitz as the new permanent writer for the series with a change of tone for the book. Here’s hoping it’s better than this!!