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Batman #45

Review by Paul Bowler

Following last issues post Zero Year introduction to Mr Bloom, Batman #45 returns to the present, where Jim Gordon is Gotham’s new robo-suited Batman. However, it seems Bruce Wayne survived Endgame! Without the shadow of Batman in his life, Bruce now works for the Lucius Fox Center for Gotham Youth, and is reunited with his former sweetheart Julie Madison. When Batman breaks into a warehouse to investigate Mr Bloom – the new super-villain selling seed-like implants that give criminals extreme powers – Gordon finds himself trapped. Now, after Batman’s close call with the Devil Pig Gang, Jim Gordon must re-examine his role as the new Dark Knight protector of Gotham before time runs out for city…

Batman #45 finds the former marine and Police Commissioner Jim Gordon facing his greatest challenge so far as Gotham’s corporate funded Robo-Batman. Trapped in a furnace, seemingly with no way out, this latest instalment of Scott Snyders and Greg Capullos new Superheavy story-arc places Gordon in mortal danger and confronts him with a situation that makes him question if he really has what it takes to wear the cowl.

Batman #45 (Cover)

Scott Snyder turns up the heat for the new Batman in Superheavy Part 5, as Gordon has to find a way to escape from the industrial furnace before his Bat-Suit fails. Snyder really gets inside Gordon’s head during these opening scenes, as Jim rapidly assesses the situation Batman-Style, while also keeping his personal feelings in check, and finding the right mindset to ensure that all that Batarang practice finally pays off! Outgunned and outnumbered Jim now faces his most crucial lesson of all about what it really means to be Batman…

A number of plot threads entwine during this issue. Bruce and Julie Madison are busily helping the kids at the Lucius Fox Center for Gotham Youth, the area is still littered with the wreckage of the trophies from the Bat-Cave the Joker used for his parade during Endgame, and the horror and devastation caused by the Joker virus is still clearly evident. The relationship developing between Bruce and Julie is really moving, we get to learn more about Julie’s past, and the bond they share is inexorably linked with paths their lives have taken.

Batman #45 is one hell of an action packed issue, Greg Capullo’s art captures the essence of every scene perfectly, and the way Capullo has Gordon evaluate the situation and escape from the furnace is brilliant. The Bat-Bot goes into full “partner mode” this issue, it’s another action-packed moment, and it works so well seen the context of Jim’s predicament. Danny Miki’s inks accentuate the finer details and nuances of Capullo’s art, especially in the scenes between Bruce and Julie, there’s also an interlude featuring Duke and Daryl that nicely refers back to the events of Batman #44 & We Are Robin #1, and FCO’s sublime colors take us from the roaring orange-purples-and reds of the furnace to the icy blue depths of Gotham were the Collider that Jeri Powers company has built to make one giant leap for man – and the periodic table – to the “island of stability” bring all the elements of story and art together in a way that is quite simply astounding. As for Mr Bloom, well, suffice to say we finally see him in action, and its blooming incredible!

Bruce’s solution for dealing with the trophies proves to be utterly inspired too, and completely indicative of everything Snyder and Capullo have set out to accomplish with this arc. Batman #45 builds towards an exciting climax, with the powers-that-be poised to decide the new Batman’s fate, Jim must step up and show who’s the boss – just as terrible danger prepares to strike during a key moment of “censored” dialogue!

Batman #45 is another excellent issue in the Superheavy arc from Scott Snyder, with terrific artwork by Greg Capullo, this storyline continues to throw new and unexpected curve balls our way with every new issue. The various plot strands seem to be coming together now, all of the characters get a good share of the limelight as well, and the stage is now set for one hell of a face-off between the new Batman and Mr Bloom!

Publisher: DC Comics

Writer: Scott Snyder

Art: Greg Capullo

Inks: Danny Miki

Color: FCO Plascencia

Letters: Steve Wands

Cover Capullo/Miki/FCO