When we last left our hero, he was reeling from the apparent guilt of his friend, Comissoner Gordon, in the collision of two subway trains, which cost massive casualties. GCPD newcomer Jason Bard came into town just in time to be in on the arrest of Gordon for the crime. As we join Batman and Gordon in this issue, the former is visiting the latter in a holding cell and things are looking increasingly troubled.
News travels fast, and every one of the current Bat Family soon learns of the crash and the arrest of Gordon. Batgirl, Barbara Gordon, is of course the most shocked. Harper Row reads about it on the internet. Red Robin, now free of the clutches of "writer" Scott Lobdell, books a flight from New York to Gotham. Jason Todd is picking up the news in a bar as far as Hong Kong. And... Batwoman and Batwing are also in this issue (who cares?).
Batman suspects that Gordon may have been hallucinating as the result of some kind of drug or poison and takes a blood sample to examine. Exploring the security footage at the transit authority hub, he's surprised by Catwoman, looking to have a little fun with the guy she boinked on a rooftop once, which I guess was a Justice League initiation? (It's probably how Cyborg got on the team, too.) Unfortunately for her, sex has to wait, because one, she's not being written by Judd Winnick, and two, Batman discovers something shocking about the man Gordon chased into the subway tunnel.
It turns out the man, Derek Grady, was the subordinate of the mysterious figure who spent a few pages in this issue reminiscing about the way Gotham used to be with Mayer Hady. A man who thus far has not appeared in the New 52 continuity, who in the old continuity had been shot twice in the head by Harvey Dent (it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy). The man that Frank Miller wrote being scratched by Catwoman in Batman: Year One.
Yes indeed, the man behind this mess appears to be none other than Carmine "The Roman" Falcone! The big Italian cheese. Capo di tutti capi. The Godfather. Apparently in this new continuity, instead of being Two-Face's first victim (aside from fashion and coin money), Falcone was merely chased away by Batman and Gordon sometime after Zero Year. And with Gordon disgraced, Falcone is looking to get his foot back into the door.
Another good issue. The plot is already starting to thicken and there's plenty to chew on here with regards to the various mysteries. It seems like the Bat crew will get heavily involved in this case and I like that Falcone still retains the scars Selina left on him from Year One, even though it's out of continuity. I'm wondering how that event occured in this new DC universe, and I'm certain it will be revealed over time. In the old continuity, the mafia proper was removed mostly by the Holiday killer and the advent of the "freaks", criminals like Joker, Two-Face, Poison Ivy, Riddler, and so on. But in Snyder's Zero Year, the freaks were already coming up when Batman was starting out, with the Red Hood gang, Doctor Death, and Riddler. Everything must've happpened over a much shorter period of time, and while it's a shame to lose the Jeph Loeb classics as canon, I'm cautiously optimistic about what we might be getting in its place. That is, as long as writers like Snyder are involved.
We see that Selina is pretty shocked that Falcone has reappeared, and if you recall from the flash-forward issue of Snyder's Batman that Selina eventually becomes a crime boss in her own right, it makes me think that perhaps Catwoman finds herself either tempted by Falcone's connections and power, or having to set herself up a power base to oppose him. Perhaps both. It'll be interesting to see how we get there.
Spoiler for next issue: Spoiler for next issue!
- Penguin Truth
Story & Script: Scott Snyder & James Tynion IV
Consulting Writers: Fay Fawkes, John Layman & Tim Seeley
Art By: Jason Fabok
Colors By: Brad Anderson
Lettering By: Nick J. Napolitano
Varient Cover By: Andy Kubert, Johanthan Glapion & Brad Anderson
Editor: Katie Kubert
Group Editor: Mark Doyle
Batman Created By Bob K--AHAHAHAHA, NO. Batman Created By Bill Finger