Writer James Tynion IV
Artist Jorge Jimenez
Colors Tomeu Morey
Letters Clayton Cowles
Cover Jimenez & Morey
Variant Cover Derrick Chew
Bruce has the trip of a lifetime of the new Joker toxin Punchline helped the clown develop. Harley saves him once again, this time bringing him to a place she calls Eden. A paradise of exotic plants Ivy made for her when she had dumped the Joker. In an effort to save his mind, Harley gives Bruce a poultice to purge the toxin from his body. This doesn’t come without a cost. It sends Bruce deep into his subconscious to face his inner demons head-on. While there, he finds his father figure and oldest friend Alfred. Who gives him the last reality check he needed to get out of the funk he was in.
In the real, Punchline finds Harley’s Eden. Holding a flamethrower, she’s prepared to burn down every bit of Harley’s peace and tranquility. Like a new girlfriend and an ex, they duke it out to see not only who is better but to see where both of them stand in the city of Gotham. One a hapless doctor who gave the worst person possible a chance at love. The other, a disillusioned college grad with a sense of true nihilism. During their exchange, Bruce snaps out of it just in time to drop a Punchline with single-handedly the most popular line in his whole history.
Joker takes a gander at his new whip. I limo designed just for him to be driven around like Miss Daisy around the now chaotic Gotham City. There he reminisces over a Gotham before Batman. When the streets were rife with crime from both lawmen and criminals alike. A city that he feels Batman has lulled into a false sense of security with his idea of peace. To Joker it is all one big farcical dream from the mind of a broken child.
Bruce gathers the family together. It is time to take back their city. With the family reunited and Bruce acknowledging he’s always needed them. The form a plan to take the city back by force. While they do so, Bruce moves in on the Joker at Ace Chemicals. Knowing full well the clown prince of crime has fully prepared for this and has quite the surprise for Bruce’s arrival.
So despite it being more filler and character development. I liked this issue. It doesn’t take away from how much pure build up this has been with the artist doing a lot of the heavy lifting. This seems to finally be coming to a head with the real dynamic duo of Gotham duking it out for who gets supremacy over the city. Is it run by clowns? Or bats?