Writer James Tynion IV
Pencils Carlo Pagulayan
Inks Danny Miki
Artist (Pages 13-16) Carlos D’anda
The city starts to recover from Joker’s war. With hundreds dead and many more wounded. Gotham has grown quite tired of Batman and his enemies. Having been ousted as the dark knight and losing his fortune, Bruce needs a new way of life. Lucious, having inherited his billions, hires Grifter to provide personal security in these trying times.
Bruce pays Lucious a visit at great risk to his friend. Lucious explains to Bruce that the board and the IRS are now watching those billions very closely. Despite this, he offers to give it back. Bruce cannot accept. Lucious then explains to Bruce that gone are the days when he can just have a new suit overnight, or 3D print a brand spanking new Batmobile with new specs. He’s gonna have to tighten his belt quite a bit. That means fixing his own car, repairing his suits, and retrieving batarangs. Bruce realizes how correct his old friend is.
Bruce begins to work on the remaining diehard Joker goons left in the city. After so much exposure to Joker toxins over the years, smilers have become the moniker of these zealots. Unlike most other henchmen who jump from boss to boss, smilers are too unreliable to be with any but the clown prince of crime.
When Bruce arrives at their usual hangout, he finds the entire place has been bloodied by clown bodies and viscera. The only clue as to what’s happened is a strange insignia spray-painted on the wall. Recognizing this symbol, Bruce tells Babs to cut off all coms until he calls her for her own safety.
Elsewhere Harley finds an apartment to lay her head and rest after everything that has taken place. Across from the building Clownhunter finishes up a YouTube video on how to make a rocket launcher at home. Right as the video finishes. Ghostmaker pops up behind him, ready to end Clownhunter’s life for the crimes he has committed. Bruce arrives in the knick of time to save the boy, but who is the mysterious rival of Bruce? They have a very obvious history.
I am pretty excited to see where this goes. Bruce down to the bare minimum for his crime-fighting and a rival of seemingly equal means popping up bodes very well for the dynamic in Gotham. It is about time someone new arrives who is on par with the bat and better yet, has a different philosophy. With artwork that truly captures both the serenity of this new Gotham and the controlled chaos of the rivals fighting, things are looking up in the mythos of this dark and desolate city.