As much fun as it’s been to see Jim Gordon as Gotham City’s mecha-Batman, it’s inevitable that Bruce Wayne will be back in the cowl in time for his big-screen appearance in Superman V Batman: Dawn Of Justice, and the character is getting ever closer to reclaiming his superhero identity in the pages of Batman. Writer Scott Snyder has been gradually pulling Bruce back into the field, and in next week’s Batman #48, he gives the character a big push by having him encounter his archnemesis, The Joker. Their park bench conversation is considerably less action-packed than their usual interactions, but Snyder effectively builds up the tension with Joker’s cryptic dialogue, indicating that a big change is on the horizon.
That big change needs to happen soon, because Gordon is getting trounced by Mr. Bloom, the terrifying new villain that has given artist Greg Capullo the opportunity to create some seriously unnerving visuals in this story arc. The art team of Capullo, inker Danny Miki, and colorist FCO Plascencia has been essential to the success of this run, and they’ve done phenomenal work juggling the bombastic superhero elements with atmospheric horror visuals. The tone of Bruce and Joker’s somber conversation is dramatically different from the intensity of Bloom’s attack on Gordon, and Snyder’s story hits harder thanks to the versatility and specificity of his art team.