The Story (aka from the Publisher)
After Commissioner Gordon’s arrest, Batman’s world is turned upside down. New allies emerge, old allies fall and his rogues gallery of villains are not quite who they seem. With a new power structure being established in Gotham amidst rising tension and chaos, can Batman adapt to the changing status quo?
One of the major themes in this volume is the role of family, both in negative as well as positive ways. Alfred has gone missing. It turns out that Alfred has been doused with a huge amount of fear toxin. Alfred’s daughter, Julia, comes looking to check in on him, and stumbles into the Bat Cave. There she fulfills her father’s role in aiding Batman.
Bruce is spending more and more time out in the streets keeping peace. The chaos and suffering bring those who grew up at Wayne Manor back to the Bat Cave. Together, they will strive to create order out of chaos. Red Robin (Tim Drake), Batgirl (Barbara Gordon), and Red Hood (Jason Todd) all show up despite Batman’s desire to keep to himself. They know Batman’s resistance to not only asking for help, but accepting it. That doesn’t stop them, though. They know that what is best for Gotham is an unbroken Batman. And they know what is best for Batman is that he is not left alone.
Stephanie Brown is the Spoiler. As the daughter of Cluemaster, she has been blogging about her father’s criminal activities, putting an end to them before they get started. It causes some tension in the father-daughter relationship, that is beyond reconciliation.
Save the Cat
Catwoman makes her appearance in this volume as she rescues an endangered wild kitten from being devoured by dogs for sport. This is who Catwoman is. She is always looking out for the marginalized cat. She is devastated when the cat she rescues dies. She tells her father, who has used an orphan named Jade to reach out to Catwoman, “Selina Kyle is an orphan. And she likes it that way.”
Her father wants to reconcile for the purpose of gaining leverage in the community that he once had. He knows that Gotham is spinning into chaos and he knows that there is only one person who can bring order. Catwoman.
The rescued cat symbolizes Gotham City and its relationship to Catwoman.
Deliver Us From Evil
In one of the most powerful scenes in the graphic novel, Nightwing is fading into darkness fast. As he does so, he begins praying the Lord’s Prayer. It is when he comes to the line, “deliver from us evil . . .” that he fades, and the panel fades, into darkness.
It captures the heart of the story. All the fighting, all the struggling, is to deliver from evil. The very evil that is slipping Gotham into chaos. The very evil that is bringing Batman to the edge of brokenness.
And sometimes, all we can do, is pray.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for a digital review copy.