Batman returns in issue #43 and he still doesn't know who he is.
It should be said, the Bruce Wayne Batman doesn't know who he is. The Jim Gordon one certainly does.
He's the one reaching out to Wayne to outfit his desperate needs with Wayne Tech and help divine the mystery behind Mr. Bloom and the seeds he sows that give users "terrible abilities."
Alas, Bruce Wayne is too busy making goo-goo eyes at the young lovely whom he helps at the local outreach center.
Also making eyes is none other than the Man of of Steel himself visiting from Metropolis and in the company of Alfred the butler.
Before we get to the identity of Mr. Bloom, it's probably worthy to see what is going on with the Dark Knight himself and why he is so clueless to his true nature.
When Batman died in unison with the Joker he came in contact with "Dionesium." This not only allowed Batman to experience his rebirth but rewired his brain to such an extant that he is no longer the man crushed by guilt and forged into the dark avenger eternally in pursuit of justice.
Alfred never got around to telling the reborn Bruce Wayne of his alter ego. He did fill him in of his tragic past but stopped just short of the evolution into one of the great superheroes of all time.
It seems Alfred sees this as a gift. A gift that would allow Bruce Wayne to grow into his true self. Compassionate, loving and charitable.
Good grief Alfred, what are you thinking?
Acting as the voice of sanity, Superman tells Alfred this cannot stand.
Acting as the voice of insanity, Alfred threatens Clark with kryptonite.
* Editorial Aside *
Maybe Alfred's niece, Julia should completely take over the duties of the Bat Cave. Alfred is so consumed with Wayne being the innocent he could have been, he actually threatened the world's greatest hero with his one weakness.
You need to lie down Alfred.
Well, all is not lost. Batman was working on an invention insuring there will always be a Batman so there is our narrative "out" for this mess.
But seriously Alfred, threatening Superman with kryptonite? If I were the Man of Steel I'd just fly in sometime, grab Wayne and plug him into the machine so we can have the old Bats back.
* End Editorial Aside *
Alfred underestimates the seriousness of Mr. Bloom and his seeds. As the Gordon Batman struggles with this new threat our Mr. Bloom meets with the Penguin.
Naturally, if there is a new drug on the streets of Gotham the Penguin wants a piece of the action.
Ha, well, not just a piece, the whole thing. The Penguin has one of his hoods "off" Mr. Bloom and thereby sets something into motion not one of us saw coming.
Quite the metamorphisis I'd say.
So, who is Mr. Bloom?
Well, if Wayne can undergo a metamorphisis of his own on a neurological basis why can't the Joker, with whom Batman met his demise, undergo a change of his own except on a biological one?
Yes, I'm saying Mr. Bloom is the Joker.
Bloom is conveniently wearing a mask so as not to spoil his true identity. I'm sure the writer, Scott Snyder, didn't want to divulge all the goodies in one issue.
Bloom is also a lanky sort much like the Joker (check out the pose on our topmost picture.) and his machination of sowing discord in Gotham with his seeds is something the Joker would claim second nature to.
Outwitting the Penguin is something the Joker would find quite easy.
Would the Joker know getting shot would allow him to evolve into that gangly monster we see in the last frame? Eh, maybe not, but he may not know he is the Joker either.
This organic being may realize on a seperate level his true nature by evolving into something new. With the Joker as his biological forebear perhaps the sentience would be enough to make that subconscious determination.
So, as we close, if you look in the corner of this last picture Snyder asks sthe question, "Who is Mr. Bloom?"
Think he'll tell us?
I don't. I think he'll drag it along a little further. God knows the Joker loves to make a grand entrance. What grander one than when Batman regains all his memory and capabilities.
That should be a few issues from now. Five maybe?
See you then.