Who are you Mr. Bloom?
Well, that's revealing.
How many iterations of Batman have you known Mr. Bloom?
In Batman #44 Bloom was ret-conned into the series by Scott Snyder in a move that I initially dismissive of. (Batman #44.)
Now, I am not so sure. The above statement tells us at least Bloom is aware of others that have donned the cape and cowl in Bruce Wayne's absence. Something even Commisioner Gordon only mused at when Dick Grayson took over for a spell. (Gordon thought he seemed smaller and "happier.")
True, this is a post"Flashpoint," "New 52" and "Convergence" story line so Snyder can do anything he wants with the Bloom background. But, despite all the changes to DC, there is always some commonality that preserves the major moments in DC mythology and particularly Batman mythos.
Who are you Mr. Bloom?
In my review of Batman #43 I was sure Bloom was some sort of weird organic reincarnation of The Joker. Maybe he is still and Scott Snyder has the most bizarre and twisted conclusion to this arc we have ever experienced.
If not, who is this being that has such intimate knowledge of Batman? Alfred? One of the Robins? A long lost girlfriend seemingly dead and mysteriously resurrected? I know it strains credulity but this is the comics so if we are going to go there let's go there all the way.
(Hmm, Bloom is kind of thin maybe it is Elastic man. Nah, even I'm not that crazy.)
Want some evidence Bloom is someone we know?
"But it doesn't make sense." "None." "Bloom can't be...."
Of course Duke's revelation is interrupted by the Penguin himself. We don't want to learn too much do we Mr. Snyder!
Speaking of Snyder here is what he said about Bloom in a recent interview with Newsarama, "Bloom, literally and figuratively, is the thing that kind of comes up in those cracks that happen between all of those things that are supposed to be sewn together by the city."
You mean like a weed Scott? (For the whole interview go here.) This statement doesn't exactly point to someone we already know in the Batman mythos but it could just be Snyder keeping his cards close to the vest. (Joker card?)
So, readers of Batman #46 may have noticed I skipped a little ahead here. Let's catch where Batman #45 left off.
Bloom had captured a Bat Blimp and set it against the movers and shakers of Gotham. He picks off the fundraisers one by one and taunts Geri and Commissioner Sawyer. The Gordon Batman comes out of hiding and nearly manages to capture Bloom in clever fashion. Equally, Bloom counters Batman's moves and makes his escape.
All a bit campy and a little too predictable. But it does move us along to what the real Batman is doing which is...
Yep, the currently oblivious Bruce is enjoying a nice morning shower. It is "the morning after" and instead of looking deeply into his own mind, Bruce wants to know what is going on with Jules.
This post pillow talk does have some significance in that in provide an ever so subtle crack into the mind of Batman and his history.
While Bruce is by and large totally unaware of his former alter ego as Batman, he does know that Jules' father had a sordid past and he is not beyond putting the pieces together. Despite her father being the man that sold the gun to the man who murdered his parents he blithely wants to carry on and marry Jules.
Woof! Things that are said in the shower! Bruce is so far removed from the most pivotal moment in his life he nonchalantly pops the question and fits in a little naughty time. (BTW, a hint was dropped by Jules that something is going on with her, probably something physical. Cue future heartbreak.)
Oh Gotham, why?
Fortunately we have the hubris of an arrogant city to distract us.
Despite being easily menaced by Bloom earlier in our story Gotham continues on its path of self delusion. Geri shows Gordon her army of Bat robots that she is utterly convinced will protect Gotham. This from a city that once considered Batman a pariah. Now they are telling themselves they have the better solution and are using the symbol of the Bat as their shield.
Sheer hubris dear readers. Sheer hubris.
Snyder has positioned Bruce Wayne as a small picture man that can't see what role he plays in Gotham. Alternately, Gotham has been positioned by Snyder as a city that is seduced by the big picture that can't see the small picture.
The devil is in the details Gothamites.
Wake Up Call
The only man on the planet with a grip of what is going on is Gordon. In true Batman fashion he wants to go it alone. He correctly assumes an army of Bat battle-bots would only lead to a large scale disaster.
The man that should truly be on the ball is Bruce Wayne and he is still playing catch up. His wake up call comes in the form of a child's drawing. The urgency of the situation is starting to dawn on him (Bat-sense tingling?) and he realizes he can no longer find that seed Bloom left behind.
Here we have another tie in to the children of Gotham. Snyder seems to be focusing on Wayne's forgotten childhood and future of Gotham's kids. If they have a future that is.
Gotham used to be a thriving community with the emphasis on "community." Where once was charity and a populace that took care of its own, now stands arrogance that has created a divide where a path (Blossom Row) once brought people together. Through that crack evil blooms. (See what I did there?)
Bloom has proved to be formidable foe. As our story closes "Bat-Gordo" is in the grip of his machine "Rookie." One can assume the rest of the Bat Battle Bots will soon be in service to Bloom.
Better hurry up and snap out of it Wayne!
Okay. Who is up for a little spoiler?
You're going to have to scroll way down.
A little lower.
Last spoiler warning!
Want to see what Bruce Wayne looks like when he finally realizes he's Batman?
Here it is..
Yanick Paquette will be sitting in as illustrator for Batman#49 as Greg Capullo will be taking a break. (Capullo will illustrate Batman#50.)
I love Paquette's take on "German Expressionism" especially in the style of F. W. Murnau. Wayne seems to be reacting as if he is in the thrall of some demonic presence.
I certainly hope so!
See you back here for Batman #47. Bat Battle Bots anyone?