Batman #44 Comic Recap/Review

Batman #44 Recap/Review: A Simple Case


Batman #44 Recap

The body lies less than one foot from the old city limit.  A boy, not even sixteen years old.  A kid.  A kid left for the crows.

Looking at the scene, one thought goes through Batman’s head.  He will catch someone for this.  He will punish the one who did it, and stop it from happening again.  Jim Gordon arrives, and asks Batman what happened.  The boy’s name was Peter Duggio, and he had been shot four times before being dumped here.  But what is interesting is that the shots didn’t kill him.  He died from a fall, from several thousand feet in the air.  This is surprising as the area is outside of any normal flight plans and nobody should have been flying over this region.

Batman begins to pursue some leads.  In the past few months, since the defeat of the so-called Riddler, more and more villains have risen.  Crime is at a peak, and each foe has a personal vendetta with the city.  He knows of one villain with connections to the boys’ home.  Oswald Cobblepot.  He’s been making an empire of his own and has been doing quite well for himself.  Making deals not with the Falcones or the Maronis, but younger street gangs.  Batman invades the Penguin’s home and defeat’s Oswald’s goons, only for the villain to unleash his lightning umbrella.  But the Dark Knight has been upgrading, and his suit is well grounded.  He captures the villain, and asks about the boy.

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Though Cobblepot denies knowing the kid, Batman is easily able to reveal the truth through some… unusual interrogation techniques.  The story begins at a warehouse containing freezing coils, as Oswald plans on freezing a good quarter mile of the Gotham River.  The boy introduced himself to Cobblepot and had a business proposal.   Peter amused Oswald, so he heard the kid out.  Duggio was running a bodega until his father was critically injured during the Zero Year and the bank foreclosed the shop.  Now vacant, the store was taken by a gang called the Four Fives, who have been fighting with Oswald’s gang.  Peter offered to let Cobblepot sell illegal goods through the bodega if they kept the Four Fives out and let Duggio otherwise run the shop in peace.  But last Oswald saw, Peter was alive and well.

Batman goes to find the bodega and discovers it has been torched.  He scares off some kids hanging out nearby, and goes to investigate.  He knows that Penguin took the store and gave it to the Four Fives as a peace offering, leaving Peter betrayed and at the rival gang’s mercy.  Inside the store, Batman finds himself surrounded by members of the Four Fives.  Their leader, a man named Tano, calls his men off, and asks who the Dark Knight thinks he is.  Batman only replies with a name – “Peter Duggio.”  The Dark Knight says that Tano must have torched this place and dumped Peter’s body along one of the Penguin’s shipping routes to prove a point.  The gang leader says that is stupid, as why the hell would he have need or access to a helicopter?  Tano explains how Duggio was acting unusual when they got control of the store again, and violently attacked one of his men, accidentally starting the fire in the process.  Then the kid ran off.

Batman #44 Recap/Review: A Simple Case

At this point, Batman gets a call from Jim Gordon.  The bullets found in Peter were actually from a police officer named Ned Howler.  His police record suggests he has a coloured past, so Batman confronts him about the boy.  The cop found the kid clearly under the influence of something… but wound up just shooting him and taking off.  He came back assuming Peter was dead, only to find the boy gone and nothing but a large puddle of blood.  Batman then hacks into what little nearby surveillance is available to track Duggio down to the hospital where his father is being cared for.  There, he meets Peter’s cousin, who explains that after the Penguin’s betrayal, he told Peter to go to the man with all the money – Bruce Wayne.  But the boy wasn’t able to get in contact with the billionaire, and with that, he was out of options.  He decided to stand up for himself, like Batman.

Peter’s cousin explains how there is a place hidden within Gotham.  It was once called Blossom Row.  But since Zero Year, it has been abandoned.  The alley has become wild and overgrown.  It has turned into a refuge to those who have had it with the world as it is.  A special place.  A garden.  Where new things can be grown.  A man waits at the end of this alley.  A man who had something special, just for you.

The autopsy of Peter is sent to Batman by Jim.  The boy had a strange substance in his blood.  Culled from the work of Dr. Kirk Langstrom, bonded with steroidal venom and other components, this was a back-alley mixture.  Sophisticated and raw, all at once.  It gave him speed and strength, but with catastrophic damage to his body and potential mutagenic side effects.  And just like that, Batman has enough information that he begins to piece together what happened to the boy.

After he was shot, a mutation triggered.  All Peter wanted to do in that moment was run.. and fly away.  So the boy flew, at least until the drug wore off.  This whole time, Batman thought there was somebody to catch.  Tano, Cobblepot, Ned Howler, Bruce Wayne, the whole city.  But none of them mattered.  The one Batman should have caught was Peter Duggio.  Before he fell.  He will do it next time.  He will catch someone.

Batman finds the kids he scared off earlier.  They run, but the Dark Knight stops them.  He wants to talk.

Batman #44 Review

Hello and welcome to Comic Island!  My name is Arden, and this is my recap, and review, of Batman #44.

Yeah, so that was… surprising.  But man, this was an awesome comic.  Written by both Scott Snyder and Brian Azzarello, and with art by Jock, this was an unexpected treat.  Everything about this comic is phenomenal.  The art, cover to cover, was amazing, and this Jock fellow, who I’ve read a few of the comics he’s drawn before, deserves a lot of praise for his work here.  I mean, just look at this.  This is amazing, and really sets the mood and pace of this story wonderfully.

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And the writing is great too.  I love how Batman operates as a detective here.  This mystery isn’t solved linearly, and Batman sort of pieces it together through various channels of evidence.  I was a lot of fun following his process and was a great story over all, with a strong emotional art and some weighty themes explored in a relatively short amount of time.  And the comic itself holds up really well on it’s own.  You don’t really need to know much about what is going on in modern Batman to enjoy this story.  It’s an excellent Batman story and the kind of thing you could give to a casual reader or somebody who has never touched a comic and show them the power of a good comic book.  I recommend you do so if you have the chance, and you should definitely check this comic out for yourself.

There’s only one problem – the comic confused the hell out of me.  Not for the story, which was quite logical and well thought out – but for it’s place in the ongoing Batman comic.  It’s so weird how much we’re diverting from the new Batman at a time when it is immensely important to be focused on establishing this new role for Jim Gordon.  Instead, we get hints that Mr. Bloom has been operating for a lot longer than we thought, and an ever increasing amount of evidence that DC can’t go five minutes without Bruce Wayne being Batman.

Now it makes a big difference that this comic happens to be very good, and stands out as one of the better in a run by Scott Snyder that on the whole I’ve been enjoying since Endgame… er, more or less.  So yeah, it’s confusing, in terms of it’s relative role in the ongoing story, but well, who cares?  It was awesome, and I’d be happy for more comics like this.  I enjoyed it very much, and wish that we got more clever stuff like this with the new Batman.

Mr. Bloom is also more and more becoming a cool new villain and looks less and less like a rip-off of the Slender Man.  I approve of this as well on both counts, and it is piquing my interest for what comes next in issue 45.  Let me know what you guys think will happen, because honestly?  At this point I have no idea where the story is going.
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