It seems that for the relaunch of Batman through DC’s New 52, the plan was to put him through hell over and over and over again. His shadow has become a ladder and any that pass underneath it are made to suffer. Another Robin was killed (but honestly, by this point Bruce should know better than to put anyone in that costume). And now, yet another person suffers the consequences of knowing Gotham’s Dark Knight. What’s more, I warned him last month.

In last month’s review of this title, I complained that Batman using his vehicle as a taxi to shuttle his pianist girlfriend, Natalya, to her performance (by air… dropping her on the roof… for all of Gotham to see). I pronounced this very uncharacteristic of him and, as a result of it, someone has to pay the consequences. As Bats explores Gotham’s vast labyrinth of sewers to trace a trail of bodies back to its source, The Mad Hatter makes plans of his own to retaliate against Batman for ruining his plan. Back at Wayne Manor, Bruce contemplates giving up the cape and cowl for the mundane life of a billionaire playboy. This, he decides, will be his last case and before he continues working on it, he decides to take a trip to Natalya’s and give her the news. Little does he know, The Hatter has already been to his lover’s apartment and abducted her. Using, a GPS device he planted on her, Batman locks onto her signal. It is headed down, down, down… and then comes to a sudden messy stop all over the Bat Signal.

Greg Hurwitz has followed up last month’s episode quite well here. With all the death surrounding Batman, I wonder why more writers of the regular monthlies haven’t explored Bruce’s desire to quit. I also believe Hurwitz made up for taking Bats out of character last month, by having him pay the highest consequence for his oversight. The plot and dialog move along nicely and I am completely eager to see how Batman handles this latest death. Personally, I would like to see a return to the day when Batman wasn’t so nice. How about before he throws in the towel, we see him go on a rampage and snuff out Gotham’s worst elements for good, leading to him being locked up in Arkham and given day passes to go out and clean the streets every once in a while?

Szymon Kudranski brings us more jittery artwork that really showcases the complete mania of all the major characters in any Batman title. His facial expressions really draw the reader into The Hatter’s insanity. The angles he presents are at times nerve racking, perfect for this story. I can not wait to see the rage he brings to the story when Batman goes every bit as psychotic as his enemies.

The colors by Hi-Fi don’t seem to be as well done this month. There are still tons of shadows, prerequisites of Bat books, but the color seems a little flatter and a little less grainy. Now, I’m not sure if DC is outsourcing the color work to Hi-Fi. If they are, then there is a chance that this issue was handled by a different colorist or team of colorists which would explain the difference. But, for continuity’s sake, I wish they would keep the same style.

Originality: 4/5 – yet another death for Bats to brood over; but this could lead to a more psychotic Batman.
Story: 5/5 – moves along at an even pace with everything falling into place where it should.
Dialog: 5/5 – no senseless melodrama here (well, some on the part of The Hatter, but that’s his character).
Art: 4/5 – jittery and perfect for this story, but a bit simplistic.
Colors: 3/5 – shallower and less grungy than last month.

Score: 