Issue three, as usual, was co-plotted by Paul Jenkins and David Finch, with writing by the former and pencils by the latter.
The issue opens where we left, with the hulked up Joker attacking Batman. As they battle and destroy the train, Batman claims he thought Joker retired, Joker says he came back to retire Batman first. Batman attempts to warn Joker of the side effects of the toxin he's got running through his veins, but Joker dismisses it and says he's got the new and improved version. Unfortunately, as Batman points out, it doesn't help his acting because Joker is left-handed. That's when we find out this version of Joker is actually Clayface, who Batman makes swift work of.
The White Rabbit, who has been watching the whole thing from a corner of the train, approaches as Batman is down and taunts him, telling him to chase her as she injects him with a green substance.
Just then, Flash runs in. He didn't see the White Rabbit and says maybe Batman took one too many to the head.
Outside, an officer calls Forbes from Internal Affairs, and lets him know exactly what they found at the scene, which was nothing. Forbes rants on and on about how he's going to get Batman, and a tied-up Clayface crushes his car from above. It seems Batman threw him down from a third floor landing. Just as Forbes begins opening fire on him, Batman appears behind him and tells him exactly how things are going to go from now on. Forbes accuses him of protecting rich "turds" like Bruce Wayne and Batman tells him that he's Batman with or without Bruce Wayne.
Later, Bruce is at dinner with Jaina, flirting back and forth until she throws a phrase out that came up with the White Rabbit. It puts Bruce off his guard just a little, and he gets a text from Alfred that lets him know the White Rabbit was spotted elsewhere in town. And then he and Jaina go for dessert, off-panel.
Back at the Batcave, Bruce and Alfred discuss the composition of the toxin and its effects. It causes an intense adrenaline rush, followed by a breakdown of the body. The source turns out to be one of the rarest plants on earth, which leads Batman to pay a visit to Poison Ivy, who is supposedly on the side of good now.
Flash accompanies him, but has to leave when he gets pricked by a thorn that is one of the carriers for the toxin. Running will keep his body from metabolizing the toxin.
Batman enters, only to find the place looking like one of Poison Ivy's typical lairs, which is apparently cause for him to quietly say "Ivy?" as the issue ends with the teaser "Next: Where have all the flowers gone?"
Once again, I find myself disappointed with this issue. We're now three issues into the arc and the villain of each issue has turned out to just be a red herring along the way. There are so many plot holes and so many things that seem out of character to me, I can even list them all. I find it difficult to believe this Batman is the same Batman running around in the other series. As much as I like the Flash, I don't know why he's suddenly thrown into this series. This feels exactly like one of my complaints from last issue. It's my belief the Flash is here simply so David Finch gets the chance to draw the Flash.
The art for this issue is good, but that's no surprise. That has been my comment fairly consistently. I'm not sure how much I like the look of Bruce out of the cowl, but I thoroughly enjoyed the half-page of the Batcave. Equally enjoyable, at least in my mind, was the splash/credits page of Joker transforming back to Clayface. Credit where credit is due.
Overall, just because of the continually weak plotting, I give this issue:
Reviewed by Melinda Hinman