In the third issue of this ongoing, delayed numerous times series, we pick up the story of Dawn Golden's disappearance, a suspicious cop, the theft of the Batmobile, the monster attacking indigents, the appearance of Etrigan and the escape of Killer Croc.
We touch on each storyline from the get-go, with the possessed version of Ragman attacking a vagrant and Etrigan attempting to stop him. Ragman notices the lack of rhyming in Etrigan's speech and determines that he's lost his status. They break apart and Etrigan tells the vagrant he isn't there to save him.
We cut to the Batmobile thief, careening down the streets of Gotham. Eventually a voice on the other end, likely Alfred, decides to help before someone else gets hurt. The scene is brief, and ends before we get any answers about the identity of the thief.
Meanwhile, in a diner, Harvey Bullock and Jim Gordon discuss the fact that Forbes is gunning for Gordon's job. As Gordon is saying Forbes can have it, who should show up but Forbes? He explodes at Gordon over an off-the-cuff remark about his age. After a near-fight, he's escorted out by two officers.
Finally, we get to what is supposed to be the main story. Batman begs Penguin to let Dawn Golden go. That's when we learn why Penguin targeted Dawn. He met her, was smitten, and took her to an event only to discover she and her friends had a "freak date"-type competition going on. Penguin signs off, letting Batman know the bombs are going to go off in eight seconds. Killer Croc gets out while the getting is good, telling Batman he's on his own.
After struggling for a whole page, Batman breaks free and narrowly escapes the explosion. Figuring out that Dawn is nearby, Batman begins to search for her. He starts, logically, with the basement, same place he saw the wires leading before.
Back to the car thief, Alfred is providing instructions on how to drive it. He warns her that whoever she's working for won't let her live once she deposits the car for them. She concedes and wants to know how to get out.
Batman finds Dawn, heat lamps slowly cooking her. She's alive, but barely. He rushes in and they finally introduce the romance element, having Batman stare at Dawn before he rescues her. He carries her out of the building, only to find the Batmobile waiting for him there. In the distance, he notices a figure fleeing. He shrugs it off and gets into the Batmobile.
The car thief runs off, trying to determine what she's supposed to do.
We don't get any resolution on that, but we see Penguin talking from his hospital bed to a mystery figure. He claims he did everything according to the plan and now it's time for the other to hold up his end of the bargain. The figure goes to remove his hat, saying Penguin need only do one more thing. Penguin needs to open the gates of Hell. The issue ends with a two-page spread of a demon, leering at the reader.
Maybe it's just because I'm so sick of waiting for this book to come out, but I honestly didn't like this issue. I don't think the art in it was worth the months-long delays. I consistently like the art in the book, but I'm getting to the point where I don't want to wait for the book and wonder if it'll actually be in my file when it's supposed to be out. I'm happy that David Finch has some help in the form of Scott Williams and Richard Friend, but I don't have a lot of faith in the book.
I'd praised the series earlier for not making Dawn Golden yet another one of Bruce Wayne's love interests, but apparently I have to take that back as well. Batman was so overcome just by looking at her, he barely managed to rescue her.
With another issue solicited for July 27th, and one on August 24th, I can't help but wonder how they're going to wrap up all the threads they've left dangling in this issue.
Batman: The Dark Knight #3:
Reviewed by Melinda Hinman