Batman: The Dark Knight #8 switches up its creative team, this time written by Joe Harris and drawn by Ed Benes. This series, the brainchild of David Finch, credits him now for the cover only. I wonder if this is the reason for my enjoyment of this issue?
The issue opens with Batman being called to a grisly crime scene on the Gotham Metro line. Gordon shows him a train car full of bloodied corpses. Batman quickly concludes they did it to each other.
Examination of the station leads Batman to the conclusion that it is almost one hundred years old and nearby tunnels and tracks have been closed for almost that long. He says if something underground is causing the people to do this to one another, he needs to discover it before it happens again.
Meanwhile, at GCPD Headquarters, we see Forbes grilling Gordon. He tells Gordon that he has to go see a psychiatrist, to have his emotional and mental stability evaluated. This plot line was largely ignored in the last issue, so it’s good to see it back.
Batman, in his search underground, uncovers a long disused line, and two people who seem to have discovered it before him. Dumpson and Deever Tweed, better known as Tweedles Dum and Dee, attack him in a short battle that they escape from relatively unharmed. Batman and Alfred discuss the possibility they were under mind control and Alfred wonders what it might mean for the rest of Gotham shortly before a senator, set to announce his presidency, blows his head on national television.
At the psychiatrists office, Gordon admits to Dr. Prescott that he doesn’t feel comfortable with therapy and that he’s not sure it’s for him. She counters by telling him that a person in his position could probably use someone to talk to. When Gordon asks how much he has to tell her to get Forbes off his back, she reminds of doctor-patient confidentiality and tells him that she will defend this confidence to her grave. He discusses a few plot points from other books and recent events; his wife coming back, Barbara being in the chair and then out, and James Gordon Jr. being in Arkham, before asking if she rides the subway to work. He tells her she shouldn’t.
Outside in Gotham, Alfred tells Batman about the calls currently flooding the police station. He asks once more if Batman is certain the Tweeds didn’t kill anyone. Batman tells him the victims killed themselves, the forensics will prove it. He agrees, however, the Tweeds were not innocent bystanders. Before he got out of the tunnel, he detected a broadcast on an unusual frequency. Alfred does spectrum analysis and determines the origin point for Batman, who requests the information also be sent to Gordon.
At the origin point, Batman comes across Jervis Tetch, the Mad Hatter, and a satellite that seems to be broadcast a mind-controlling signal. The two of them tussle before Mad Hatter sets off the device, beaming into the minds of all nearby. He claims this is all the show the city for what it truly is. Gordon, moving into position, orders a sharpshooter to use as much force as is deemed necessary. The device, beaming out, is affecting all nearby, but Batman is shielded by the cowl.
The sharpshooter Gordon has positioned fails to shoot, falling under the Mad Hatter’s spell. Batman uses Mad Hatter’s momentary distraction to take him down, musing that while Gotham can take everything from someone, it’s also the citizen’s city and they don’t let it beat them. Gordon and Batman share a moment, where Gordon asks if Batman is okay and Batman realizes he doesn’t need to ask if Gordon is okay, because they are, as okay as anyone gets in Gotham.
As I said at the outset of this review, I enjoyed it more than the previous issues. I don’t know if it was the lack of the White Rabbit, despite her appearance on the cover, or the writing in general. This still feels as though it’s a continuation of the previous storyline, even though we’ve dealt with the Bane aspect of it.
The art was less showy than David Finch’s art, but that also means there are very few standout panels. I enjoyed the tone of the psychiatrist’s office, but didn’t find much to swoon over this issue.
Batman: The Dark Knight #8:
Reviewed by Melinda Hinman