This week from DC Comics we get the further exploits of the broke Bruce Wayne vs tycoon Mr. Worth. Detective Comics 1041 picks up not only where issue 1040 let off, but also Batman Secret Files 1 – Huntress left off. If you did not read the Huntress one shot, I highly suggest you do. Its ending foretells the disaster that unfolds in these pages. If you think Batman and Gotham are struggling now, things are about to get a whole lot worse.

Mayor Nakano really doesn’t seem to be an evil man, but his hatred of vigilantes and surrounding himself with evils such as Simon Saint and Mr. Vile do not help. A strange virus rips at the citizens of Gotham (far-fetched right?), and explosions rock the city. He has his job cut out for him. I almost see Mayor Nakano as a Tyrion Lannister. He does what he thinks is right for the city and the people, but the machinations of those around him keep casting him in the role of an idiot or villain.

Bruce, meanwhile, keeps struggling with his new reality. He lost his fortune during the Joker War and its fallout, but only now is reality starting to set in. Bruce had plenty of supplies to begin, but now, as attrition begins to take its toll, he finds himself in continuously worsening situations. his suits, his equipment, everything he needs for Batman grows more and more scarce. He is even out of his new “Wayne’ apartment thanks to Worth. The sewers are now an ongoing crime scene, so his options dwindle. Thankfully, he, and Gotham, can rely on the cog that keeps everything running smoothly – Oracle/Barbara Gordon.

Directions To Hell

Once again Babs finds the answers. She points Bruce towards some gear stowed in an unmarked box by the docks. It works, but I like how the design throws back to his older styles instead of some new, hi-tech design. Old or not, it gets the job done and Bruce is back in the game. She points Batman in the right direction and the confrontation is on.

In Detective Comics 1039, hints dropped of another villain or entity named The Jury. We find out now, in Detective Comics 1041, that The Jury is not an individual but Worth, Penguin and a couple of others decide to try Batman for the crime of killing Sarah Worth. Needless to say “the jury” is a bit one-sided in this case. It only takes a few minutes before the verdict is delivered and carried out – death by multiple guns. To Batman, this type of trap is nothing new. He jukes, misdirects, and manages to find safety in the rafters. Only one person is way ahead of him. A scientist, who captured Mr. Vile, shoots Batman with a tranq dart filled with Vile’s rage virus.

The ending of Huntress 1 comes true. Due to her former infection, she can read the minds of those infected by the virus. Through that connection, she feels Batman slip into the viral-induced rage. Can Huntress, or anyone for that matter, bring down a hate-raged Batman? I hope Huntress carries a really big flashlight.

Detective Comics – 1041 – An Old Flame Returns

Deb Donovan. Along with Huntress, she is one of the lucky few to survive the virus. She hunts down a city official about a story she thinks will turn out big, but then her commentary takes over. She begins talking about how the best stories don’t come from the ones you find, but the ones that find you. A quick trip to the morgue and she finds an empty cooler where a body should rest. The chamber that should hold the body of Astrid Arkham (aka-Arkham Knight) lies empty. I sense a tie-in coming here. If the Arkham Knight does still walk the rooves of Gotham, Gotham may need her to handle the new Bat-situation.

After her trip to the morgue, a mysterious gunman holds her at gunpoint. He threatens to kill her for investigating the Arkham explosion, but a quick blam-thunk and Donovan turns to see Batman standing over the unconscious assailant. Batman may save her, but even he warns Donovan away from investigating the Arkham disaster. With this many heavy hitters on all sides of this story do not want you to investigate something the prudent thing would be to quit, but of course, she cannot do that.

Donovan turns to the one person she thinks could shed some light on this case – none other than Vicki Vale, Bruce’s old flame. Sadly, Donovan finds no help there either. Vicki tells her to trust the Bat and abandon the story. I doubt Donovan knows she speaks to an ex-flame of Wayne’s. She leaves in disgust only to return home to find the person that slipped her the note in the first place, sitting at her table, eating her cereal – Red Hood! He slipped her the note! Red Hood works for Batman, against Batman, and everything in between. It will be interesting to see where this story takes us – and his allegiances.