By: Scott Snyder, Kyle Higgins, Ryan Parrott (writers), Trevor McCarthy (artist), Guy Major (colorist)

The Story: We’ll cross that bridge when we get there—providing it doesn’t collapse first.

The Review: Business is a dirty field; even with the best intentions, it’s pretty difficult to wade into it and come out as clean as you started.  Traditionally, DC has portrayed the Waynes as an almost saintly exception (perhaps a consequence of the somewhat martyred circumstances of Thomas and Martha’s deaths), but recent writers have started digging the dirt on the illustrious Gotham family, revealing their history hasn’t all been as honest as previously believed.

This issue suggests hopes for a better Gotham may not be the sole motivator of Alan Wayne’s investments.  After all, is it really a coincidence he’d like to change the partner location for the newest city-building bridge to land he owns?  Possibly.  After all, other than Cameron Kane’s avarice and Edward Elliot’s suspicion, you have no evidence of Alan’s duplicity.  But then again, how could you?  He’s a businessman, after all.

But loyalty, not business, encourages Nicholas Gates to choose Wayne’s land, not Kane’s, as the end site for the new bridge, a choice spun from his eagerness to accept Alan’s declaration they are now family.  The raging bitterness he later levies against his employers thus seems sudden and somewhat unjust.  It’d make more sense to blame the tragic events on Kane, but you also have to remember Nick himself admits the Wayne land is less ideal for the bridge’s construction.

These intriguing questions and more make the past sequences the strongest parts of the issue, partly because the Bat-family’s investigation in the present stalls a little.  It offers no major revelations, nor even much in the way of enlightening facts.  Instead, it’s mostly a reactionary interlude from last issue’s explosive events, allowing each character to deal with their failures in their own way, sparking some fun exchanges (Red Robin: “You don’t trust anyone…”  Damian: “And your eagerness to trust makes you weak.”).

Surprisingly, you might find yourself losing some respect for Dick in this issue.  It’s not just his botch-up of the Wayne Tower situation—although certainly that disaster didn’t do much to prove his competence.  Considering the mental breakdown Snyder’s putting him through in Detective Comics, his mopey reflections (“He’ll probably end up being a better Batman, too.”) and unfruitful mulling makes him seem slow, even irritating in a way.  It’s not a good look on him.

You can appreciate McCarthy’s art on many levels.  You can admire its extremely personal style, how you can tell just from the look of a single panel it’s his hand at work.  You can be impressed with how the broad simplicity of his lines still manages to capture such convincing expression and detail.  You can delight in the logical momentum of his paneling (love his use of Robin’s tattered cape to define a panel border).  But however you choose to enjoy his work, it’s enough to know that his art is absolutely a core strength of this series.

Conclusion: Rich in detail and executed with crafty subtlety, this story is a prime example of solid storytelling paired with invaluably supportive art.

Grade: A-

– Minhquan Nguyen

Some Musings: – Maybe it’s because I’m really very scientifically ignorant, but I can’t get over the cleverness of Dick using a “thermal scanner capable of detecting residual temperature shifts within a fraction of a degree” to track the villain’s steps according to the friction of his Steampunk suit against the floor.