"Superheavy, Part Eight": Bruce Wayne has just been joined on a park bench by a stranger, and wonders if they might happen to know each other, given his amnesia. The man explains that while they don't know each other, the bench they now share has
Appearing in "Superheavy, Part Eight"
- Gotham City
Synopsis for "Superheavy, Part Eight"
Bruce Wayne has just been joined on a park bench by a stranger, and wonders if they might happen to know each other, given his amnesia. The man explains that while they don't know each other, the bench they now share has apparently become an island of peace in the center of Gotham City. It had been, anyway. Bruce's recent revelation that he might really be the Batman has taken even that from him. The man begins tossing bread into the nearby lake, and the fish leap at it in a frenzy, explaining that even this place has changed, no longer plagued by mosquitoes and other insects. Unmoved, Bruce makes for to leave, but the man asks him to look at something for a moment, before he goes.
Jim Gordon, meanwhile, has just barely survived the crash of the Bat-Truck - a crash caused by several people, all dressed and apparently imbued with the same powers as Mister Bloom, who escaped from the holding cell in the back. Bloom grabs Jim in his clutches and begins growing, nearly two stories tall and counting.
The man pulls a small revolver from his bag, and Bruce is disturbed by it. Apologetically, the man explains that the weapon is just meant to illustrate his point. He was one of the last people to be rescued from the Joker's attacks, and he feels the attack changed him. He had lost the ability to see purpose in living anymore. When he first came to that bench, he had come there to use the gun he now holds on himself. Before he could end his life, he was struck by how quiet and calm the spot was - like the gun wouldn't even work if he'd pulled its trigger. So, he began visiting the spot daily - and he began seeing Bruce there. While initially, Bruce had seemed haunted and lost, he now seems to be more peaceful and at rest. He begs Bruce not to return to being the man he was before.
Angrily, Bruce grabs the man in his fists and demands to know how he would know who he was, thinking he was referring to the Batman. The man meekly responds that he recognizes him as Bruce Wayne - and he can stop everything from going back the way it was. Grimly, Bruce responds that he doesn't want things to go back the way they were. He is happy, with someone he loves, in a place that he loves, with a job that he loves - and yet that doesn't seem to be enough. The man clarifies that he was talking about the lake. At Wayne Enterprises, Bruce could tackle smaller issues like the health of the lake's ecosystem. Bruce admits regretfully that he no longer runs Wayne Enterprises, and doesn't have the power to do what the man is asking - a fact which makes him lose hope. The man responds that it might be okay if things go back to the way they were - if there is some kind of balance in the way things move forward - but on the other hand, they could just quit trying. With a smirk, he places the barrel of the gun under his jaw.
A sudden bang from somewhere else draws their attentions away to an explosion in the city. Bruce worries after Julie Madison, and begins to make a run for it, briefly looking over his shoulder to find that the man to whom he had been speaking has vanished.
Mister Bloom, meanwhile, announces loudly to the city that he and his friends are there to see the city die. He compares the city to a garden, explaining that real gardens are war zones. Flowers compete for sunlight and water, stealing from each other and killing when necessary. And like in a garden, the gardeners - in this case, the authorities - pretend to take care of their flowers. They put their favourites up front and leave the weeds to wither. And in his hand, today, is Jim Gordon - Gotham's biggest rose. Unlike the real Batman, though, Jim Gordon was working for someone else. The real Batman was in it for himself, and took power into his own hands. He had more in common with a wildflower or a weed - like all of those listening to him today, in The Narrows.
Bloom explains that he worked for Gotham his whole life, and just before he became what he is now, he was headed for an anonymous grave in Potter's Field. Rather than see the people of Gotham headed for the same fate, he is giving them an opportunity to follow his example. He gave his seeds to the criminals in his employ because he respected their independence and grit. But because he respects the working people of Gotham so much, he has hidden over a thousand of his seeds all over the city, waiting to be found. He instructs anyone who finds one of these seeds that they should implant it within their bloodstreams, and await the power that will result. He encourages them, then, to be selfish - to remember that their neighbours are not their friends. They must look out for number one. Jim tries to shout him down, but Bloom shoves one of his growing tendrils into the man's mouth, preventing him from saying more.
Bruce rushes to the Fox Center and is glad to see Julie safe with the kids - for now. An explosion outside the building, though, drives him to warn that they need to get everyone to safety before someone comes tearing the place apart looking for a seed. To his horror, he soon sees that one of the children has found a seed, and already implanted it in her blood stream. She contorts and transforms before their eyes, claiming that she can help fight Bloom by being like the Batman.
Meanwhile, having been moved by Bloom's destruction, Geri Powers gives the okay to release the army of robotic Batsuits that she amassed on the city for its protection. As they march into the street, riots begin breaking out over the seeds. Unable to remove the tendril from his throat, Jim Gordon's heart stops.
Alfred Pennyworth, worriedly watching the coverage of at Wayne Manor is startled by a banging from outside. Insistently, he ignores it as it gets louder and more insistent itself. Defiantly, he refuses to hear what he knows he must acknowledge. By the time Bruce has broken down the door, Alfred is in tears. Determined, Bruce demands to be taken to his cave.
- This book was first published on January 20, 2016.
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