The Mad Hatter is down for the count, and Batman is worse off now than he was a couple months ago. Before going further, since this is comics, it should be noted that Natalya did not make a miraculous recovery, which brings the death toll of this arc to around 501. That number might be a slight exaggeration, but not by much. Greg Hurwitz has done two things with this arc that we don’t see too often in Bat-Books. First of all, Batman failed. A lot. And in this case it wasn’t just emotional failures like we’ve mostly seen (apart from Damian’s death), but rather a quantitative list of individuals who Mad Hatter killed. It’s a rare thing for so many deaths to occur in a non-event story. The other thing he did, is bring back that ultra violent, no holds barred Batman that was introduced early on in this series. All that said, this wasn’t a great issue and wasn’t even a decent arc. The arc spanned too many issues, the story was a tad slow, the art was inconsistent, and overall nothing meshed particularly well together. 2/5
The Flash’s pursuit of a dangerous criminal leads him straight to Kid Flash, who has been banished here from the future. The first meeting of these two speedsters goes terribly, with Bart taking Barry on a chase around the globe. The interaction goes as you would expect given the fact that Bart has no memories as to why he was banished to this time, and is chased by Barry without a warning. Brian Buccellato and Francis Manapul do an excellent job with this story. They handle both sides, teen and adult, very realistically without being too over dramatic. This issue does put a spotlight on a problem that will occur every time two characters with a history are given a new “first encounter.” Bart acts a bit bratty in this issue, is more than a little rude towards Barry, and unless you forget all of Bart’s history, it’s off putting. He’s not the character that so many of us know and love because of the reboot, and because of that it’s going to take him that much longer to rebuild all those relationships we enjoy reading. 4/5
As chaotic and, quite honestly, bad as this arc has been, this issue was a welcome glimpse of how good this series can be. For the first time in almost the entire series, the Teen Titans actually worked together as a team. The group was separated by Red Robin, in terms of power set and fighting style, and in doing so they were able to fairly easily deal with Trigon’s sons. Scott Lobdell did such a good job with this issue that if you hadn’t known this series was rebooted, then you wouldn’t have noticed a change. This felt like a Teen Titans issue from the past, which is great because that was always a fantastic book to read. Eddy Barrows with Jesus Merino and Alex Sinclair do a fantastic job with this issue, as well. Hopefully this issue is a sign of better things to come for this series, because it really was fantastic in the beginning. 4/5
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