After an attack on the Flash Museum by Gotham Girl, The Flash and Batman are forced to refocus their attention after their failed investigation into the hero killings at Sanctuary. With the reveal that Gotham Girl is trying to save her brother from death with what appears to be Venom, what will she not do to accomplish her goal? One thing is certain for the Dark Knight and the Fastest Man Alive: if they don’t get on the same page and work together, they won’t survive this case.
As Gotham Girl tells her brother that she did a good thing by destroying the Flash Museum, he actually begins to speak. He asks her to help him, while she begs him to stay alive. While she holds his fading body, she turns to an unseen person and says, “You said we could help him. Help us be heroes together again.” We then see the silhouette of a large man with glowing red eyes standing behind her with a canister of Venom in his hand. She then explains that her brother was her inspiration to be a hero, and because of him, she will become the greatest hero of all time.
At the Flash Museum, Batman and Flash are still going over the scene and gathering evidence. As they work, and throughout the entire issue, Batman and Flash both have inner dialogue that reveals that they hold each other in the highest regard. While examining the scene, Flash finds a specific type of leaf. After scanning it, the duo traces the leaf to a Caribbean island. As they move through the island’s jungle, the two banter back and forth before finding footprints that lead them to a castle. As they prepare to break in, Flash asks, “Speaking of break-ins…How’s married life with Selina?” Batman replies, “Y-You don’t know?” Before Batman can explain the entire situation, Flash gets a call from Iris. He explains that he’s working with Batman to solve the museum attack, but Iris begins to go off about Batman not solving the Sanctuary case. Before things can get any worse, Flash hangs up, and the two heroes continue into the castle. They enter a room completely covered in pictures of heroes. Batman explains that when she was a child, Gotham Girl’s parents were almost killed before Batman saved them. After that, Claire began to idolize superheroes. He says that after her brother supposedly died, he tried to help her heal and quit being a hero, so she could have a normal life. As they move around the room, Flash finds an old drawing of Claire’s Gotham Girl suit. After remembering when Wally designed his original Kid Flash suit, he has a revelation. “Who made Gotham and Gotham Girl’s costumes?...Someone helped them. Did you ever investigate who helped Gotham and Gotham Girl?” Batman tells Flash that he had other priorities at the time, leading Flash to essentially tell Batman that he’s not doing his job. As the two begin to get into it, they hear a buzzing coming from another room.
They follow the sound to a lab filled with pods. Inside the pods are dead people dressed as Gotham and Gotham Girl. To discover exactly what the pods were for, Flash begins to rebuild the tech in the lab. “The lab tech here is crude. But I know the chemicals. I can reverse engineer what they built. At least some kind of educated guess. It’s a mix of different biologically active compounds. All these people were given a deadly supercharged cocktail, but it has a base compound they started with…Venom." Batman realizes that this entire thing is a trap, but before he can get Flash out, Flash finds something that threatens the bond between the two heroes. While Flash was moving around the lab, he discovers a mask given to patients at Sanctuary. He immediately confronts Batman, and while Batman tries to deflect, Flash refuses to let the issue go. “Did Gotham Girl go to Sanctuary? You said you sent her to get help? Did you send her there…and she didn’t get better?” Before the two of them can resolve the issue, they are interrupted by Gotham Girl attacking Flash. “It’s time someone taught you a lesson, Batman. About the price of the life you lead.” The bodies inside the pods begin to rise and attack the heroes, and Gotham Girl reveals that her next target is the Central City Police Department. Gotham Girl then flies away to attack the police, as Batman and Flash battle for their lives against an undead, Venom-charged army.
Things are starting to fall into place now, clearly, Bane has been helping Gotham Girl in her attempt to revive her brother. My question is, has Bane been behind Gotham and Gotham Girl from the beginning? If so, that means literally every single thing that has happened to Batman since the beginning of Rebirth has been part of Bane’s plan. I have no doubt in my mind that by the end of Bane’s plan, whether he wins or loses, he will assert himself as the ultimate mastermind in Batman’s rogues gallery. I will say, my favorite part of the issue was the banter between Batman and Flash. Seeing it finally written down how much the two of them idolize each other was amazing. However, it seems that their alliance may be in danger of splitting apart. With the reveal that Batman may have sent Gotham Girl to Sanctuary, that has the potential to change the entire Sanctuary case. With two issues left, are the two detectives going to be able to see past the deaths at Sanctuary and stop Gotham Girl from taking even more lives? Or are they going to let their differences and tension tear them apart?