Flesh and Steel
Credits: Chuck Dixon (writer), Graham Nolan (penciler), Scott Hanna (inker), John Costanza (letterer), Adrienne Roy (colorist)
Summary: Believing Batman to be dead, a furious Nightwing leaps on Jean-Paul. Their fight takes them into the river, and eventually a casino boat. Meanwhile, Robin discovers Batman jumped out of the Batmobile just in time to avoid the explosion. The police storm the casino boat, forcing Jean-Paul to abandon the fight and escape. He returns to Wayne Manor, where he’s shocked to find Batman.
Irrelevant Continuity: While listing all of his accomplishments as Batman, Jean-Paul claims, “my father’s killer barks in Hell.” To begin with, why is he convinced that this random blonde guy was actually his father’s killer? He only has Selkirk’s word for it. (Selkirk pointed to literally the person standing closest to him and just named him the killer.) Also, when did this guy die? Batman stopped Jean-Paul before he could kill him.
Total N00B: Nightwing calls Jean-Paul “hammerhead” twice. I have no idea if this is slang I’ve never heard of before, or a reference to another story that wasn’t reprinted. (A reference to Jean-Paul's helmet, maybe?)
Review: There’s a slight variation this chapter, because now it’s Nightwing’s turn for an extended fight scene with Fake Batman. It’s not a bad fight scene at all, jumping from a flaming bridge, to underwater, to finally a casino boat, and I guess there is some catharsis in seeing Nightwing face the guy who usurped his inheritance in a way. (In retrospect, Nightwing's reaction to this insanity should've played a larger part in the storyline.) Plus, the art is great, especially on the final splash page that has Batman triumphantly emerging to confront Jean-Paul in the mansion. Still, it’s another all-action chapter that’s just a prelude to The Big Fight, which got old several issues ago. There’s also some odd continuity going on, as the lengthy subplot regarding the killer of Jean-Paul’s father is suddenly over, even though nothing in the previous chapters provided any closure.