Batman #15 is part two of a two part story. Had I known this, I would either have bought part one also or just chose another book. But I decided to go ahead and try to pick up the thread of the story as I went along. Batman #15 opens with Batman and Catwoman (whom he is charged with bringing in for a charge of murder) laying post coitus on a rooftop in Gotham City (again? Seen it before). They each flash back to their first meeting -- Batman remembers first meeting the Cat while on a cruise ship. She was a jewel thief, disguised as an elderly lady (this is from the first Catwoman story in Batman #1 from 1940). The Catwoman remembers their first meeting much differently. She remembers that Batman was in disguise on the streets of Gotham's notorious East End. "Jeans. A jacket. Scar on your face" (this is, of course, from Batman #404-407, Frank Miller's Year One issues). This is a nice touch and establishes for the reader that both Batman and Catwoman know each others true identities.
Catwoman manages to escape, but has inadvertently given Batman a new lead. Batman tells Alfred to check on a "Holly Robinson". When Alfred does this, he discovers that the woman's records have been sealed. So, Batman goes to Commissioner Gordon's home seeking help. Here, in a nice sequence, Batman manages to get inside Gordon's house and bathroom. This is a great scene and does much to establish the characters in a great way. THIS is Batman! He is not a psychotic, nor is he a joke. He is a strong and competent hero and crime fighter. However, this effect is ruined when Batman manages to track down Holly Robinson, Robinson now goes by the name of one Catherine Ann Turley.
Robinson when confronted by the Batman and is asked for the Catwoman's whereabouts, tells the Batman that she has a phone complete with a special number that Selina gave her if she ever needed to contact her. She reaches into a dresser drawer to get the phone and comes up with a large bladed object. Robinson manages to actually catch the Batman by surprise! With his throat sliced in a deep laceration on his right side. He is rescued by the Catwoman whom brings him back to Stately Wayne Manor, where she and Alfred manage to treat Batman's wounds. Via airport surveillance, Batman learns that "Catherine Ann Turley" has boarded a flight going to Kahndaq. It is to be a one way trip. The book ends on that note.
So, my verdict? It was a good issue and I really liked the aforementioned scene between Batman and Comissioner Gordon. It shows the unique relationship between the two men. The artwork, while somewhat sketchy in spots, is good. I have no major complaints about that. The only thing that I dislike is the ending. I hate to see the "bad guy" get away. I also dislike that they turned a good character in Holly Robinson into a murderess (Holly even took Selina Kyle's place as the Catwoman in the old continuity). This is however, a personal preference on my part.
I also thought that Holly should not have been able to take the Batman by surprise as effortlessly as she did. I could sense that there was a trick coming, so why couldn't the Batman? Batman does not actually do much in the story. But (barring the ending) I say that I enjoyed this issue of the new Batman under the Rebirth banner! It has enough of the Batman of old to be enjoyable and seems to grasp the character better than in recent years. It is not perfect but I can recommend the series to my readership!
Next time, I will give my thoughts on the OTHER Rebirth comic book that I bought -- Flash # 15!