Huzzah! My copy came in the mail today! You know what that means? SPOILERS! August 24th can kiss my ass!
Leviathan infiltrated Gotham quick and silently. Teachers were soon replaced, parents would complain, the "principal" would file police reports, only to be shredded by a new Detective in the GCPD, who would put certain "illegal" materials into those who complained's computers, for the authorities to find, and as those parents were arrested, all too happy social workers took the kids away. From school teachers to judges, Leviathan had made it's move into Gotham.
Malone speaks with Lumina after the situation dies down. Lumina tells him that they came to her with a job offer, but the request got ugly fast. The two speak for a bit, but all the sudden "Batman" comes in, threatening Malone in front of all the bar patrons.
Later, inside the Batcave, Dick is putting the batsuit back, while Bruce is at the computer. If you haven't figured it out, Dick was pretending to be Batman, while Bruce was Matches. Turns out the event at the bar was a memorial for the Grimm brothers (the guy killed by the Man Bats in issue #1, but not before being served his brother for dinner) and Bruce had done some digging into some floor lining particles that had been in his skin from the Man-Bat Ninja's claws, trying to track it back down to a possible meeting location for Leviathan. All the while, Dick is teasing Damian about being the latest "dead" Robin.
Bruce shows his two sons the web he mapped out, which is composed of pretty much literally everything from Grant Morrison's run on Batman, all with Talia in the center. Alfred interrupts to inform Bruce that he has found mind control hormones in Bat-Cow's system, meaning all the beef being sold at Dark Castle restaurants are infecting more and more people to potentially be Leviathan soldiers.
With that in mind, Bruce prepares to go out again as Matches, reminding Damian he's grounded, because the world thinks Robin is dead right now, and that's what they want. Damian reminds his father that his mother will see right though it, and is actually using it against him. Bruce asks how so, and Damian tells him he's left unprotected, something Bruce shakes off with a tad bit of arrogance.
Bruce Matches meets with Goatboy, the assassin who "killed" Robin, again trying to get in on Leviathan's game. Goatboy is in rough shape, seemingly scared for his life, saying that Leviathan is like a new religion, sacrifices and all, and he doesn't want to be the sacrificial goat. He tells Matches about how he was blindfolded when brought to Leviathan, but since he knows the city so well, he could sense where he was by the turns. He continues to describe the smell of "that thing" who Goatboy says is rumored to be a Frankenstein monster created from Batman's DNA.
Before Matches leaves the bar, he asks the bartender where Lumina Lux is, as she's not singing. The only thing the bar tender can say is that she got a new gig, as Matches leaves the bar. Getting into a cab, driven by none other than Alfred, Bruce starts to change into his Batman suit, but gets a call on Matches' cellphone, it's Lumina. She warns Matches about the people who were attending the Grimm memorial, asking for his help. Bruce, being Bruce, has a change of plans, and heads to Lumina's new gig.
As Matches enters the house, it becomes very clear he fell for a trap, as those two thugs from before, jump him, putting a bag over his head in order to suffocate him. Meanwhile, Alfred is checking up on Damian, but finds a gas pellet to the face, as Damian apologizes saying Robin may be grounded, but Red Bird plays by his own rules.
Malone is brought to a mock court with a weird puppet looking judge, and an executioner by the name of Hangman, while Goatboy tells him Leviathan needed three sacrifices in order for him to prove himself, and he didn't want to end up dead, so that's where Small Fry, Matches and another body fall into his trap.
Meanwhile, Damian infiltrates the grounds as Red Bird, taking out numerous guards easily, ending on him saying "Bring it" to a couple of attack dogs.
Man, I fucking love this book. It so isn't your standard Batman book. It has such a weird vibe to it, but it just works. We barely see Bruce in the batsuit, let alone the cowl (which he's actually never in) but as Matches Malone, he just gets the job done. Not many people can really pull of a Batman book with out Batman in it, but Morrison did with this Matches Malone issue. And Chris Burnham's art... man does it fit that weird vibe. Again, something (or someone in this case) who you wouldn't necessarily think of as "Batman," but for some ridiculously unexplainable reason, it works perfectly. Oh, and Damian is a badass, and BAT COW!
For the record... I really didn't see anything in it that was worth the one month delay, due to the recent shootings. You'd have to expect the "iffy" scene was the Leviathan teacher pointing a gun at kids, but at the same time, last week there was a digital Arkham Unhinged issue that literally had Black Mask shooting up a theatre... sooooo, yeah, I think DC over reacted. Hearts were in the right place, but I just don't feel as if it was necessary, having read it.