CREDITS: Written by Scott Peterson; art by Tim Levins and Terry Beatty.
REVIEW: As foreshadowed in the prologue, this is a story about the ethical conflict between ends and means. So Ra's engineering of an energy crisis, by buying up a lot of oil-rich land and letting it lie unexploited, thereby forcing the world to finally adopt clean energy solutions, is a good "end". Shame it could only be done by kidnapping wealthy land owners and forcing them to sign over their property. Batman has to stop that. But all in all, the way the mystery of the missing industrialists plays out, and Batman's claims that an energy crisis would cause people's deaths (left unexplored and unchallenged as Ra's rants about overpopulation) unfortunately puts Bruce Wayne on the side of the 1% and pollution. I'm not saying he is, but Batman's hard stance does prevent him from being a bigger picture kind of hero. You almost hope Bruce Wayne will go buy some oil fields and leave them be; it can't hurt.
And this is a Batman who's a little dense anyway. He only finds out about the kidnappings when a trusted businessman fails to show up for a meeting, and by then Lucius is able to tell him that makes half a dozen missing industrialists. I know he leaves most of the business stuff to Lucius, but you'd still think he would be on top of this a little quicker. If the conceit is that Ra's rules by fear (and he does), and no one's talking, well how does Lucius know? And he's not particularly quick to figure out Ra's plan, which is obvious the audience, what with Ra's usual eco-warrior plots.
As an action piece, it does a little better, with plenty of badass, silent (imagine the score) sequences from Levins and Beatty, in this case (as it usually is with Ra's), in international locales. Batman acquits himself well with a sword. Explosive entry into a bedroom. That kind of thing.