The last time I encountered this character was back in Peter J. Tomasi's Batman and Two Face story The Big Burn and even then he only appeared for one gloriously badass prison escape scene which coincidentally made me wonder back then why he hasn't made any other memorable appearances for New 52. If you don't know who this sexy man is, then you're missing out, quite frankly. Matches Malone is simply a Bruce Wayne disguise that he usually employs whenever he infiltrates the crime underworld. He's a slick con man with a penchant for starting fires using his signature matches trick. Basically, he's hot stuff and what I enjoy about Matches Malone is the fact that with this guy, we get to see Wayne utilize his other talents aside from being billionaire philanthropist and superhero in a bat-costume.
As the glib and suave Matches, he is able to outsmart his enemies by actually becoming a part of their criminal enterprise and he has built quite a reputation as Matches too. Like any efficient and convincing mole, Matches truly shines in this issue for Bat. Inc which is understandably more plot exposition that I would expect.
What was so commendable about the way this issue unfolded was that it touched upon the domineering aspects of the Leviathan. We get to see how they operate as a secret criminal organization specifically the types of people they target (such as those in positions of power like in law enforcement; or even a simple middle-school teacher who can influence and educate the youth with something sinister). With a few pages we get a sense of what impact they would have in an already fringe society such as Gotham, and why they can thrive in other unsupervised places where many underprivileged groups of people can be contained and oppressed to serve their needs. Personally, I think they are exactly the perfect global threat the Bat-Inc franchise should be fighting. In addition, this issue showcased Matches' skill in finding out information concerning the players involved in the Leviathan scheme. Meanwhile, Damian is grounded and has to stay in the batcave with Alfred while his dad is out working the bad guys. In the first issue, they even have to fake his own death so they can ensure his safety and obscurity because plenty of bounty hunters are looking to collect their payment if they successfully eliminate him, via mommy dearest cunt's request.
But Damian, being Damian, finds a rather amusing technicality to get out of parental punishment. Not surprising, actually. Any Damian fan knows this is familiar territory. Also, it's not like Damian is the first Robin to ever disobey direct orders and forego his own safety if Batman's life is at stake, especially when those stakes outweigh everything else. But Damian is definitely the first Robin who has an overbearing, twisted mother who will stop at nothing to have him, and if she can't have him then she'd rather see him die. Being angry with the way Talia al Ghul's psychopathy works is a losing game, a foregone state of what-the-fuckery that I am frankly too tired to give a damn about at this point. Besides, I've already made my peace concerning the way Damian always finds trouble and gets himself into tricky situations where he could die...BECAUSE HE WILL DIE LATER ON. This is no secret. This is not a big fucking spoiler for anyone reading my reviews. Anyone who has been following DC since 2013 should now be prepared when I do get to review ISSUE #8 WHERE DAMIAN WAYNE FINALLY DIES. I'm going to be re-reading that issue next week so for now, I am happily savouring whatever crazy shit is happening in the earlier issues because I know it's about to get so much worse.
I guarantee ugly-crying next week. For now, this was a lovely issue and we'll get to see Matches again on the next one.