After another attack that left Henri Ducard dead and Master Kirigi seriously injured, Batman traveled to New Mexico to ensure the safety of one more former mentor, Thaddeus Brown, the original Mister Miracle. However, despite Batman’s attempt to protect his mentor, they had already fallen into the trap.
When Batman awakens, he finds himself and Mister Miracle tied up and submerged in water. As the water level quickly rises, Batman starts to formulate a plan, then he realizes that they aren’t alone in the flooded room: they are surrounded by a group of hungry sharks. As Batman begins to process what his move needs to be, he realizes that he maybe in his prime, but his mentor is no longer at his peak, so this needs to be done quickly. The Dark Knight realizes that the straps around their arms, legs and chests are saturated leather, making it impossible for an easy escape. Then, he has a horrifying realization as they are completely submerged in water: Thaddeus is bleeding from his arm. As the sharks begins to circle, Batman has to make a move, so he fires one of the ears of his cowl like a projectile into one of the shark’s eyes. With one shark distracted, Thaddeus repositions himself, causing one of the sharks to get wrapped up in the strap and drown. As another one swims towards Batman, he pushes himself forward and slices the shark with his gauntlet. Unfortunately, as things seem to be turning around for the duo, a small door at the top of the room opens up and releases a swarm of piranha. As the piranhas attack the bloody sharks, Batman seizes an opportunity to escape. He bites down on a chunk of shark meat floating in the water and drops it onto the strap around his feet, causing one of the piranhas to eat through it. With his feet free, Batman moves towards Thaddeus, who bites through the strap around Batman’s wrists. The Dark Knight frees himself and Thaddeus, and swims both of them out of the flooded room.
As Batman pulls himself and Miracle out of the hole in the ground, they are given no chance to rest. Upon escape, they encounter another creature similar to the other ones that have been attacking Batman’s mentors. However, this one is different. This one has been made to look like a monstrous version of Batman himself. Tired of the games, Batman immediately attacks the creature, prompting it to release two other creatures from itself, modeled to look like Thomas and Martha Wayne. They attack, but rather than letting this throw him off, Batman quickly tears through them and states, “…I dream of the day when the people I love the most aren’t used against me.” The creature then releases a Joe Chill look alike against Batman, which is quickly dispatched via a hole in his head. It then uses copies of the Bat family to attack Batman. However, much like the fake Wayne’s and the fake Joe Chill, these creatures are quickly torn apart by Batman. Annoyed and frustrated beyond his level of tolerance, Batman drives the creature into the hole in the ground and dumps it in with the hungry piranhas. As it is being eaten away, it tells Batman, “Remember. The cowl eats its own.” After ensuring the monster was gone and Thaddeus is alright, Batman sets out on his own, despite Mister Miracle wanting to come with him. The scene changes to 90 miles north of Gotham. In a lab, we see a man in a Batman suit working on something. This man is Hugo Strange. As he works on his latest project, his lab is attacked and destroyed. He picks himself up to collect himself and says, “…my lab…destroyed…Who attacks my inner sanctum…all my work…This foul transgression will be rewarded…with death.” As he turns to see his attacker, all he sees is a motivated, angry Batman heading straight towards him.
Now that it seems all of those that made Bruce Wayne into Batman are safe, the Dark Knight can focus on putting the pieces of this mystery together. It seems that the World’s Greatest Detective suspects Hugo Strange to be involved somehow. Perhaps that was what Strange was talking about when he mentioned his work, that perhaps he has been hired to help destroy Batman. Even if he has a part to play in this, I doubt that Hugo is behind this plot, even though one can draw comparisons between these attacks and those during the night of the Monster Men. Genetically modified creatures attacking Gotham is nothing new, but these attacks are too specific. While Hugo Strange has that knowledge, I think something much bigger is going on behind the scenes. In just three issues, we’ll hit Detective Comics 1000. By that time, will Batman have solved the mystery? Or will the mastermind of this plot reveal himself to Batman during the biggest issue of Detective Comics ever?