Now that Joker is not only back in Gotham, but he has a cyborg body double to do his dirty work, Batman and Robin have their hands full. However, Joker doesn’t just want random chaos this time. Now that there’s a new Robin in Gotham, Joker wants to recreate his greatest victory over Batman.
Picking up right where we left off, Batman is seemingly outmatched by Joker’s cyborg, and with Robin unconscious, this could get very bad. As the cyborg closes in, Joker proclaims that it’s his favorite time of year, “Bird-hunting season”. He then uses the cyborg to open fire on Batman and the unconscious Robin, before using a built-in rocket launcher on the pair. As the explosion sends them flying back, Robin wakes up. As he regroups, Terry calls Bruce to get any helpful advice. Unfortunately, Joker hears Terry call the person on the other side of his comm-link by their name. As Batman and Robin begin to fight back, Joker fires a laser at both of them that misses Batman but clips one of Robin’s wings. As he plummets to the pavement below, Joker stops Batman from breaking his fall, resulting in Matt crashing and rendering himself unconscious once again. While this is happening, in the Batcave, Dick Grayson is giving Bruce Wayne an earful about how Matt was never ready to be Robin, and that they need to do something about this. As Matt lies there in an alley, Joker emerges and drags him away. When the Batcave loses the connection from Matt’s suit, Dick refuses to be comforted by Bruce and starts walking away. When he is asked what he’s doing, he replies, “What I should have done in the first place. Stop this insane pattern of throwing children into war…Once and for all.”
As Batman pulls himself up from a pile of trash, Bruce calls him to tell him that Matt is missing. As Terry prepares to search for his brother, he finds the Joker’s cyborg on the rooftop of a hospital preparing to fill the air ducts with Joker toxin. Batman immediately attacks but is overwhelmed by the cyborg’s power. As it grabs him to cut him in half, Terry uses his suit to shock the cyborg into letting him go. However, Terry doesn’t get any chance to rest, because as soon as his feet hit the ground, the cyborg open fires on him once again. If not for his Batsuit, he would have been riddled with bullets. With Batman neutralized, Joker resumes pumping his toxin into the hospital. However, before he can complete his plan, he is interrupted when Dick Grayson flies the Batmobile straight into the cyborg, ripping it in two. However, the victory does not last long. Upon inspection of the cyborg, the video screen Joker was using to talk to Batman is still functional. His face pops up, still smiling, to tell Batman that he didn’t win anything. He reveals that he has Robin and is literally dragging him through he streets of Old Gotham. The Clown Prince of Crime then pulls out a crowbar: the same crowbar he used to kill Jason Todd. He smiles and says, “I’ll give Robbie a chance. He can keep breathing provided he tells me about the guy you two were talking to. Everything there is to know about the man named Bruce.”
It seems Joker’s plan is coming full circle. Not only does he have Matt unconscious and vulnerable, he has leverage in that he heard the name Bruce. It seems like everything is looking to be in Joker’s favor, and that we may lose another Robin. As I’ve said before, I hope this isn’t the case. I am curious about something though. At the beginning of this arc, we see a flashback of Batman and Red Hood battling Mr. Freeze, when Jason attempts to kill Freeze. Between that and a few mentions from Dick, I’m expecting Jason to show up somewhere in this story. If he knew Joker was back in Gotham and targeting the new Robin, I don’t see Jason stopping until Joker was dead. Perhaps he will be the one who swoops in and saves Matt from meeting his end. After seeing Terry interact with Damian earlier in the series, there was only one former Robin he had yet to encounter and that Robin is Jason. Seeing how Jason reacts to someone as young as Terry becoming Batman was always something I thought needed to happen, especially since in the previous series, Jason was almost never even acknowledged. Or perhaps it’s not even Jason. Maybe somewhere down the line, he passed the Red Hood mantle on to someone new. We already have a Batgirl and Robin Beyond, why not Red Hood Beyond? Wishful thinking? Yes. But at this point, we don’t know what's going to happen. All we know for sure is that Terry needs to act quickly and use all the resources at his disposal if he wants to keep his brother from sharing the same fate that befell Jason Todd all those years ago.