Darkness Rising in Gotham
When the last issue ended, a giant creature had attacked Leslie Tompkins in an attempt to get to Batman. Unfortunately, things got worse on the last page as Batman discovered that Leslie had been exposed to Joker toxin. All of this was after he and Jim Gordon discovered two bodies that had been altered to be exact matches of Thomas and Martha Wayne. Someone is trying to send Bruce Wayne a message, and in this issue, it only got worse. Much worse.
As Batman rushes to the Batcave, Alfred prepares every antidote they have on file for Joker toxin. On the way there, Bruce thanks Leslie for always being there for him no matter what. She tells him that she doesn’t want to die, because there is still so much work she wants to do for Gotham. They then arrive at the Batcave and Alfred begins to work. Unfortunately, none of the antidotes are working. The last thing Leslie says is how proud she is of Bruce. Bruce tries everything he can to revive her, but nothing works. Leslie Tompkins is dead. Bruce asks for a minute alone, so Alfred goes upstairs. This proves to be a mistake, as the doorbell rings. When Alfred answers the door, a man dressed like Zorro stabs him in the chest, leaving him for dead. Alfred is only able to get Bruce’s attention by ringing the very same bell that Bruce rang for Alfred to save him on the night he decided to become Batman. Requiring immediate surgery, Alfred recommends calling Damian, who had in the past, operated on Bruce’s injuries.
Once Damian arrived at the manor, Batman set out to Arkham Asylum. He appears in Dr. Jerimiah Arkham’s office demanding to conduct interviews with the inmates. When Jerimiah denies the request, the only response is, “I wasn’t asking, Dr. Arkham.” Batman then walks into the section of Arkham that holds his worst enemies. As they watch him, he explains to them that he’s there for answers. He tells them that he has one job in the city: “To hold the line. To keep as many innocent people from harm as I possibly can. But that line has been crossed in the most egregious of ways.” He tells them that if they don’t cooperate fully, there will be problems. Then, in a terrifying fashion, Batman blacks out all of the lights in the asylum and says, “I want you all to think of this place like a carnival funhouse tonight…Except the only monster in here with you is me.” The last thing we see is the silhouette of Batman surrounded by darkness, illuminated only by blood red eyes.
Someone is out to get Batman, but in doing so, they’ve unleashed something dark. It seems clear that Batman is about to cut loose inside Arkham. With the road to Detective Comics 1000 looking darker and darker by the issue, who knows what’s coming our way. However, I think it’s safe to say, whoever is doing this isn’t the Joker. Something in my gut tells me that’s too easy of an answer. What is clear is that the person behind all this knows Batman’s secret identity and has a serious grudge against him. With Alfred injured, Leslie dead and Batman about to go on a rampage inside the asylum, Detective Comics is about to set the stage for what could be the best Batman story of the year. I have a feeling that by the end of this, that panel of Batman shrouded in darkness will serve as the perfect visual representation of how dark this arc gets.