|First Published:||April 10, 2013|
|Previous Issue:||Batman #18|
|Next Issue:||Batman #20|
Commissioner Gordon is called to an armed robbery in progress, where it is reported that Bruce Wayne has taken a hostage. The billionaire refuses to be reasoned with, and reveals that he has strapped explosives to the chest of a young woman named Martha, and that he intends to blow her up if they don't let him escape with the money. Confused, Gordon sets down his gun and asks why a billionaire would need the money. In response, Wayne tosses the bag of money away, and a smoke bomb inside it obscures him from view. Stealing a motorcycle, Bruce Wayne unloads a shotgun into Jim's chest before driving over him. Before losing consciousness, the commissioner sees that Bruce Wayne appears to be wearing the Batsuit.
Six days ago, Batman was watching a cowl-recording of an encounter with the Reaper, who had dosed a truckload of flowers headed for a Falcone family funeral with a paralytic toxin. With Robin's help, he had succeeded. Alfred interrupts his remembrance, warning that it is unhealthy to spend all of his time going through the archival footage in order to hold on to Damian's memory.
Seeing that Batman had no interested in hearing his admonishments, Alfred instead asked about Bruce's other obligations. One of his employees - a Brian Wade - had died, and Bruce had yet to RSVP. Naturally, Bruce was not ready for another funeral, and Lucius Fox was sent to represent the company. It came as a shock to Bruce when Alfred revealed that Mr. Wade had committed suicide unexpectedly. So shocking was it, that Bruce could not believe it, and pulled up his computer files on Wade.
Brian Wade - a prominent architect who had worked on Bruce's Gotham Initiative - had already been dying of myelodyplastic syndrome, until he was treated with a bone marrow transplant by a specialist and made a full recovery. His suicide made no sense. After pulling up the active police files on Wade, they discovered that Wade was on the verge of being arrested for the murder of several of the Penguin's men. The evidence against him was quite convincing.
Later, Batman broke into the Wade Design building in search of Brian's private jet's flight records, knowing that they needed to be kept in cases of subpoena. According to the logs he found hidden in a safe there, Brian had not even been in town on the week that the murders occurred. Batman's investigation was interrupted by Brian Wade himself, who was supposed to be dead, and who pulled a flame-thrower on the vigilante. In self-defence, Batman tossed a batarang, which lodged itself in Wade's face. Desperately, the man ran to the elevator and escaped. By the time Batman caught up to him, he could find no facial matches for Wade, and the only trace remaining was the bloody batarang.
After analyzing the DNA in the blood, the results claimed that it was Brian Wade's with a 100% degree of certainty. This only further served to perplex Batman, as the whole scenario was vastly out of character for the Brian Wade that he knew. With a sudden realization, Batman analyzed the sample for trace code, and discovered a deteriorating match for Basil Karlo - Clayface.
If these results were any indication, Basil Karlo's DNA had mutated to the point that little of his own original DNA remained intact with his transformations. His clay had gained the ability to mimic the DNA of others completely - making him virtually indistinguishable from the person whose form he took.
In his office, Bruce called Lucius Fox to arrange a modified Batsuit with which to fight Clayface. However, his friend turned on him, revealing that Clayface had taken on Lucius' identity. Grabbing Bruce up in his hand, and shoving a face full of mud down his throat, Clayface announced that they would be now twins, and together, they would bring an end to Batman once and for all.
"Ghost Lights, Part 1 of 2"Edit
Six people have gone missing over the last 24 hours in a building in Gotham City's Narrows district - including one of the investigating officers. As Harvey Bullock arrives with backup, Batman watches from afar, and is interrupted by Superman, who is concerned that his sometimes-partner has been ignoring his calls. Despite his refusal to discuss the death of his son with the man of steel, Batman briefs him and invites him to join in on the investigation.
Inside, they discover what Superman calls a Ghost Light. As children in Kansas, he and his friends had been warned not to follow them into the fields, or they would never be seen again. In other cultures, they have been known as Will O' the Wisps. Batman explains that the investigating officers had followed the Ghost Light to whatever it was that took one of them away. As they follow it, Superman begins to feel nauseous - a rare experience for him. The light eventually stops in a room where an occult room has been drawn on the floor next to a pile of corpses. Superman's nausea becomes more intense, and he warns that they should get out of there.
They are interrupted by a voice which warns them that they should not have followed the light. Superman's vision begins to hurt while trying to look at the girl from whom the voice comes. He explains that she is not a hologram or projection - in fact, he can't be sure what she is. Fascinatingly, the girl's existence seems to be entirely supernatural.
The girl explains that she didn't kill these people - it was her friend who started it all. He, too, is dead, and lying next to her own lifeless body. It was her friend, she explains, who brought the monster - the Will O' the Wisp. Looking up, Batman and Superman are disturbed to see a horrifying creature waiting to consume them.
- James Gordon
- Harvey Bullock
- Reaper (In Flashback Only)
- Robin (In Flashback Only)
- Alfred Pennyworth (In Flashback Only)
- Brian Wade (In a photograph only)
- Lucius Fox