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Batman Issue 439

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"Batman: Year Three - Resolutions"
Batman439
General Information
Series: Batman
Batman: Year Three
Issue Number: 439
First Published: September 1989
Previous Issue: Batman #438
Next Issue: Batman #440


SynopsisEdit

"Batman: Year Three - Resolutions"Edit

Anthony Zucco's dead body lies outside of Gotham Prison. From a nearby hill, Nightwing, thinking Batman knew of Zucco's murder ahead of time, asks him how he could have let it go down and what's been going on with him since Jason Todd died. After he listens to a few examples of his recent excessively violent behavior, Batman says that he did not know there would be an attempt on Zucco's life ahead of time, and that no matter what Nightwing should know he would never be party to a murder. When asked why he was there to watch his release, Batman admits that he did so shaking, afraid of what he might do to the man.

As Batman drives away, he hears a report over the radio of Zucco's death followed by one about the pending closure of St. Jude's orphanage. At a press conference, Taft tells the general public about the existence of Zucco's "diary"—his ledger detailing the activities of every crime and every criminal in Gotham City for the last thirty years. Batman realizes that the revelation is going to incite massive violence in the streets as now every criminal in Gotham will begin to tear the city apart to get their hands on the book, both to protect themselves and to use it to blackmail others. Batman figures that Taft must want people searching for it, hoping to eventually get his hands on it, because he was the only person on the parole board that lobbied for Zucco's release. As the Batman exits the cave to check on some theories, Nightwing offers to come with him, only to have the vigilante shout "NO" at him, telling him he doesn't need partners "ever again."

Alone in the cave, Alfred and Nightwing discuss Batman's refusal of help, with Alfred theorizing he's "afraid that what happened to Jason could happen again" and further afraid of what that would do to him. Sympathizing, Alfred tells Grayson that he was afraid to tell him that Zucco was being released, and that sometimes "fear overrules logic." Grayson compares himself as a child to Bruce as a child, saying Bruce grew up alone while he had people who loved him and remembers the trial where it was decided Bruce would be allowed to take him as his ward. Deciding Bruce needs—even if he doesn't want—help, Nightwing decides to pay a visit to Zucco's "pals" to try to get information on the ledger.

Meanwhile, the Batman is in the midst of a bar brawl, out of which he pulls former Zucco employee Drexel. He swears he doesn't know anything about the book, just that Zucco used to threaten them with it and joke that "his beginning would be [their] end." In another bar, mob boss Louis and his men have already killed two men to try to get information about any of Zucco's boys drinking there and mentioning the book. When no one speaks up, Louis orders a third man shot, but Batman arrives and puts a stop to it. He tells the mob boss to back everyone off of the track of the ledger, and if there's any more violence in the street Louis will pay, which he complains is unfair. As Batman is leaving, Louis orders his gunman José to shoot him in the back, only to have his wrist broken by a batarang. After delivering a final warning to Louis, Batman leaves in the Batmobile, letting Alfred know things should be quiet for a while. When asked, Alfred informed Batman that Nightwing has left the cave to call on Zucco's associates.

Nightwing breaks into Drexel's apartment, surprising him in the shower and tricking him into revealing Taft's secret. Drexel gives Nightwing the same cryptic information he gave Batman earlier, which Nightwing figures must be a reference to St. Judes's Orphanage. After he leaves, Drexel plans to get out of town out of fear of Zucco, but finds Taft hidden behind his door with a gun.

At Wayne Manor, Bruce and Alfred discuss the possibilities of Zucco having told anyone else where he kept the book. Having checked with everyone and everything connected to him, Bruce has come up with nothing and is left with what Drexel said about his "beginning". He asks Alfred to have the computer read out the file, but Alfred informs him that that won't be necessary because he knows it so well, including the parts about the orphanage.

Nightwing has already arrived at the orphanage, a place he's only been twice since leaving with Alfred as a child. Sister Mary Elizabeth approaches him as he stands in the rain, and when he introduces himself as "Nightwing of the Titans" she says she knows him very well. After they discuss the orphanage's fate, Sister Mary Elizabeth asks why Nightwing came and he asks about Zucco. She tells him that eleven years ago she saw him leave the bell tower carrying a pail, stopping to pray at a statue, but when she went to call the police on him he was gone. Nightwing looks around, finding a strange spot in the mortar of the bell tower bricks, and removes it to find the book. Outside, however, someone strikes Sister Mary Elizabeth with a crowbar and sneaks up on Nightwing as he's reading the ledger. Nightwing ducks the first swing from Taft, but eventually takes the crowbar between his shoulder blades. While they fight, Taft talks about how much Zucco used him, how he was forced to organize his mob.

Batman arrives and begins running to Nightwings aid, thinking the entire time about Jason dying and that he'll be too late. As he runs he actually says Jason's name for the first time in months.

When Taft promises to "pick up where Zucco left off", Nightwing finally reverses their positions, taking the upper hand in the battle while he tells him that no one will ever "take over for him". Batman arrives just in time to see Nightwing throw the book off of the tower and into the rain, with Taft leaping over after it.

The next morning, Bruce tells Alfred that the book is gone, the few pages they found washed clean by the rain, and that they could have put away so many criminals with that information. He commends Dick for figuring it out so fast, saying he's become quite a detective and quite a man.

Dick has gone to the cemetery to visit his parents graves, something he hasn't done for a long time, and fills them in on what has been going on in his life.

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