|"Phoenix in Chaos"|
Knightquest: The Crusade
|First Published:||December 1993|
|Previous Issue:||Batman #501|
|Next Issue:||Batman #503|
"Phoenix in Chaos"Edit
Jean-Paul Valley, as Batman, has just narrowly evaded being shot dead by Mekros - a self-hypnotizing super-soldier and hitman for hire - who has instead shot his employer, Don Mercante. Jean-Paul uses the light built into his Batsuit to project the bat-symbol onto the wall, tricking Mekros into thinking that he has shot down Batman. Jean-Paul uses the opportunity to sneak onto the roof that Mekros is hiding on. They battle, and Batman is knocked off the roof, allowing Mekros to escape, but not before Batman is able to sow seeds of doubt in his mind that the men who hired him aren't planning to pay.
Elsewhere, two FBI are horrified to realize that Mekros has resurfaced in Gotham City. Worrying that their dealings with Gotham Organized Crime will come to the surface if Mekros is caught, they send their own man, Skylar, to take out Mekros. The remaining Gotham mob bosses meet in a restaurant to discuss the death of Don Mercante, and what, if any, connection exists between Batman and Mekros. Despite the others' suspicions, Don Marcello suggests that the pay Mekros double the original fee, and have him try to kill Batman again. Ironically, Mekros attacks Don Marcello moments later, demanding double the fee - in blood. He kills nearly everyone in the place and escapes before Batman can catch him.
Batman meets Commissioner Gordon on the roof of Gotham City Police Headquarters, offering an audio tape of Don Marcello's conversation. Gordon once again questions Batman's methods of allowing the men for whom this evidence would mean years in prison to be killed by the assassin they hired. Jean-Paul realizes that Gordon suspects that he is not Bruce Wayne. Jean-Paul explains that he knows little of who this Mekros really is, but Gordon notes that if the connection with the FBI is real, Skyler's recent appearance in Gotham is likely connected. In his home, Gordon discusses his doubts and worries about the changes in Batman with his wife Sarah, but they are interrupted by a call from Mayor Krol. Gordon meets with the Mayor, who threatens to start publicly endorsing the Batman, even with his new violent tendencies, if the police department is unable to get crime under control with the same level of effectiveness as the vigilante. Skyler confronts Mekros in a hotel room, where they are interrupted by Batman. In the ensuing chaos, Mekros kills Skylar, and Batman chases Mekros out a window and into a convenience store. Mekros leaves a trail of carnage to a cold-storage room, where Batman defeats him and hangs his body from a meat hook.