|"The Thin White Duke Of Death"|
|First Published:||October 2008|
|Previous Issue:||Batman #679|
|Next Issue:||Batman #681|
"The Thin White Duke Of Death"Edit
Before parting company, Batman asks Bat-Mite if he really exists or if he is only a figment of his fevered imagination. Bat-Mite replies quite simply that he is both. Imagination is the Fifth-Dimension. With that riddle solved, the imp disappears and Batman steps into the Asylum and begins delivering beatings to the Gargoyle Henchmen that are so brutal in nature that at first the Black Glove's guests refuse to believe they are actually watching the real Bat. Hurt assures his guests that the Batman in question is the real deal but merely the rags and tatters of a nearly defeated hero.
With the Dark Knight almost in place, the normally mild mannered neurosurgeon Dr. Guy Dax stands before his hero and inspiration The Joker as he prepares for Nightwing's Lobotomy. Before the procedure however he must first begin he his transformation into the hideous villain Le Bossu. Too busy applying his deformed looking mask, Dax/Le Bossu fails to notice that the Joker has slipped out of his cell and snuck up behind him. Scalpel in hand, the Joker sub-dues the Hunchback and begins carving out the man's face. Unaware the lobotomy has just now been indefinitely postponed, Scorpiana worries that the blue scorpion poison will soon wear off and that Nightwing will once again regain consciousness.
Finishing with Dax, Joker moves on to El Sombrero. Quickly getting the upper hand, he drops Sombrero through the sky light above the Black Glove's ceremony and makes his way inside. Dr. Hurt greets the green haired mad-man and begins catching him up on the Black Glove's plans for the rest of the evening...
Meanwhile, at Wayne Manor, Gordon continues to carefully plot his course through the booby-trapped mansion. Suddenly a voice speaks to him from behind a hidden speaker and informs him that he only has fifteen seconds to reach the red phone at the top of the stairs before a bomb will go off. Gordon takes off towards the phone but accidentally trips a hidden laser trigger. Luckily for him, Damian and Talia have finally arrived to check on Bruce and save Gordon's life. Talia, having heard many good things about Gordon from Bruce offers to continue looking for Batman together.
Back at Arkham, the Joker has begun taunting Batman through the PA system and reveals that the Black Glove has captured Jezebel. Batman vows to rescue his love and reveals that he has begun piecing together Joker's clues - red and black tiles, red and black roses, the dead man's card hand, life and death, cupid and the devil. But the final piece of the puzzle seems just out of reach. Batman struggles to comprehend the solution as he heads towards his confrontation while Joker insists that the true joke lies in the situation's lack of a meaning.
Standing upon a red and black tiled floor, Batman finally finds himself face to face with his greatest foe. Joker claims that Batman corrupted their special arrangement when he shot him and refuses to listen to Batman's claims that it was all a manipulation of the Black Glove. Instead, Joker laughs at Batman for getting himself into this mess all in an attempt to better understand him.
Urging Batman to finally just give in and accept the joke that is life and death, Joker reveals Jezebel held captive in a straight jacket with the black and red rose petals falling all around her. Believing the petals to be poisonous when combined, Batman begins frantically trying to break through the glass separating him from his love. Jezebel calls out for Bruce but Batman insists that Bruce is not there. "Not Bruce. I'm Batman. I'm the Batman of Zur-En-Arrh."
Finally breaking through the glass, Bruce falls to his knees believing that he has failed his true love. But the joke it appears is on him. The mystery behind the red and black theme of the evening finally dawning on him, a wicked grin stretches across Bruce's face. Revealing herself to be quite alive and well, Jezebel Jet stands up and puts on a pair of black gloves.
"The Thin White Duke Of Death"Edit
- Jezebel Jet
- Alfred Pennyworth
- Dick Grayson
- Black Glove
- The Joker
- James Gordon
- Talia al Ghul
- Damian Wayne