"The Beginning of the End"Edit

A disembodied Bruce Wayne watches from another plane of existence as foes and allies alike pour into an alternate Gotham to arrive at the Dew Drop Inn for Batman's funeral. Not dead, yet not alive, his only guide for this surreal experience is an unknown female who takes him through this city of Gotham that seems familiar yet strangely different from the one Bruce knows. His guide encourages him to keep watching as more and more visitors come to pay their respects. Unfortunately, Alfred relays the message to all those at the funeral that Bruce Wayne will not be able attend.

After being greeted by the Inn's bartender Joe Chill, mourners are then directed to the main room where Alfred seats them - heroes on the right, villains on the left. They gather around the casket and help themselves to pie and sandwiches and share memories of the Caped Crusader. Once it seems as though everyone has arrived, Dick Grayson steps to the front and asks if anyone has anything to say about the dearly departed. Naturally, the first person to step up is Selina Kyle, Catwoman.

Kyle, or Sadie Kelowski as she used to be known in the days before Pearl Harbor, tells her story, "The Cat-Woman's Tale." In her interpretation of events she first met Batman during her early days as the masked burglar "The Cat." The two would engage in a tumultuous relationship over the years until Catwoman would eventually make an attempt to go straight. After determining that walking the straight and narrow wasn't enough to win the heart of the Dark Knight, Selina settled down into a "normal" life, opening up a pet store in Gotham.

One day, Batman would come staggering out of the alleyway, asking for her help. He had been shot and was badly bleeding. Selina took him inside but instead of tending to his wounds, she tied him up and let him bleed out - loving him too much to allow him to continue his dangerous crimefighting ways. From there she left and went to the funeral where she breaks down in telling the story and rushes out of the room. "That was the death of Robin Hood. Not mine," Bruce scoffs as he observes these impossibly proceedings. But next up to say a word about the Batman is Alfred Pennyworth himself. Alfred tells "The Gentleman's Gentleman's Tale" to the crowd of mourners - confessing his own role in the death of Batman.

Alfred, a stage actor in England, would receive word from his father Jarvis Pennyworth that he was to immediately come to Gotham City and assume his sick father's role as Wayne family servant. Alfred accepted his new role and quickly fell in love with the family only to be deeply saddened by the unexpected deaths of Thomas and Martha Wayne. With his parents gone, Bruce was left in Alfred's care and the butler saw to it that his every need was met. When Bruce would grow up and become fixated with dressing up as a bat vigilante, Alfred encouraged him. But when the criminal tide of Gotham began to dry up, Alfred was forced to take matters into his own hands. In an attempt to keep Bruce from lapsing back into depression, Alfred turned to his old theater friends, paying them to assume the roles of what would become Batman's rogues gallery. Alfred would in fact take on the most important role in becoming the Joker - a villainous clown that would serve as a Moby Dick to Batman's Captain Ahab.

Unfortunately, while the rogues were fake, Bruce's detective skills were true and the young man would soon uncover Alfred's terrible double life. After confronting the butler, Bruce refuses to give up the mantle of the Bat, going out to respond to a call for his help at the Gotham Zoo. There, another one of Alfred's theater chums who had taken the name of "The Riddler" had kidnapped some children and held them hostage. Unbeknownst to Batman however, the actor Eddie Nash had become consumed with the role and as the disillusioned Batman nonchalantly went to grab Eddie's pistol from him - it went off in his face killing the Batman! His tale of betrayal and deceit told, Alfred too takes leave of the ceremonies to mourn in private. After watching these impossible and fictitious stories play out before him, Bruce demands to know where he is and what exactly is going on.


"The Beginning of the End"Edit