|"Face in the Crowd"|
|First Published:||July 31, 2013|
|Previous Issue:||Detective Comics #22|
|Next Issue:||Detective Comics #23|
"Face in the Crowd"Edit
One week ago, a woman entered the City Bank of Gotham just before closing. The staff recognized her as Vivian Wenner, a prominent socialite, but when she tried to have a large sum of money wire-transferred to a Cayman Islands account, her accountant - who happened to be the executor of her estate - appeared, and revealed that the real Mrs. Wenner was dead. This resulted in a shootout with bank security. Batman arrived on the scene within three minutes of the silent alarm being pulled, and by then, three civilians were dead, and four were injured. Somehow, the woman gave him the slip, leaving behind only the mask she had used with her disguise, and a lot of questions needing answers.
She had only managed to escape because she was saved by The Wrath. He explained to her that as a cop-killer, he needed eyes inside the Gotham City Police department, and she needed a place to hide. Why not use her prowess with disguises to hide within the department?
Now, Batman has been called by the Comissioner to the scene yet another murder, this time of police officers Prosinski and McMahon. The reason for the call was not, however, to investigate The Wrath's cop-killing, but to look into a Jane Doe they discovered while canvassing nearby. Lt. Bullock is on point. Batman is introduced to the new police psychologist, Abigail Wilburn, whose job it will be to come up with a profile of The Wrath. The introduction is curt, as Batman would rather get down to business.
The Commissioner explains that the Jane Doe has been burnt beyond recognition, and apparently partially skinned prior to that. A quick scan reveals that the body belongs to a woman called Brenda Levins, who likely died eighteen days ago. The name is familiar to Batman because Levins was seen robbing a jewellery store twelve days ago. Which means that this body is not a Jane Doe at all, but a victim of identity theft. This was likely the work of the same woman whom he lost track of at the City Bank.
Some days later, Batman thwarts a hostage situation, only to find that the madman responsible is actually a police officer who suffered a mental breakdown when his partner was killed. On the scene, Batman notices that Bullock seems to be taking more care of his appearance, and realizes that it's because the lieutenant is trying to impress Dr. Wilburn, who had been counselling the officer. She claims to have seen no sign of the paranoid behaviour that resulted in this breakdown at her last meeting with him. However, she has worked up a profile for the Jane Doe killer, and places it in his hand, though he admits he would prefer to come up with his own. Bullock insists, and Batman relents, hoping instead to learn something about Wilburn from how she writes.
After reading her report, Batman feels no pleasure in discovering that Bullock is in for a let-down. Wilburn is not what she seems. Regardless, he sifts through Jane Doe's victims' holdings for potential hide-outs, settling on a mannequin factory, where Wilburn and Bullock appear to be at a violent standstill. When he arrives, each claims that the other is the killer. With little time, Batman makes a quick decision, and flings a Batarang at Bullock.
Batman correctly assumes that the plan was to put suspicion on Wilburn, and then make her disappear. Removing the mask of Bullock's face, Jane Doe claims that while she may not be Harvey Bullock, she is a jujitsu champion who went missing two years ago, and the welterweight winner of last year's Gotham Gloves competition. Angrily, Batman responds that those are not her either. She is a nobody. He had found her out when he saw that Bullock had taken a sudden interest several apparently unconnected missing persons cases. The connection was Bullock - or rather, the woman who had taken his place; the woman who defined herself through her victims. However, while Jane Doe is unmasked and weak, it is not Batman who brings her down, but an angry Dr. Wilburn.
Fortunately, Batman and Wilburn discover the real Harvey Bullock alive in the basement, forced to watch recordings of every thing Jane had done with his life. Batman can see that the experience was harrowing for him, and he needs to talk to someone - but the one person equipped to do that won't. Abigail Wilburn has only really known Harvey as the man who tried to kill her. She can't fully divorce the disguised murderer from the man whose identity she stole.
Harvey explains that he learned nothing about his captor's real identity. When she wore his mask, she appeared to be just like him, and when she was unmasked, she was nobody unless she was playing the part of one of her previous victims. Batman assures him that it doesn't matter who she is, as she is just another lunatic on her way to Arkham Asylum.
Meanwhile, Jane Doe has chosen her next victim - the Batman.
Lt. Harvey Bullock stands at the gates of Arkham Asylum, hesitating before he enters. Two women who figure prominently in his life are waiting inside. Jane Doe, the woman who had tried to become him, and Dr. Abigail Wilburn, who had thought she loved him, until she learned that it had been Jane Doe the whole time.
Despite what happened, Dr. Wilburn has transferred from the Gotham City Police Department to the asylum in order to distance herself from Harvey, and now she is Jane Doe's psychiatrist. Naturally, when Harvey interrupts their session, she is not happy to see him. He explains that he has only come to talk, thinking all the while that though they had only met briefly before he was kidnapped, she had somehow managed to fall in love with a version of him, as it was presented by Jane Doe. He is sure that as himself, the doctor is very much out of his league. Suddenly, Harvey shouts that she must stop pretending.
Dr. Wilburn was never there. Jane Doe has merely been pretending she was. Angrily, Harvey asks her why she chose him as the person to replace. Coldly, Jane responds that nobody had noticed or missed him because he is a repellent and slovenly man. The only person who had really cared, had cared about an illusion. A better Bullock.
From the observation room, the Arkham orderlies watch Jane converse with herself, unable to stop being all of the other people within her mind. Wilburn was never there, Bullock was never there. Jane Doe is simply insane.
"Harvey Bullock, This is Your Life"Edit
While in the guise of Harvey Bullock, Jane Doe requisitions a number of high definition security cameras with which to force her victim - the real Harvey - to watch his life being hijacked.
Preparing for another day in his skin, Jane warns the kidnapped Harvey that he should take a lesson from what he's about to see - to see how his life can be done right. To Harvey's horror, that is exactly what she does. She fights crime by the book. She does his job better than he did it. Even with the change, nobody seems to notice that he isn't himself. They just think he's turned over a new leaf.
To all, it seems as though Harvey's life is going very well. He has a girlfriend. He's paying bills on time. All the while, though, he is chained to a chair, waiting fearfully for the moment when Jane Doe returns to peel off his face.
Later, after his rescue, Harvey has become depressed, and drinks away his feelings at a bar. Unfortunately, he is interrupted by a young man who recognizes him as a man who helped him recently. This just makes things worse for Harvey, because it wasn't him who did it.
"Face in the Crowd"Edit
- Jane Doe
- James Gordon
- Harvey Bullock
- Brenda Levins (Appears as corpse only)
- Abigail Wilburn (First Appearance)
- Alfred Pennyworth
- Officer Brookings