|First Published:||July 4, 2012|
|Previous Issue:||Detective Comics #10|
|Next Issue:||Detective Comics #12|
At Hugh Marder's lab within Wayne Tower, Batman is suffering from weakness under the power of Mister Toxic's energy blasts. Fortunately, Lucius Fox designed an energy deflector prototype, which proves effective enough to save his life. Even as Batman strengthens his resolve, his physical weakness grows. Mister Toxic's radiation has too much of an effect on him.
The villain manages to knock him down with a steel pipe, but as he attempts to make a final blow, Batman's arm shoots up and catches the pipe, yanking it away. Turning on Mister Toxic, Batman smashes through the glass helmet, releasing the gas within. As it dissipates, Batman is surprised to see Hugh Marder's face behind the mask. Before he can ask about it, the man explodes.
At that same moment, the other Hugh Marder, who was trapped within the energy field of a hadron collider, is suddenly released from its hold as the control system fails. Batman tries to question him, but all Marder will say is that it is too late. He has the power. Batman is confused, but the scientist dies before any more can be said.
Later, in the Batcave, Bruce uses the cave's decontamination unit for the first time, and muses that this must be what Superman feels like when he is exposed to Kryptonite. Alfred suggests that Bruce take some time to sleep and recover, but naturally, Bruce can't let the mystery rest. Marder's last words about power are a source of confusion and intrigue for him.
The next day, Bruce and Lucius investigate the lab, wondering what the connection between the hadron collider and Mister Toxic might be. The morgue, meanwhile, says that Marder's body has shown signs of cellular deconstruction, which makes the actual cause of death a mystery. Bruce wonders if Marder might have been testing the machine on himself; trying to propel himself through space at a speed faster than light.
If Marder was testing it on himself, he likely hoped for a different result than his death. Bruce and Lucius are interrupted by a call from a professor Alan Smart who promises that Hugh Marder will unleash a kind of Hell if he is not stopped, and that they should meet at Dunhill Lab if they are to save thousands of lives.
Alan Smart mysteriously disappeared nearly a year ago, so Bruce meets with Professor Arthur Manhart at Dunhill Labs. The location is significant. It was the same place that imposters dressed as Batman broke into yesterday, and it was only recently that the lab had its own radioactive incident. The victims of that incident were reported as having melted. Manhart believes that the event was the result of sabotage by spies. Bruce notes that Alan Smart was accused of being one such spy for Lexcorp, though there was no proof against him. Given his own lab issues, Professor Manhart allows Bruce to take a sample of a radioactive residue that was inexplicably found in Dunhill's hadron collider.
As Bruce heads to his car, he spots a suspicious looking vagrant and follows him into an alley, instinctively knowing that this is Alan Smart. The man explains that Hugh Marder built a particle accelerator in his lab at Wayne Tower in order to convert matter to anti-matter. This would aid him in his goal of achieving forward time-travel. Bruce doubts that a human body could ever withstand time travel, but Smart explains that there were tests performed on Marder's clones. He warns that the Marder who apparently died last night could easily have been one of the clones. He passes Bruce a data recording with details about the project, warning that Marder's body has already begun its cellular regeneration. He will be back.
At the Gotham City Morgue, the morticians are growing increasingly perplexed at their most recent arrivals. No less than five corpses have turned up, and each of them looks nearly identical to the others. They try to stretch their doubt by supposing that a set of quintuplets has died within weeks of one another, but their disbelief is not so easily suspended.
Suddenly, the morgue begins filling with gas, and the morticians' bodies disintegrate under the power of Mister Toxic's energy blast. At the same time, the corpse of Hugh Marder - the real one - begins to revive. Mister Toxic warns him that if he is to stay alive, they needto get back to Dunhill Labs. He warns that if Marder dies, he will die, so it is in his interest to keep the man going.
Later, Batman and Commissioner Gordon investigate the morgue, where it seems that the bodies the morticians were dealing with had essentially melted - just like the victims at Dunhill labs. Batman points out that the remains of those bodies all look exactly the same. Realizing that these must be Marder's clones, Batman takes a sample of tissue for analysis.
The test results seem to indicate that Alan Smart's claims of cloning were not so fantastic as they sounded. The DNA is nearly identical between each, apart from the presence of positrons. They might all have been exposed to the particle accelerator. However, whatever Marder's plan was, it seems not to be going the way it was meant to. The positrons in the samples are reacting aggressively to the sample he took earlier from Dunhill Labs.
To his horror, the reaction gets out of control. The resultant gas begins to liquefy and spread until it engulfs him.
There to get revenge, Two-Face breaks into Freakshow Tommy and Dominic Sterano's hideout, guns blazing. Despite getting shot himself, he kills both of them.
Some time later, Two-Face collapses at the door of the Leader, who had sent him away days before after trying and failing to curb the evil in Harvey Dent's heart for good. Regardless, the Leader takes Harvey in again, to save his life.
Harvey wakes in a darkened room, incredulous that his life was saved. The Leader was hired by Tommy and Sterano to kill him, and yet his moral code prevented him from doing so. Two-Face points out that this is the second time the Leader has failed to kill him, and he doesn't take lightly the fact that the Leader sent him back to Tommy and Dominic expecting them to do the job themselves. The Leader warns that he is merely a bump in the road for Harvey Dent. It is up to Harvey where that road goes. Being made up of equal parts light and dark means that whatever choice Harvey makes will tip the scales to one side or the other.
Harvey knows that all to well, and he flips his coin. He follows the results of his coin-tosses without question, and acts according to whichever side of the scale is tipped. Looking at the flipped coin in his palm, Two-Face lifts raises his gun without hesitation and puts a bullet in the Leader.
Strangely, the man is gone, and all that is left behind is the Leader's robe - with a bullet hole burnt through it. Somehow, the Leader has cheated the coin; cheated death.
- Mr. Toxic
- Lucius Fox
- Alfred Pennyworth
- Arthur Manhart
- Alan Smart
- Brian (Dies in this issue)
- James Gordon
- Gotham City
- Gotham City Edgewater District