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Detective Comics (Volume 2) Issue 21

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"Shadows and Ghosts"
Detective Comics Vol 2-21 Cover-1
General Information
Series: Detective Comics
Issue Number: 21
First Published: June 5, 2013
Previous Issue: Detective Comics #20
Next Issue: Detective Comics #22


"Shadows and Ghosts"Edit

Ten years ago, Bruce Wayne had watched Mio, the girl he had come to love, die after he discovered that she had betrayed him and killed Matsuda, who had trained them both. However, in truth, she had survived, creating the illusion of death by entering a trance state. She returned to her master, who had been training her to become a master assassin. He was disappointed with her for having failed to act swiftly against Matsuda because she was distracted by Bruce. Even so, he inducted her into his League of Assassins for training.

Now, on the night of an important political summit being held at Wayne Tower, Batman thwarts a bus load of hired killers easily - too easily. While Alfred Pennyworth warns him that Bruce Wayne is expected to make an appearance, Batman promises to get there soon, though he is wary that the attack might have been meant as a distraction.

Nearby, Harper Row and her brother Cullen are hanging around outside Wayne Tower because Harper has been contracted as a Municipal Electrical Engineer to monitor the lighting station at the summit. Cullen is just there because he was bored. While there, they notice a woman dressed in white, who seems to have been there for a long time, making Harper suspicious. Her brother brushes it off, and changes the subject by suggesting that she is only doing this job to impress Bruce Wayne after Batman warned her against vigilantism. Grumpily, Harper reminds him how her gear had gone missing after she locked it away - presumably confiscated by the Batman. Cullen thinks it was just to keep her safe.

Not concerned much for her safety, Harper spots the woman in white on the move, and follows her into Wayne Tower. She watches as the woman pauses in a 14th floor office, and uses some kind of shadow-based energy to cut through a window-pane, and create a cross-bow with which to assassinate the Bhutanese Prime Minister. Unfortunately, the woman is well aware of Harper's presence, and forces her to come out of her hiding place.

Meanwhile, Alfred has since clued into Harper's actions, and warns Batman that she has been discovered by the assassin that she managed to spot on her own. Rather than land the Batplane first, Batman simply crashes it straight through the 14th floor window. The destruction knocks the Assassin back, while he helps Harper to her feet. Turning to face the would-be killer, Batman warns Harper to run back downstairs to safety. Outside the tower, Harper explains the situation to the Police Commissioner.

Batman recognizes the woman's voice, but his memory of where he has heard it is vague. She calls herself Penumbra, claiming to be one with the shadows. Batman recognizes her Southeast Asian fighting style, and the shadow energy manipulation is a mystic Indian discipline. He presses her on her identity, but she does not answer.

Harper, meanwhile, realizes that she can do something to help Batman. If this assassin uses shadow to fight, she can use light to fight back. She angles the flood lights on the ground to point up at the 14th floor window. With the light flooding into the room, Penumbra's shadows dissolve, and she is left a mere woman, whom Batman recognizes suddenly as Mio. Surprised, he remembers the girl he fell in love with ten years ago, and tries to convince her that she doesn't have to be a killer. Confused by the fact that he seems to know her, and by the sound of her true name, Mio missteps, and falls from the gaping hole in the wall, and onto the ground, in what would surely be a fatal impact. However, Officer Strode informs him later that Mio never made impact. She disappeared in mid-air.

Spotting Harper in the crowd, he calls out to her and reminds her angrily that he had warned her to stay out of trouble. She claims that she had just been trying to work. Unfazed, Batman hands her back her equipment, stating that she should at least be prepared for trouble if it's going to find her, even when she's not looking for it. He congratulates her on doing well, but warns her not to make a habit of putting her life on the line.

Later, at Wayne Manor, Bruce can't help but admit to Alfred that Harper is smart and capable, but he worries that the recklessness she tends toward will get her killed like it did his son Damian - who had those same qualities.

Elsewhere, Mio is returned to her master, who has her put in a dungeon as punishment for her failure. She cries out that he needs her, but he assures her that he will never have a shortage of assassins.


After a night of fitful sleep, Kirk Langstrom is horrified to discover via a TV news report that the dreams he had might be true. A transient named Douglas King was murdered the night before by what could very likely be the Man-Bat.

Rushing away, despite his wife Francine's confusion, Kirk arrives at the New Trigate Bridge, where the police are gathered. While they are focused on the ground, he is focused on the bridge, where a swarm of bats sleeps on its underside. On the nights that he is a bat, that is where he nests. He has found himself under the bridge on numerous mornings, and it is where both he and Francine woke up when they had both taken the serum for the first time. While she appears to have been traumatized by the experience, Kirk must admit to himself that he liked it, and is becoming addicted to triggering the transformation with the serum after she has fallen asleep.

Tonight, he does it again, as usual, and though he intended to hunt for answers, he becomes engaged in a fight with a genetically modified dog. That morning, he wakes under the bridge to find the dog's body. He returns in time for breakfast, and Francine does not ask where he's been - as she never does. Another news report covers the story, but it mentions that the dog had escaped from its holding facility the previous afternoon. This triggers a worry in Kirk, because, if the dog escaped yesterday afternoon, and the man was killed the night before, there is a possibility that he did murder him. But if he did, why can't he remember? How can he stop?


"Shadows and Ghosts"Edit










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