|"Bat and Mouse"|
|First Published:||August 7, 2013|
|Previous Issue:||Detective Comics Annual #2|
|Next Issue:||Poison Ivy #1|
"Bat and Mouse"Edit
Three years ago, Batman had caught a small time thug named Clyde Anderson and had warned him to do something useful with his life when he got out of jail. Unfortunately, Anderson had not taken his advice. Now, Clyde Anderson is dead, having been thrown from The Wrath's plane. Until that point, he had been killing policemen under the Wrath's influence.
Strangely, Anderson hadn't blamed Batman for his incarceration, but the police who had brought him in after meeting the vigilante. Rather than spend his time in prison getting an education as Batman had suggested he do, Anderson wasted it all on frivolous lawsuits against the officers who brought him in. Eventually, he managed to get a reduced sentence and a work release program upon parole. That work release program was offered by businessman E.D. Caldwell - the same man who is now calling himself The Wrath.
Unfortunately, Batman has no proof that Caldwell is the Wrath, even if he knows it. In order to get that proof, Batman agrees to meet Caldwell regarding his offer for the purchase of Wayne Enterprises. However, his real plan could prove dangerous for Alfred, more so than himself.
The two of them are met at Caldwell Tech by Mrs. Waters, who explains that the CEO is running behind schedule because of police questioning regarding Clyde Anderson. While they wait, Alfred uses a hidden gadget to map the Caldwell building digitally. As Harvey Bullock finishes his line of questioning, he thanks Mr. Caldwell for his donation of equipment to the GCPD, prompting Bruce to wonder why he would give them equipment if he wants to kill them all.
As Bruce's meeting with Caldwell begins, he is secretly intent on opening up a back door in Caldwell Tower's security system. However, Caldwell has unusual negotiation methods. He urges Bruce to put on a martial arts gi, and spar with him while discussing the fate of his company. Through punches, kicks, and blocks, Caldwell explains that he only wants Wayne Enterprises for the technology it supplies Batman Incorporated. He wants access to the gear and weapons so he can mass produce them. Bruce responds that Wayne Enterprise does not make weapons. Caldwell insists that Batman is all brawn and no brains, and therefore, Wayne Enterprises must be creating his gadgetry - and Bruce must be behind it. Angrily, Bruce responds that he is not involved, and regardless, the information is not for sale. Saying that, he knocks Caldwell off his feet.
The man rises slowly, commenting that it seems Bruce might have knocked out one of his contact lenses. Unfortunately, those lenses were also video outputs, with which he was watching as Alfred clandestinely accessed the building's security system. Caldwell excuses himself, just as Bruce's cellphone rings. It is Alfred, explaining worriedly that while he can confirm that Caldwell is The Wrath, he has worse news. Caldwell is preparing for war, with an armoury and a hangar of tanks and jets at his disposal.
The call is cut short, however, when Alfred is interrupted by the Wrath himself. Knocking Alfred to the ground, Caldwell explains that his plan is already about to come to fruition, drawing attention to several video displays in which the equipment he gave to the GCPD begins electrocuting the policemen. Standing menacingly over the older man, Caldwell orders his assistant Mrs. Waters to take Bruce Wayne into custody.
Mrs. Waters, however, was no match for Bruce, who has already got his uniform on. When Caldwell discovers the communication device on Alfred's wrist, he demands to know to whom he is speaking, and when he learns that it is Batman, he announces that he is coming for him next.
Francine Langstrom had got married to her husband Kirk after he had told her about his Atavistic Gene Recall Serum. Her motivations for doing so, though, were not quite based in love. She had been assigned to the task by her employers - to keep him happy at home and make sure he focused at work.
She was to ensure that he completed the serum, all while taking notes about every aspect of its development. She had let him believe that Caldwell Industries was funding the project as a charitable endeavour aid the hearing-impaired via some kind of biosonar. The truth was that Caldwell wanted biological weapons. Once Kirk completed the formula and handed it over, he was to be killed, and Francine would become the wealthiest widow in Gotham. Things did not turn out that way.
When they set a batch of the serum loose in the city, they did not anticipate the complications that would arise, nor Kirk's altruistic decision to reverse the serum's effects by using it on himself. The operation had been compromised, and so, to avoid losing her job, Francine had developed her own batch of the serum, hoping it would succeed where Kirk's had failed. Unfortunately, she didn't realize it would become addictive - or that it would drive her to kill.
Now, Kirk has found her plan out, and he knows about her serum's addictive properties. He also knows that she used the wrong bat as its basis - an aggressive species that feeds on blood. He hopes to convince her to let him help her fix her formula, to get back to her old self. Fed up, Francine explains that her old self was never her. These days, she's starting to feel that the bat is her real self - and she likes it.
Though she attacks him - though she wants to - Francine can't bring herself to kill Kirk. Instead, she crashes through the window, leaving him alone, and feeling free.
"Bat and Mouse"Edit
- Man-Bat (Flashback and Main Story)
- Francine Langstrom (Flashback and Main Story)
- Elliot Caldwell (In Flashback Only)
- Batman (In Flashback Only)
- Man-Bat Serum