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|"Gothtopia, Part 2 of 3: The Maddening Crowd"|
|First Published:||February 5, 2014|
|Previous Issue:||Detective Comics #27|
|Next Issue:||Detective Comics #29|
"Gothtopia, Part 2 of 3: The Maddening Crowd"Edit
Batman has been placed in the Crane Center for Health and Wellness, where Dr. Crane has concluded that he is suffering from a vivid and persistent hallucination, suggesting that this world they live in is a falsehood. Batman, meanwhile, is more convinced than ever that this is the hallucination - that his memory of Gotham City has been replaced by an illusory utopia - and everyone else has been affected. As far as he is concerned, his doctors are criminals. The lunatics are running the asylum.
Outside the asylum, even Batman's allies have succumbed to this mass delusion, and it was they who caught him and put him in what he knows is Arkham Asylum. Fortunately, if the one responsible is who he thinks it is - Jonathan Crane, the Scarecrow - he is exactly where he needs to be. Though they took his Utility Belt, they failed to anticipate that he would have everything he needed to escape within his Batsuit. Some months back, he had been given a tour in Arkham's new security facilities, and with the computer components embedded in his suit, he can access the backdoor he programmed into that security system. Quickly, he makes his way to the central control room, and knocks Flamingo and Nocturna unconscious. Hacking into that system, he loops in security footage of him sleeping on his cot.
Batman has realized that the nature of this delusion means that people see what they want to see, and their minds violently reject what they don't want to see. As such, if he remains stealthy, those guards he knocks unconscious and sneaks past won't even remember that he did it. He makes his way through the asylum to Scarecrow's lab, where he discovers that the formula he's using is not dissimilar from Fear Toxin. However, it is the effects that differ from his usual MO. For some reason, the toxin now causes contentment instead of fear - which is unusual given the Scarecrow's obsession. Batman requires three nights to make an antidote for the toxin - but he has learned that he doesn't have that time. According to Catbird, he will be dead by morning.
Earlier that day, she had visited him, expressing her genuine desire to be reunited with him. She rejected his attempts to hint at the truth, becoming angry when her delusion was challenged. Batman responded that he intended to help her by breaking her free from the lie. She suggested he help himself. Dr. Crane had told her that Batman was scheduled for a surgical procedure in the morning to fix him. If Batman doesn't return to his delusion before then, Dr. Valentin will be performing brain surgery.
So, Batman needs a special ingredient that will speed up the creation of the antidote - and that ingredient can only be got in one place: from Poison Ivy. She is not as receptive as he might hope to his promise of rescue, reminding that he had put her in the asylum earlier, when she had realized the truth. First she punches him, and then she kisses him, poisoning him with her mind control toxin. Resisting it, he warns that they would be best off helping each other for now. With her natural resistance to toxins, he can use her anti-toxins to produce a counter to the Scarecrow's toxin. Ivy warns that even if they succeed, they won't be able to find the Scarecrow at Gotham that night. Night is when he goes out into the city and conducts his experiments.
She explains that the reason Scarecrow has made everyone content is because their contentment makes them susceptible to an even purer kind of fear. This, Batman realizes, is why most of those who experience the experiments have no memory of the experiment - but are still driven to suicide.
Before long, Batman and Ivy have concocted an anti-toxin, and in order to get out of the asylum and spread it through the city, they spread a sedative through the building to make everyone else fall asleep. Thanks to her own resistance and the kiss he received, both Batman and Ivy are immune to that effect. After a brief altercation with Killer Croc, the pair make it into the courtyard, where Scarecrow is waiting with reinforcements. Those reinforcements happen to be Batman's allies, under Scarecrow's control.
"Gothtopia, Part 2 of 3: The Maddening Crowd"Edit
- Batman (Flashback and Main Story)
- Professor Pyg
- Mr. Freeze
- Harley Quinn
- Killer Croc (Flashback and Main Story)
- Aaron Cash
- Jeremiah Arkham
- Mr. Zsasz
- Poison Ivy
- Catbird/Catwoman (Flashback and Main Story)
- Brightbat/Batwoman (Flashback and Main Story)
- Talon (Calvin Rose)