|"The Library of Souls"|
|First Published:||April, 1992|
|Previous Issue:||Detective Comics #642|
|Next Issue:||Detective Comics #644|
"The Library of Souls"Edit
This section is still under construction and being worked upon.
Ten exhumed skeletons, one approximately 110 years old, have been found scattered around Gotham City in bathrooms, closets, parks and gallaries. An old widow discovers the latest one, hearing noises coming from her bathroom. Reaching for a flashlight, she follows the sound of the noises to her clawed bathtub, where a grinning skeleton is posed, staring at her. The woman nearly has a violent heart attack, and soon the GCPD are called in to investigate. The rotting skeleton is over a century old, as dated on the scene. Within minutes, Jacko, (The police officer in charge of the investigation), has called an ambulance. He and a detective look on while two ambulance attendants place the ancient bones onto a stretcher and wheel them away. As Batman watches the ambulance speed away from a nearby rooftop, he recalls that ten other skeletons have been discovered around central Gotham, in bathrooms, closets, parks, and galleries. Batman is troubled by these strange incidents, as something so obscure as this usually fails to bother him, because he does not understand the reasoning behind it. Batman is plagued by notions of what such gruesome occurrences might mean. Over the next week, an eleventh skeleton is discovered crumpled at the front of a classroom, dressed in a large green shirt. Two more are located in the street, and in a private yard. The fourth skeleton of the week is stumbled across by Officer Jacko, in an oriental garden. The bones are curled up like a question mark, and left in a brand new leather jacket. Batman, meanwhile, observes Jacko and another policemen from afar as they examine the corpse. He wonders how long it may be before the mysterious grave digger decides to turn his attention from the dead to the living, and the bodies are freshly slaughtered ones.
Two weeks later, the police discover a desecrated cemetery, the West Central District Graveyard, where the graves have been dug up and the coffins discarded. Batman decides to visit the cemetery, and spies two armed guards in raincoats on patrol among the gravestones. Apparently, the robbing of the graves has led security to be tightened around all cemeteries in central Gotham. As a guard's flashlight strikes another empty grave, Batman watches from a rain-swept building nearby. He is most uneasy at this point, since the presence of the guards will no doubt scare the grave robber away, but he may, with his supply cut off at the source, turn his attention to living persons. His fears are soon confirmed.
That very night, as the rain subsides, a psychologist named Dr. John Watkins on an evening stroll to get the newspaper is approached by an unmarked red van. A man in a green suit clambers out and asks for the time. When Watkins glances at his watch, the green-suited man attacks him, injecting the psychologist with a needle containing a sleeping drug. The mysterious green-suited man then kidnaps Watkins and drives him to an undisclosed location in his van. Watkins awakes strapped to an up-right stretcher, with his kidnapper at his side. The man asks Watkins to confirm his profession as a psychologist, then places him in a brand new leather jacket.
The following night, Watkins is killed and dragged to the home of Mike Smith, and his wife, Wilma. The killer is just placing Watkins' corpse in the living room when he is confronted by the Smiths. Cornered, the green-suited man holds them both an gunpoint, and, before shooting both dead, asks if either are theologists or members of the established church.
A few hours later, Officer Jacko of the GCPD comes upon the crime scene and notices the Smiths are missing. He confirms that John Watkins was killed by poisoning. Jacko wonders aloud why the murderer broke into a private home to leave the corpse, and why he dragged the house's owners off somewhere, as the policeman deduces from the blood trail on the floor. Batman arrives at the Smith home minutes later. He takes a closer look at the body, and notices that there are three-digit numbers stitched into the sleeves of the leather jacket placed on the deceased.
Back at the Batcave, Batman cross references the numbers on a computer. He determines that there is a connection between the numbered jackets and where the bodies are located, but cannot find what could possibly link them. He brings up detailed statistics and information on each of the victims, but fails to learn anything else. Alfred Pennyworth offers the Dark Knight some tea and suggests perhaps the same numbers were used by another killer from the past. Batman doubts this, but runs a thorough search through his criminal database anyway.
A day later, Wilma Smith is found in the aisle of a church, with the digits 640. Her husband is found a mile away in an alleyway, with the number 990.
"The Library of Souls"Edit
- Alfred Pennyworth
- The Librarian (Stanislaus Johns) (First Appearance)
- Jenny Holding (First Appearance)
- John Watkins (Only appearance)
- Officer Jacko (Only appearance)
- Mike Smith (Only appearance)
- Wilma Smith (Only appearance)
- Kenneth Lisoto (Only appearance)