"A Home for the Criminally Insane, Chapter Two": Under the guise of Jack Shaw, Batman has infiltrated his own house, in Arkham Manor, in the hopes of solving a double murder that occurred there recently. Sitting in a group therapy session, he is struck by
- The Matches Malone persona is invaluable for studying the gangs of Gotham. A mask to study the inmates of Arkham was long overdue.
- — Batman
Synopsis for "A Home for the Criminally Insane, Chapter Two"
Under the guise of Jack Shaw, Batman has infiltrated his own house, in Arkham Manor, in the hopes of solving a double murder that occurred there recently. Sitting in a group therapy session, he is struck by the story of a young man named Seth Wickham who was given up by his parents when his mental condition made him violent. He was later trapped amid the debris of Arkham Asylum for days, causing a fear of falling, amongst other things. The other inmates are, unsympathetic, turning their attention instead to Jack Shaw, and trying to pry a story of his encounter with Batman out of him - as all Arkham inmates have one. The session is cut short however, by news that mass murderer Victor Zsasz has gone missing.
Afterwards, Shaw is put to work on "occupational therapy" - which means painting the manor's walls. Bruce must admit that he enjoys being Shaw to an extent, having never had a persona he could assume in order to study the inmates of Arkham until now. As he paints, he spots Eric Border pushing the wheelchair of a John Doe inmate, and asks what the man has been incarcerated for. Border responds that he doesn't know - only that he was found wandering within the subway system without any ID. Border leaves the man with him for a moment, and Bruce takes a closer look at him, with a strong guess at who the man really is forming in his mind. If that guess is right, everyone in the manor is at risk. Worriedly, he tries to think of a way to warn the asylum's staff without blowing his own cover.
As he makes his way to his father's old study, now Dr. Arkham's office, Bruce admits to himself that he doesn't regret the decision to allow Arkham to move into his home - but the place may not be as well equipped to handle that task as he thought. Poor Sybil Silverlock, for example, is in a coma now, but if she wakes up, her alter ego "Calamity" could burn the manor down. Reaching the study, he uses the phone to contact Eric Border - his man on the inside - to warn about the mute, unidentified inmate as Batman. Nervously, Border listens as Batman tells him his suspicions about the man. Once he knows Border is looking into it, Bruce returns to his cell, intent on escaping that night and beginning the search for Zsasz.
Once in his cell, Bruce looks out across the courtyard to the window of Seth Wickham, who is being restrained for the evening. While picking the lock of his own cell, in his attempt to escape, Bruce hears a strange noise, and looks to his window again, only to see that Seth has been become victim to the killer. Hurriedly, Bruce rushes out of his cell, bowling over the guards in the hall and stealing their keys on his way to Seth's cell. He finds that the young man has been bound, gagged, and a power drill was run through his skull - but somehow, still alive. In the cell, Bruce can still smell blood, urine, sweat and sawdust, and he suspects the killer is still in the room with him. When he catches a whiff of turpentine, he instinctively closes his eyes to prevent his being blinded by a spray of it coming at his face. Fighting blind, he expects the killer to run, but hears him picking up the drill to finish the job on Seth. Angrily, Bruce sweeps his leg, dropping the assailant to the floor, assuming that it must be Zsasz.
Before he can unmask the killer, Bruce takes a club to the head from one of the guards, who is only stopped from hitting him again by Eric Border. Bruce tries to warn him that the killer is still in the room, but Border inspects and finds nothing but Seth's body. The killer has escaped into the shadows.
Appearing in "A Home for the Criminally Insane, Chapter Two"
- Victor Fries
- Jonathan Crane
- Jervis Tetch
- Sybil Silverlock (First appearance)
- Victor Zsasz (Mentioned only)
- This issue is reprinted in Arkham Manor.