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"Detective No. 27": Act One

Batman: Detective No. 27 is a one-shot with a cover date of December, 2003. It was published on October 19, 2003.

Synopsis for "Detective No. 27"

Act One
In April of 1865, after ignoring Allan Pinkerton's warning, Abraham Lincoln went to Ford Theatre, where he was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth. In 1929, the Wayne Family walked past a boy advertising a newspaper that mentioned Henry Ford's purchase of Lincoln's chair, moments before Thomas and Martha were gunned down by Joe Chill and Jack Napier, leaving Bruce orphaned. Afterwards, Alfred sent Bruce to study in various private schools throughout Europe and Asia, beginning with one in Oxford.

In Georgetown, in April of 1865, Professor Josiah Carr of the Knights of the Golden Circle learned that Lincoln was dead before the group began plotting against the North. On New Year's Day, in 1939, Bruce returned to Gotham and learned that Alfred had become a doctor.

In 1865, Pinkerton, with the help of his son William and Kate Warne, foiled Carr and the Knights, although he committed suicide and declared that his plans would succeed in 74 years. In July of 1884, the three detectives visited New York City and recruited Theodore Roosevelt as Detective #4. In May of 1939, Bruce considered setting up a crime lab inside of a cave, as well as following Teddy Roosevelt's advice after learning that the Crimson Avenger had exposed a nest of Fifth Columnists.

In 1884, Pinkerton, Roosevelt, and Mendel were attacked by a "Mister Hyde" before the three dined at Delmonico's and discussed how the priest's research would allow the Knights to poison people. At Delmonico's both the priest and Chef Charles Delmonico were poisoned by the Knights. In 1939, after meeting Lee Travis, Bruce learned of the Secret Society of Detectives and joined them after the former (Detective #26) convinced him.

Act Two
Bruce researched the Knights of the Golden Circle, as well as the plant they intended to use for poison, before briefly encountering Robin's Hoods and convincing them to work for him against his enemy. On Saturday night, Bruce and Alfred attended a medical convention at the Vanderitz Hotel in an attempt to meet Dr. Hugo Strange before the younger detective confronted Catwoman after she had robbed other attendees. Afterwards, Strange led Bruce to the Knights before the detective beat them up with the help of Robin's Hoods, who renamed themselves the Boy Commandos.

After learning that Strange, who fled the earlier fight, was operating from the Gotham City Medical School, so Bruce infiltrated a building before he was drugged by Strange and incarcerated him, although it didn't take him long to break out. Afterwards, Bruce and Alfred deduced that the Knights would strike on July 4th at the Yankee Doodle Stadium.

Act Three
On Independence Day, Bruce and Alfred attended a baseball game, where the former spotted a woman disguised as an umpire and tackled her before learning that she was Selina Kyle and convincing her to later help the Detectives (hiding in plain sight) fight the Knights (who were also hiding in plain sight). After the game, Babe Ruth nicknamed Bruce "Bat-Man" before Selina kissed the latter and Alfred was wounded by Joe Chill and Jack Napier.

Afterwards, Bruce visited Sigmund Freud at the Astor Hotel in New York, while Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia introduced President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Superman at the National Cash Register, where Bruce rushed to confront Strange and Crane, who contained toxins inside of a bank vault. Bruce demanded that the two tell him why they ordered Chill and Napier to kill his parents before Thomas, who was actually still alive, shot him and revealed that he arranged his own "murder" (but killing Martha in the process) and that he was the head of the Knights. Bruce fought his father, who died after falling off of a ledge before he could attempt to drug FDR with a box full of spores.

After his father's death, Bruce shook hands with FDR before walking away with Alfred.

Appearing in "Detective No. 27"

Featured Characters:

  • Bruce Wayne

Supporting Characters:

  • Boy Commandos
    • Robin
  • Catwoman
  • Secret Society of Detectives
  • Superman


  • Knights of the Golden Circle
    • Hugo Strange (Dies)
    • Jack Napier
    • Joe Chill
    • John Wilkes Booth (Dies)
    • Jonathan Crane (Dies)
    • Josiah Carr (Dies)
    • Mister Hyde
    • Thomas Wayne (Dies)

Other Characters:




  • S.S. Mauritania
  • The Pennsylvania Limited
  • The Celtic


  • Detective No. 27 is an Elseworlds story retelling the Batman mythos. Bruce Wayne never becomes the caped crusader, instead joining a conspiracy known as the Secret Society of Detectives formed by Allan Pinkerton to fight the Knights of the Golden Circle shortly after the Civil War. The society consists entirely of top operatives worldwide, each receiving the designation Detective and a number in chronological order, with Wayne being #27. The story is told through Wayne's adventures starting in the year 1939 and flashbacks to the society's inception and earliest adventures.
  • The story's title is an obvious homage to Batman's first appearance in Detective Comics #27.
    • Babe Ruth responds to Wayne introducing himself as Detective #27 by pointing to his jersey number and suggesting that Bruce call him All Star #3. This is a reference to All-Star Comics #3, the first appearance of the Justice Society of America.
  • Secret Society of Detectives
    • Detective #1 -- Allan Pinkerton
    • Detective #2 -- Kate Warne
    • Detective #3 -- William Pinkerton
    • Detective #4 -- Theodore Roosevelt
    • Detective #25 -- Alfred Pennyworth
    • Detective #26 -- Crimson Avenger
    • Detective #27 -- Bruce Wayne


  • Theodore Roosevelt's quote, "speak softly and carry a big stick" is referenced on Page 21, which takes place prior to his presidency.
  • On Page 32, Bruce calls criminals a "superstitious, cowardly lot."
  • On Page 35, Bruce calls the Secret Society a "Justice Society."
  • On Page 92, FDR references his "Fear, itself" quote when meeting Bruce.

See Also

Recommended Reading

Links and References

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This comic issue, event, or limited series takes place in its own separate continuity as an Elseworlds story; although it may exist within a larger Elseworlds continuity as part of its series. This includes both titles with the Elseworlds Logo, and titles retroactively declared as Elseworlds Stories.
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