""Master of the Future"": Eleven months after the events of Gotham by Gaslight, Bruce Wayne has retired the cape and cowl of the Batman. However, there are some people who long for the vigilante in protecting the city again. Bruce's fiancé Julie Madison, who runs Gotham City's Orphan Rel
Batman: Master of the Future is a one-shot with a cover date of February, 1992.
Synopsis for "Master of the Future"
Eleven months after the events of Gotham by Gaslight, Bruce Wayne has retired the cape and cowl of the Batman. However, there are some people who long for the vigilante in protecting the city again. Bruce's fiancé Julie Madison, who runs Gotham City's Orphan Relief Fund, was saved by Batman from a group of thugs. James Gordon, who is now a police commissioner after his predecessor Tolliver became mayor of the city, is displeased of Tolliver spending the city's budget on the upcoming twentieth century exposition while the city is in an economic crisis, and is worried that this would attract the worst of criminals from across the country, meaning that he will have to stretch the police force's capacity without the help of the Batman.
At Gotham's city council, Tolliver dismisses Buffalo Bill Cody for incorporating his rodeo into the exposition based on the fact that it is dedicated to celebrating the future rather than what the mayor deemed as archaic. He also overrules councilman Rupert Thorne, who is also concerned of the large revenue being spent on the exposition. Tolliver assures Thorne that the exposition will bring in revenue. The council is then suddenly interrupted by a man named Alexandre LeRoi, an air pirate and self-proclaimed "Master of the Future", who criticizes Tolliver and everyone for being too optimistic for the future and state that the forthcoming industrial technology will only pollute the world. He then warns everyone that he will destroy Gotham "with the fire of the sun" unless they cease the city's celebrations. Tolliver is skeptical of LeRoi's threats before calling for the man's arrest. But the air pirate jumps out the room's window from the ninth floor and suddenly disappears when the policemen look out the window. Unhindered, Tolliver insist on continuing the exposition.
During dinner with Julie Madison, Bruce talks to her of everything that has happened in the city council. Julie discusses with Bruce that with maniacs such as LeRoi keep appearing, Batman maybe Gotham's only hope.
Meanwhile, LeRoi consults with an unknown benefactor who made an deal with the air pirate. The benefactor questions him as to why he is doing this. LeRoi replies that mankind have taken upon itself to recklessly sacrifice all their resources for "machines of convenience" and that the only way to "teach" them is to destroy them. After announcing to his benefactor his plan, which involved an imported solar panel lens, LeRoi then departs on his airship.
Sometime later at the exposition fairgrounds, Bruce arrives late to Tolliver's planning committee, which includes Rupert Thorne and James Gordon. As Tolliver and his committee tour the fairground they are then attacked by a self-mechanized machine gun. Bruce quickly saves Tolliver's life and cripples the machine gun by throwing an iron pipe at it. While examining the machine's wreckage, Thorne discovers a warning letter written by LeRoi which states that the city will "burn". Tolliver, still unfazed by the warning, insists that the celebrations must go on. Gordon confides with Bruce that he strongly believe that extra police force wouldn't be enough to stop LeRoi and that only the Batman could stop him.
At Wayne Manor, Bruce enters the batcave. Alfred Pennyworth enters the cave and discovers Bruce has return to becoming the Batman.
On the opening day of the exposition, LeRoi proceed with his operation. He invades Tolliver's residence and abducts the mayor at gunpoint, and bringing him on his airship, the Bird of Prey. From here, LeRoi escorts Tolliver aboard his airship and introduces the ship's robot pilot, Antonio. At the fair, many of the guests including Thorne, Claypool and Bruce Wayne impatiently await Tollivers arrival. Bruce then hears a buzzing sound. High above the fair, LeRoi monitors the exposition and shows a distraught Tolliver how he will destroy the fair and the city: by using a special solar-powered ray gun. On the ground, everyone already witnessed LeRoi's airship. Bruce finds Julie and both know that something terrible is about to happen. LeRoi then fires his weapon, which sets a pavilion on fire. Tolliver begs LeRoi to spare the city, but LeRoi ignores him and throws him out of his airship, sending Tolliver to his death when he crashes through a ceiling window.
Bruce uses a displayed hang glider to reach the airship. He is then approached by Alfred who provides him the batsuit. LeRoi's devastation has reach the slum district and forces Commissioner Gordon to direct the rescue efforts. Batman saves Julie and a girl that the former was trying to save from a burning building. After saving them, Batman uses the hang glider and flies from a gondola tower as the rising heat from the fires helps him to reach the airship. LeRoi spots Batman and tries to ascend away from him but only to be boarded by the hero. After accidentally destroying Antonio by pushing LeRoi into him, Batman and LeRoi take the fight to the airship's hull. The two are equally matched, but the ruined robot pilot overloads the airship's engines causing the vessel to fall. Batman escapes while LeRoi plummets to his death as the airship crashes into Gotham's bay.
In the aftermath of LeRoi's devastation, the fire were only contained to the areas first struck and 133 people were killed, including Tolliver. At city hall, Batman confronts Franklyn Claypool and reveals that he has known that Claypool has been LeRoi's secret benefactor. After investigating the slum district that was deliberately destroyed by LeRoi, Batman knew that Claypool had owned those districts. It is then revealed that Claypool had been planning to sell the now-higher valued properties once LeRoi's work was done in destroying the fair that had been jeopardizing his plan. But Claypool was genuinely regretful of the loss of lives he had caused for conspiring with LeRoi before being arrested by Commissioner Gordon.
Sometime later, Bruce takes Julie to the outskirts of city to reflect over everything that has happened. Julie surprisingly informs Bruce that she knows he is the Batman. She explains that after being rescued from the fire, she clearly recognized Batman through his eyes. Julie assures Bruce that his secret is kept safe and promise that she will support his cause. The two kiss. In the end, Batman continues to watch over Gotham.
Appearing in "Master of the Future"
- Alfred Pennyworth
- James Gordon
- Julie Madison (First appearance)
- Rupert Thorne (First appearance)
- Franklyn Claypool
- Tolliver (Dies)
- Alexandre LeRoi (First appearance; dies)
- Gotham City Police Department
- Thomas Edison (Cameo)
- Antonio Diavolo (Robot)
- Buffalo Bill Cody
- Bird of Prey
- Sequel to Batman: Gotham by Gaslight
- This issue is reprinted in Batman: Gotham by Gaslight and Batman: Gotham by Gaslight Deluxe Edition.
- This graphic novel borrows several elements from the novel "Master of the World" by Jules Verne.
- Many of the scenes and locales in the story are modeled after early 20th century San Francisco, such as Gotham's exposition being resembled to the Panama-Pacific International Exposition and the aftermath of LeRoi's devastation is similar to the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.