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Dick Grayson continues to protect Gotham City as the new Batman even after Bruce Wayne has returned and started Batman Incorporated. Grayson struggles to make the identity his own, as he still does not feel comfortable living in

The Black Mirror is a Batman storyline featuring Dick Grayson, written by Scott Snyder with illustrations by Jock and Francesco Francavilla. Following the Impostors storyline by David Hine, it's the final arc in the original run of Detective Comics before the series was rebooted into a second volume with Faces of Death during The New 52. It begins the Snyder's Batman run which is continued into Gates of Gotham and The Court of Owls.

This storyline deals with the return of James Gordon Jr. after a long hiatus, reintroducing him into publication as a remorseless killer. His cold psychopathic tendencies are a sort of black mirror of the soul that Dick Grayson sees himself reflected in, they're completely at odds as the son of Batman and the son of Gotham. Snyder also introduces several new characters including The Dealer, Roadrunner, Sonia Zucco and Tiger Shark.


The Black Mirror

Dick Grayson continues to protect Gotham City as the new Batman even after Bruce Wayne has returned and started Batman Incorporated. Grayson struggles to make the identity his own, as he still does not feel comfortable living in the Wayne Tower penthouse like Bruce. Commissioner Gordon approaches Wayne Enterprises to use their state-of-the-art crime lab built for the GCPD, which has gone unused out of spite from the department. They investigate several murders and track down two officers who have sold equipment from the super-villain evidence locker to a mysterious man known as the Dealer.[1] Batman infiltrates the Mirror House with Oracle's help, a moving location the Dealer uses to hold his macabre auctions. The members of this wealthy cult are required to wear gas masks to hide their identities, and Dick sneaks in wearing one of these. The Dealer outs him immediately and reveals that he's sabotaged the gas mask, commanding his followers to tear Batman apart while he's subjected to hallucinogenic nerve gas.[2] Fighting his way through the violent illusions, Batman escapes the building and makes it to a hospital. Oracle helps him track down the Dealer escaping on a plane, and he uses a high-tech flying Batsuit to attack it in the air. Throwing the Dealer's prized super-villain artifacts overboard, he fights the Dealer who has taken Man-Bat serum. Dick successfully defeats this monster, although the plane explodes and crashes into the harbor where no body is recovered. Back in Wayne Tower, Alfred finally helps him move some personal items into his new home while Dick reflects on how much darker Gotham City has become.[3]

Skeleton Cases

James Gordon, Jr. returns to Gotham City after many years. Harvey Bullock alerts Commissioner Gordon that his son has come back when they suspect him of freeing every bird in the city's Aviary. The Commissioner finds a bloody bird eating a rat in his apartment when he arrives home, unaware that his son is secretly watching him.[1] When he goes to warn Barbara that James, Jr. is back she reminds him that his son is a remorseless killer and he needs to be careful. She leaves the restaurant they're meeting at, and James, Jr. sits down in her place to confront his father.[2] James, Jr. insists to his father that he has never murdered anyone but has recently been diagnosed as a psychopath, and is taking medication. He is applying for a job at Leslie Thompkins' clinic to help other psychopaths and asks his father to put in a good word for him. Batman and Red Robin take down the bird poachers responsible for the aviary, although the Dealer's hallucinogenics are still in Batman's system. They take these thugs down successfully, but Batman suspects the men are working for a new criminal they've never seen before.[4]

Lost Boys

Jim Gordon hunts down a man named Roy Blount he believes to be the Peter Pan Killer, a child murderer he chased in his early days. Still dealing with his son's return, he remembers the day James Jr. was accused of murdering a girl named Bess Keller. Bess had been one of Barbara's friends, and she disappeared in the woods while they were on vacation. Barbara claims to have seen James Jr. carrying Bess' keychain but this was never proven. When Gordon finally takes down Blount, Blount implies that he murdered Keller in an act of revenge. Batman appears to take care of the criminal, and confirms that James Jr. was also not responsible for the birds being released.[5]

Hungry City

Commissioner Gordon uses the Wayne crime labs again when a dead killer whale is found in the middle of a large Gotham bank run by Tony Zucco's daughter Sonia Zucco. There is a dead woman inside the whale, and Batman visits Sonia to investigate the death of her friend. She is a decent woman who seems terrified, and Batman tracks her problems down to a weapons smuggler named Bixby Rhodes. This man is a super-villain calling himself the Roadrunner, and he traps Batman in a car-crusher.[6] Batman takes down Roadrunner and drags him into police headquarters, where he meets with the Commissioner again. Sonia Zucco arrives to explain that she's been targeted by Roadrunner and another super-villain named Tiger Shark as she refuses to let them launder money in her bank. Batman investigates Tiger Shark and finds a complicated hidden aquarium holding several other whales.[7] He's captured and held above the killer whale tank, eventually managing to break free but not before Tiger Shark escapes. Having escaped from the bottom of the ocean, he returns to Sonia Zucco and accuses her of manipulating him. Tiger Shark was able to get away with murdering her friend because Sonia tricked Batman into eliminating her other enemies first. James Jr. has a successful meeting with Grayson, but afterwards it's revealed that he's still actively torturing people as a psychopath.[8]

Skeleton Key

Commissioner Gordon doesn't trust his son, so he has Barbara Gordon run tests on James Jr.'s anti-psychotic medication. It turns out that he's inverted the formula to increase psychotic tendencies. They believe he's going to use his connections with Leslie Thompkins to infect an infant nutrition center, turning hundreds of babies into young sociopaths. The Commissioner runs to James Jr.'s home to try and catch him, but instead he finds a box containing the keys of everyone he's ever killed... this includes Bess Keller's keychain on top of the pile. Elsewhere the Joker escapes from Arkham Asylum and begins his next murder spree.[9]

My Dark Architect

Commissioner Gordon's ex-wife Barbara Eileen is attacked in her hotel room by Joker Venom, and placed into critical care. Batman tracks the Joker down to a buried underground church in hopes of taking him in, but is ambushed. Joker explains that he wished to hide underground until his true Batman returned to Gotham City, and savagely attacks Grayson in his stead for bothering him. When he's defeated, he insists that he's not the one who attacked Barbara. Oracle has been tracking down James Jr. this entire time and believes she has finally found him, although he appears in her room and begins strangling her.[10]

The Face in the Glass

James Jr. kidnaps Barbara Gordon to murder her in a secluded location. While Batman is desperately hunting her down, James Jr. calls Dick to reveal he's deduced his secret identity. Having participated in clinical drug trials, he began to believe that being a psychopath made him stronger and empathy is a weakness. His mission has been to mentally destroy Dick Grayson, as the "weakest man in Gotham" with the most empathy he's ever seen. James Jr. seeks to destroy Dick's empathy by showing him the errors of his weakness, and create a stronger generation by turning infants into psychopaths. He even admits having worked for the Dealer and dragged Dick to safety so he wouldn't be killed. Barbara manages to stab James in the eye with a knife, but it doesn't stop him. Batman bursts through the window to rescue Barbara and reveals that he injected a tracer into James during their first meeting earlier. James runs outside to escape, but his father shoots him in the legs and then stops him from jumping off a bridge. Later Dick and the Commissioner speak privately about their struggles, and the way Gotham's brutality makes their work even more necessary. They wonder if they truly stopped James Jr. from poisoning the nutrition facility, and the look in a baby's eyes down in the streets implies that they might not have.[11]


Recommended Reading

Links and References

Batman Blind Justice TP
Batman Family Storyline
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