- Wait. Have to fight this... have to fight the effects of the tea... fight through paranoia... hallucination... terror... and find... rage.
- — Batman
Synopsis for "Mad"
Looking on at the scene atop GCPD Headquarters, Batman ignores Alfred Pennyworth's attempts to contact him while he attempts to swallow his grief at the death of Natalya Trusevich, whom he had loved. The Mad Hatter had dropped her from a helicopter, and her body had crashed into the lens of the Bat-Signal, killing her on impact. For a moment, Bruce nearly cries, but instead, steels himself through anger, and demands of Alfred the most likely location of the Hatter's hideout.
As Batman speeds away, Alfred discovers what happened via satellite images, and hails his master with worries that Bruce is in no state of mind to face the Hatter - not after losing another loved one. Coldly, Batman snaps that if Alfred tries to stop him, he will run him down. Sighing, Alfred wishes Bruce luck.
Gritting his teeth, Batman leaps down into the Hatter's underground lair, unsurprising to find that the madman has created a kind of Wonderland for himself. Soon, he is attacked by a horde of Gothamites who have fallen under the Hatter's control thanks to the hats he sold them. They overwhelm him quickly, but spots a railing above on which to grapple, and pulls himself out of their reach. Up there, he encounters Tweedledum, who begs to be left alone. Instead, Batman subdues him and deactivates the mind-controlling device he controlled.
Elsewhere, the Hatter prepares for his inevitable encounter with the Batman by drinking psycho tea, filled with psychotic drugs. Soon, Batman catches up to him, and at the moment of their coming face to face, the Hatter blows a hallucinogenic dust into his enemy's face.
Almost immediately, Batman begins to lose grip on reality, tormented by Carrollian nightmares. He recoils when a mangled and disfigured Natalya begs to know why he didn't get to her in time - why he gave up his chance at true happiness by letting her die. In his attempt to escape her, he finds himself instead at the Monarch Theater, watching himself being taken by his mother and father to see the Mark of Zorro, only to have them transform into his hated rogues gallery. Struggling to regain control over his situation, Bruce seeks to focus all of his horror and confusion into something he is more comfortable with: rage. At the first opportunity, Batman fights back against the next nightmare, unwittingly unhinging Tweedledee's jaw.
The Hatter challenges Batman to take him on, unprepared for Batman's rage. After taking just one hit, the Hatter begins screaming for help, but receives none. Bleeding, he attempts to crawl away, only to find himself cornered again by the angry Dark Knight. Watching from the Batcave, Alfred cringes as Batman's fists pummel Jervis Tetch with attacks that will surely kill him. Even as the Hatter sobs and coughs for Batman to stop, Bruce punches him into a pool of water, knowing that if he does nothing, the unconscious Tetch will drown. Desperately, Alfred pleads with Bruce to turn around and pull him out of the water; to save him. Bruce keeps walking, and Alfred is forced to remind him that if he lets Jervis Tetch die, he will be just like those he fought to stop. Hesitating, Bruce's resolve crumbles, and he turns around to retrieve the Hatter's limp body from the water.
That night, Bruce returns home covered in blood, and assures Alfred that none of it is his. Ignoring the morbid joke, Alfred expresses relief that he didn't lose Bruce to rage, but Bruce responds that he isn't sure that he wasn't lost, after all.
One month later, Commissioner Gordon tapes the Bat-Signal back together in order to call for help with a heist at the depository.
In the Batcave, Alfred suggests that Bruce consider going through with his plan to give up being the Batman for Natalya, even though she is gone now.
Though Gordon's officers believe that Batman won't answer the call, Gordon is convinced that he must. To Alfred's disappointment, Gordon is right.
Appearing in "Mad"
- Mad Hatter
- Tweedledum and Tweedledee
- Joker (Hallucination)
- Penguin (Hallucination)
- Man-Bat (Hallucination)
- Scarecrow (Hallucination)
- Natalya Trusevich (Appears only as a corpse)
- Thomas Wayne (Hallucination)
- Martha Wayne (Hallucination)