"In the Shadow": Having been thrown by Abraham Langstrom, Batman is falling to an inevitable death, far from the Batplane's reach. In a desperate effort, he fires two grappling ropes from his gauntlets in either direction, hoping t
- You know as long as I sit behind that desk, I'm bound by the law. You, on the other hand, you're a vigilante. So... start vigilante-ing.
Appearing in "In the Shadow"
Synopsis for "In the Shadow"
Having been thrown by Abraham Langstrom, Batman is falling to an inevitable death, far from the Batplane's reach. In a desperate effort, he fires two grappling ropes from his gauntlets in either direction, hoping that the purchase of the buildings on his sides will hold him aloft without ripping the arms from his body. Fortunately, his life is saved, but his body is painfully strained, requiring medical attention in the Batcave, later.
As Alfred tends to his wounds, Bruce utters an "ouch," prompting his friend to gleefully jibe that they ought to call the press about it. Bruce, of course, doesn't find it funny, and leaves for a meeting with Jim Gordon at the precinct. Unfortunately, Jim reminds that his department is powerless to do anything about Abraham Langstrom's murderous ventures as a Man-Bat without any evidence. Batman, though, he reminds, is free to do the things that he cannot; unbound by the law.
Soon, Batman has invaded Abraham Langstrom's home, warning that he knows about the man's use of Man-Bat Serum. Langstrom knows that if there were any evidence against him, the police would have come instead, and so Batman is powerless. Gritting his teeth, Batman warns that when Langstrom slips, he will be there, by whatever means. Langstrom responds that he never slips.
Hoping to incriminate Langstrom, Batman asks, hypothetically, why he would target the homeless for his murders. Langstrom responds, hypothetically, that the Man-Bat is targeting those who take a toll on society by failing to contribute; those who won't be missed. Batman, thinking all this time of how he managed to pull the data from Langstrom's car's GPS system and found that he'd passed by a homeless shelter several times, warns that he misses these victims as he leaves.
Later, he stops at Langstrom's son Kirk's lab, begging the doctor's help in finding away to administer the antidote to the serum that can penetrate the tough bat's skin. Kirk admits that he isn't sure if he can help there, as his father has taken the serum beyond anything that he ever did - just like most other things. His father had always thought of him as a failure. Reassuringly, Batman reminds of the altruistic move Kirk had made to save the 900 Block, and explains that seeing Kirk do that had taught him something he might be able to use to stop Abraham Langstrom.
That night, Abraham injects himself with his serum, and flies toward Gotham City and the homeless shelter. Batman, however, is already staking the place out when Langstrom attacks. Disguised as a vagrant himself, Batman ushers the potential victims out through the cafeteria doors, knowing the Man-Bat won't be able to fit through them. Batman is aware that not everyone will make it to safety, and he's counting on him being one of those left behind.
Soon, Langstrom targets him, and Batman allows the beast's fangs to penetrate his armour. While a needle couldn't penetrate Langstrom's skin, the Man-Bat's fangs could penetrate his, so he had injected himself with the antidote. Still Langstrom is powerful, and Bruce feels himself bleeding out and losing consciousness, struggling to hold on to consciousness long enough to ensure that Langstrom's transformation is reversed. Finally, Langstrom drops to his knees, returned to his former self, and Batman struggles to his feet, binding his prey with ropes as the GCPD's sirens approach.
Eventually, Langstrom is tried in court, and gets off by reason of temporary insanity. Outside the courthouse, he incredulously tells reporters that he has no explanation as to how the serum got into his bloodstream, and that he fears no suits against him from the homeless who were his victims. Grinning, he explains that there is no way to assign worth to people who don't even contribute to society. In response, the homeless daughter of one of his victims reminds him that he murdered her father, and he is silenced.
While Abraham Langstrom's cutthroat business methods will never change, as he seeks new opportunities to win capital by watching the city for vulnerabilities, he cannot help but feel the city staring back in the form of the Batman.
- This book was first published on March 26, 2014.
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