"The Madness": Late at night, Batman meets with Commissioner Gordon at the West Harlow subway station, which has become a crime scene. Gordon warns that this case is out of the ordinary - even for Gotham City. Down in the subway tunnel,
- Is he right about Gotham? Is it the city that brings out the beast in people, or is it always there... waiting for the right origin story to set it free?
- — Batman
Synopsis for "The Madness"
Late at night, Batman meets with Commissioner Gordon at the West Harlow subway station, which has become a crime scene. Gordon warns that this case is out of the ordinary - even for Gotham City. Down in the subway tunnel, the train car waits, but as Batman soon discovers, all of its passengers are dead, having apparently murdered each other.
Batman knows that the West Harlow station is nearly 100 years old, and has many disused tunnels and passages. He suspects that something within the tunnel had an effect on the train passengers that caused them to attack each other as they did. If this is the case, he needs to find whatever that thing is before it happens again.
At Gotham City Police Department, Commissioner Gordon is annoyed once again by the presence of Lt. Forbes of Internal Affairs, who is highly suspicious of Gordon's relationship with the Batman. This time, Forbes has received approval from the Mayor to have Gordon undergo psychological evaluation. The thought of having to see a psychiatrist is anathema to Jim.
In the depths of West Harlow station, Batman soon finds a hidden tunnel which has been blasted open by someone. He feels a rumbling, and assumes that it's a train going by, but as it turns out, it is the clumsy movements of Tweedledum and Tweedledee - the cousins Dumpson and Deever Tweed. Batman notices that they seem to be fueled more by rage than usual. The thugs try to run away, but Batman knows that following them might lead to who or whatever caused the passengers on the train to attack each other.
Over the comm-link, Alfred points out that if Tweedledum and Tweedledee are also affected by whatever this is, then it may not be long before the rest of the city falls victim to it. As he says this, a Senator Toomey takes the podium, expected to announce his candidacy for the presidency. However, as he makes the announcement, he takes out a gun and shoots himself in the head on live television.
Meanwhile, Jim Gordon attends his first psychiatric appointment. Dr. Prescott encourages him to be open, as there can be no harm in unburdening himself, given all of his responsibilities. Frustrated, he complains of how his ex-wife has come back to town, his daughter's recovery from her injuries seem to have been healed before he could process his grief, and his son is a committed serial killer at Arkham Asylum. Prescott promises that their meetings will be confidential. Staring out the window, Jim warns that if Prescott takes the subway to work, she should stop.
With Tweedledum and Tweedledee having escaped by blowing up the tunnel, Batman flies over the city and reports back to Alfred that he had caught a brief signal from a radio frequency. Alfred uses the frequency to triangulate its broadcast source, and relays the information to Gordon while Batman investigates.
Batman discovers that the Tweeds have partnered with The Mad Hatter. As he makes his attack, the antenna they were using begins broadcasting its signal again, and even Batman is affected. His disorientation allows Dum and Dee to grab him. The Hatter exclaims that his experiment has already shown that Gotham's people are weak and easily given to their worst demons - if the right buttons are pushed. Batman wonders if there really is something about the city that brings out the worst, or if there is a capacity within everyone to become the beast.
Gordon arrives in a GCPD chopper, and the Hatter aims his antenna at the helicopter. The signal affects the pilot such that he loses control. Batman quickly throws Tweedledee at his cousin and the antenna, short-circuiting it. Angrily, the Hatter prepares to fire his weapon at the chopper, but Batman knocks him off the roof of the building.
From the chopper, Gordon asks whether Batman is okay. He doesn't answer, but they exchange a glance which says that for now, they are both okay. At least, they are as okay as anyone in Gotham can be.
Appearing in "The Madness"
- Lieutenant Jack Forbes
- Senator Toomey (Dies)
- Dr. Prescott
- Barbara Gordon Sr. (Mentioned only)
- Barbara Gordon Jr. (Mentioned only)
- James Gordon Jr. (Mentioned only)
- Batman Recommended Reading
- Batman (Volume 1)
- Batman (Volume 2)
- Batman (Volume 3)
- Batman and Robin (Volume 1)
- Batman and Robin (Volume 2)
- Batman Confidential (Volume 1)
- Batman: Gotham Knights (Volume 1)
- Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight (Volume 1)
- Batman: Shadow of the Bat (Volume 1)
- Batman: Streets of Gotham (Volume 1)
- Batman Incorporated (Volume 1)
- Batman Incorporated (Volume 2)
- Batman/Superman (Volume 1)
- Batman/Superman (Volume 2)
- Batman/Superman: World's Finest (Volume 1)
- Batman: The Dark Knight (Volume 1)
- Batman: The Dark Knight (Volume 2)
- The Brave and the Bold (Volume 1)
- Detective Comics (Volume 1)
- Detective Comics (Volume 2)
- Superman/Batman (Volume 1)
- World's Finest (Volume 1)