"Wrath Child": The Dark Multiverse. Earth -12
Batman: The Merciless #1 is a one-shot with a cover date of December, 2017. It was published on October 25, 2017.
Synopsis for "Wrath Child"
The Dark Multiverse. Earth -12
On Earth -12, Ares reforged his helmet to make his power become a hundred times bigger. A conflict spanning two years and killing most of humanity spread out, with Batman and Wonder Woman, lovers, leading the resistance against the Olympian. As they reached him for the final confrontation, Ares killed Diana in front of Bruce, and so he decided to do something dangerous: he took Ares' helmet and put it on, becoming the new God of War. Even if Diana told him the helmet's power would corrupt him, he now could tell her she was wrong.
The helmet never corrupted him, but made him see how futile and naive was his idea of fighting a just war, showing mercy to his enemies. He realizes there is no war between good and bad, but just the survival of the fittest. And so he started to stop showing mercy, becoming thus the Merciless, a God of War without restraint against anybody that tried to wrong him. At last, when he was ready to kill all the Olympians, Bruce was visited by a bizarre figure, called the Batman Who Laughs.
This man explained to him that he was fighting the war in the right way, but for an impossible victory: his world, just like all the worlds of the Dark Multiverse, was condemned since the beginning. Another Multiverse exists, a Multiverse of light, and there people can hope, and can fight for what they desire. In there, there is a chance to win, and that's where the Dark Knights are going. Bruce decides to follow the Batman who Laughs, as after all he has got nothing to lose.
The Multiverse. Earth-0. Washington D.C.
As several american cities are in crisis due to the attack of the Dark Knights, the heads of the principal security agencies of the country gathered to decide what to do. General Lane is pushing to grant permission to fire Valhalla, but Steve Trevor wants him to calm down, as the death of millions must not be the only solution they can think about to resolve the problem. In that moment, the Merciless gets there, amused by the vision of these so called warriors trying to play at war. They don't know what war is, not like him: he fought since that terrible night, when death took his parents. And then, he never stopped once. The Merciless starts destroying the city around him, when Lane commands Valhalla to be fired on Washington itself, even if Trevor tried to stop him. But they cannot know how powerful the Merciless is.
Thanks to the powers of the Helmet of Ares, he is able to absorb the explosion unto himself, becoming even stronger. Then, thanks to his godly presence, he makes all the fake warriors there his loyal servants. All but one, Steve Trevor, who reminds the Merciless of himself before he found out how faulty his idea of a just war was. As he prepares to kill Steve, Merciless remembers of how he killed Diana, after he discovered Ares just made her lose her senses. She tried to take the Helmet from him, and she had to pay.
Wars are not won with mercy: those who fight with compassion and morality will lose, and so will this world. It will fall to Barbatos.
Appearing in "Wrath Child"
- Batman: The Merciless (Flashback and main story) (Origin)
- Barbatos (Flashback only)
- Dark Knights
- Ares (Earth -12) (Dies in flashback)
- The Machine
- Alfred Pennyworth (In picture only)
- Amazons (Earth -12) (All die in flashback)
- Batman Family (In picture only)
- Cowgirl (First appearance)
- Court of Owls (Flashback only)
- Duke Thomas (On a TV or computer screen)
- The Joker (In picture only)
- Julie Madison (In picture only)
- Justice League (Earth -12)
- Robins (Earth -22)
- Superman (Earth 0) (Flashback only)
- Tom Kalmaku
- Wonder Woman (Earth 0) (Flashback only)
- Steve Trevor (Earth -12) (Mentioned only) (Deceased)
- Elvis (Mentioned only)
- Dark Multiverse
- The title of this issue, like all the titles of the Dark Knights tie-ins (with the exception of The Batman Who Laughs Vol 1 1), is titled after a popular metal song. In this case, Wrathchild by Iron Maiden.