"Ride the Lightning": The Batman Who Laughs introduces the concept behind the Dark Multiverse: imagine a place where worlds are born because of nightmares, originated with an already rotten core and destined to die. These are the worlds inhabiting the Dark Multive
Batman: The Red Death #1 is a one-shot with a cover date of November, 2017. It was published on September 20, 2017.
Synopsis for "Ride the Lightning"
The Batman Who Laughs introduces the concept behind the Dark Multiverse: imagine a place where worlds are born because of nightmares, originated with an already rotten core and destined to die. These are the worlds inhabiting the Dark Multiverse, worlds always hoping for life and light, but created in darkness and destined only to death. On some of these worlds, different versions of one man became something more: they became a Dark Knight. One of them, called the Red Death, was born on Earth -52...
The Flash is running away, sensing that his city is slowly falling apart, and nothing will stop it from collapsing. Following him is Batman, armed with all the weapons of the Rogues, with one clear target in mind: he wants Barry's Speed Force. In these last years, Bruce tried to be everywhere at once, and Gotham took other people from him: he lost all his family again, from Dick to Damian. He's getting older and even with all the training and experience he collected to become the Bat, he just knows it will never be enough to save everything. But if he had the Speed Force, he would be omnipresent. He tried to convince Barry to give it to him willingly, but Flash refused him one too many times.
Thanks to a Bat-Tank and Mr. Freeze's cryogenic formula, Batman is able to stop the Flash for three seconds, all the time he needs to knock him unconscious and tie him to a twisted version of Barry's Cosmic Treadmill: thanks to his invention, Batman and Barry will navigate the Hypertime together, and Batman will steal the Speed Force from Barry, creating a new being, the union of both their personas, both in body and mind. Flash tries desperately to stop Bruce, to make him reason, but there is no way to convince him. The last words of Bruce are that he should have promised his parents not to save just Gotham, but the world as a whole. Then, a new being is born, two souls in one body armed with the Speed Force.
An apocalyptic scenario is spreading around the world, and Gotham is inches away from becoming No Man's Land, with crime hitting a maximum. As the Scarecrow steps up to frighten the citizens of Gotham to death, the Red Death steps out from the shadows and, thanks to the Speed Force, rips Scarecrow in a half, killing him in the name of vengeance. The way his thinking and movement evolved thanks to the Speed Force makes him able to be everywhere, and he won't stop to reason with morals anymore. But slowly, he realizes that the world is still condemned. And the Batman who Laughs comes to him, explaining how all the worlds born in the Dark Multiverse are condemned: the remaining part of Barry's conscience tries to warn him to not listen to his alternative version, but Bruce shuts him up. The Batman who Laughs speaks to him about an opportunity: to join him and his leader, Barbatos, in a conquest against a world of the light, who will become the new home for them, the orphans of the dark.
Now. Earth-0. Central City
The Red Death attacks Central City, planning to substitute it with the Gotham of his Earth, a promise Barbatos made him. As he causes a quick aging of both Iris and Wally, Barry is saved by Doctor Fate before the Red Death kills him. As the destruction of Central City progresses, the Batman who Laughs reminds everybody that it takes one bad day. Only one bad day to make the ground crumble under your feet, and turn your life to darkness. And now that seven Dark Knights are gathered, imagine: if one bad day can kill and Earth, what will stop one bad week from killing a Multiverse?
Appearing in "Ride the Lightning"
- The Red Death (Origin)
- Batman Villains (Earth -52)
- The Flash (Earth -52) (fused with Bruce Wayne)
- The Flash (Earth 0)
- Doctor Fate (Behind the scenes)
- Iris West (Earth 0)
- Iris West (Earth -52) (First appearance) (Cameo)
- Wally West (Earth 0)
- Batman Family (Earth -52)
- Clark Kent (Earth -52) (Mentioned only)
- Doctor Victor Fries (Earth -52) (Mentioned only)
- Nora Fries (Mentioned only)
- Reverse Flash (Mentioned only)
- Rogues (Earth -52) (Mentioned only)
- Wally West (Earth -52) (Mentioned only)
- Dark Multiverse (First full appearance)
- 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, Ride the Lightning by Metallica.