"Madhouse": Wayne Manor has been restored to its former glory, after a brief stint as home to Arkham Asylum's patients, but Bruce Wayne, no longer feels like it's his home. His memory of living there is lost to him, and now it feels like it is the property of a m

Quote1.png So the rumors were true... Mister Wayne has lost his mind! Quote2.png
The Riddler

Batman Annual (Volume 2) #4 is an issue of the series Batman Annual (Volume 2) with a cover date of November, 2015. It was published on September 30, 2015.

Synopsis for "Madhouse"

Wayne Manor has been restored to its former glory, after a brief stint as home to Arkham Asylum's patients, but Bruce Wayne, no longer feels like it's his home. His memory of living there is lost to him, and now it feels like it is the property of a man he isn't. Accompanied by his friend Julie Madison, he has come to decide the manor's fate, given that ownership returns to him at midnight. They are greeted by Alfred Pennyworth, who embraces Julie, welcoming her. She is amused by how much it is like it was when she was there as a girl. Alfred suggests heavily that he if she and Bruce are to be a couple, they might one day think to move back there, and get married. Knowing he's got ahead of himself, he turns his attention to Bruce, who is obviously uncomfortable looking at a portrait of himself - but not as he knows himself now.

They are interrupted by Geri Powers, who leads Bruce away, explaining that it was she who bought most of Wayne Enterprises' assets. She admits readily that those assets are paying off - particularly the rights to Batman. She had no use for an asylum, though. For that reason, she made a decision that angered her investors - she is gifting the manor back to Bruce. Bruce himself, though, isn't very enthusiastic about it. Knowing what the house contains - even if Bruce has forgotten - Alfred insists that the house staying in the family is a great priority.

Geri leads them all into an office, where she's keeping the necessary paperwork to sign, when Alfred realizes that this room is meant to be much bigger than it is. To their surprise, Clayface reveals that he has been posing as a wall in the Manor all this time, in order to escape incarceration. Behind that wall stand Mister Freeze and The Riddler as well - and they have created a blackout zone so that Geri can't call the so-called Bat-Bot for help. Clayface captures and drags all away except Bruce, leaving him at the mercy of the madmen.

The Riddler explains that he likes questions, and he has just one for Bruce: "What are you?" He adds that there will be clues to finding that answer over the course of the evening, but first, he has Mister Freeze lead Bruce away. Suddenly, Alfred rushes out with a shotgun and knocks Freeze off his feet, urging Bruce to follow. He leads Bruce to a room at the end of a tunnel, explaining that this was where he stashed Thomas Wayne's old hunting rifles. Bruce reminds that he wouldn't know how to use one of those guns if he had one. He suggests that they instead focus on finding whatever is jamming Geri's communications link with Batman, wondering what these madmen would want with him. Alfred tries to explain that the only reason is that his wealth and prominence have always attracted undesirables - hence why he built the tunnel system and various other security measures. Among those measures was devising a chandelier that collapses with an electrical charge when the word "Conasta" is spoken. Alfred endeavours with difficulty to keep the real reason for all of these efforts from his ward. Unsure of what else he can do, Alfred passes Bruce a gun and suggests he at least hit one of them with it.

Unfortunately, the room begins to grow colder, and they know that Freeze has found them. He explains that while he wants to kill Bruce for what he did to him, he wouldn't understand the reason. That is what tonight is about: helping Bruce to understand. He shows Bruce an ice-sculpture of his parents, at the moment of their deaths. It was that moment that started Bruce's life. Despite the troubling image, Bruce insists that this isn't his story, smashing the ice with the butt of his rifle. The Riddler persists, claiming that all of Gotham watched Bruce Wayne deal with his parents' deaths. The paparazzi had plagued him. He'd acted out, and the public saw it.

The Riddler's voice guides Bruce into a room where the Arkham doctors had administered shock therapy, and he reveals that while he was there, he learned that Bruce himself had gone to Arkham in his youth, and asked to receive shock treatment - until he chickened out and ran. He then disappeared for eight years - and the people had missed him. They laid flowers and stood vigil outside Wayne Tower. He supposes that perhaps Bruce can imagine where he went - because nobody else could. Angrily, Bruce replies that he doesn't intend to play this game, so the Riddler gives him an incentive, revealing that Alfred, Julie, and Geri have been captured and taken hostage. Again, Riddler puts the question to Bruce: "What are you?" - challenging Bruce to answer what it is that makes a man disappear for eight years after witnessing his parents' deaths. Fed up, Bruce responds that what he was was crazy.

The Riddler accepts this answer, claiming that instead of putting his time in at Arkham like he should have, Bruce paid the Batman to recreate the horror of his parents' deaths every night; paid him to break people. Batman is the legacy of Bruce Wayne's madness. Riddler believes that Bruce orchestrated the move of Arkham into his childhood home as part of a sick plan to make the patients there remember whose fault it was that they were there - his. Again, Bruce professes that he is not that man, and the crooks respond that that is what the problem is. He can't expect to do those things and get away with a happy ending. They are stuck with the memories and the scars the Batman gave them.

The Riddler had the exact model revolver that was used to murder Bruce's parents smuggled into the manor when it was Arkham. With it, he now plans to shoot those that Bruce cares about now in an effort to visit upon him the trauma that he lost unfairly. It would be a different trauma, but perhaps it would be interesting to see what kind of crazy Bruce will go next. Unexpectedly, Bruce leaps for his dropped rifle, and aims it at the Riddler, despite their knowing that he has spent his entire life campaigning against guns. Bruce reminds that things change, firing a shot - and missing the Riddler. He reveals, though, that he was actually aiming for the device blocking Geri's signal to Batman. Once assured Geri has called him, Bruce utters the word "Conasta."

The chandelier drops on Clayface, sending a surge of electricity through him, and in his confusion, he grabs Mister Freeze - overloading the electronics in his suit. Grimly, Bruce comments that real crazy is setting up a trap like this instead of escaping when they had a chance. Much as he doesn't feel like he is the same man whom these men feel wronged them, Bruce believes that what he did in the past was because he'd thought it was right.

Before long, Batman has arrived, and the patients are recaptured. Geri admits that she wouldn't be surprised if the night's events had soured Bruce on taking back the manor. He jokes that Alfred might have been right about the garden being suitable for a wedding. Unamused, Julie responds that if he thinks she would go back in there again before it has been checked for monsters and lunatics, he must really be crazy.

Appearing in "Madhouse"

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