- See, something's been kidnapping people under the protection of King Croc. Taking them from beneath the streets and above. Now they've got Jade. She's just a kid. She needed me more than the rest. I don't know where they took her, but I know what they are.
- -- Killer Croc
Appearing in "Breaking Bat"
- United States of America
Synopsis for "Breaking Bat"
Batgirl has had her mind manipulated, and she now sees her companions Red Hood and Batwoman as the Joker and her brother James Gordon, Jr., whom she now believes were responsible for framing her father Jim Gordon. Red Hood and Batwoman notice that this hypnotic suggestion might have been the same cause for the former Commissioner believing he saw a gun in the train station when there wasn't one, leading to the train accident that killed hundreds. Promising to keep an eye on Batgirl, Red Hood sends Batwoman to find the man responsible.
In the Gotham Underground, Batman and Lt. Jason Bard have accepted Killer Croc as a guide through the tunnels and sewers in search of a kidnapped girl. Despite Bard's worries about Croc's violent tendencies, Batman assures him that Croc's guilt over letting his followers down will ensure his loyalty here. Several of his people have been kidnapped and killed. Croc leads the men to a room where he's collected what few of the kidnappers and killers he could. He explains that they seem to be reanimated corpses, and when he kills them, they simply go limp. They must be servants to something or someone else. Batman recognizes the black hand-prints these creatures left behind as the same ones that Jim Corrigan and Batwing described from their visit to Arkham Asylum.
Batman claims that these creatures are extradimensional aliens - not zombies. From what Jim and Batwing told him, they travel via doorways within the Earth. Croc offers that he has seen them get weaker the closer to the surface they get. Jade must have known that if she tried to escape into the Narrows. This means that if these creatures are kidnapping Croc's people, they must be taking them deeper, to where they aren't weak. Croc thinks he knows where Batman is talking about. As they confer, Jason Bard investigates the cavern and discovers a pile of discarded police gear, recognizing the bloodied badge of one of his own acquaintances.
In his cell at Blackgate Pennitentiary, Jim Gordon is wakened suddenly from his sleep by the smell of smoke and the sounds of shouting well past lights out. Suddenly, Warden Agatha Zorbatos bursts in with a guard and places the block on lockdown. She turns to Jim and unlocks his cell warning that if the people outside get into the block, he'll be a dead man. The prison had been understaffed and overcrowded since the Arkham War, and nobody was prepared for a turf-war between inmates loyal to The Roman and The Penguin. Otto "Fishnet" Kruft was murdered by one of the Roman's people, and Marcus Row sold that information to the Penguin's men. A riot followed, and then a hostage situation.
Agatha expects that the inmates will try to get through this block in order to get to solitary, where both the Penguin and the Roman are housed. Jim warns that both men will be butchered if they're left where they are. Row reminds that if they're let free, the gang war will start all over again. Grabbing a fire-extinguisher, Jim explains that the inmates might have headed to the electrical room, and this may be his only chance to save the remaining guards.
Meanwhile, in Japan, inventor Sergei Alexandrov marvels at Harper Row's aptitude. Red Robin must admit that he sees it too, but knows she'll require much more training. Sergei reminds that Tim had needed a lot of training as well. Tim wonders if Harper is up for it. Over the intercom, Harper shouts that she is very much up to the challenge, admitting that she re-rigged the intercom to eavesdrop. She wonders when she'll be allowed to start her training.
Back in Brazil, Jason struggles to hold his own against Batgirl, despite the fact that she quite likely gave him a concussion, and despite how offensive it is that she keeps calling him the Joker. From his office, Dr. Falsario, the engineer of Batgirl's manipulation muses that the Red Hood will soon be his to manipulate as well. He then calls on Batwoman to stop eavesdropping and step out of the shadows, grabbing a child as a hostage. Fortunately, Batwoman's association with the D.E.O has given her tools to counter his hypnosis. She then douses him with Fear Gas and places him under arrest. Under the influence of the gas, Falsario confesses that he made Jim Gordon see what his employer had wanted him to see.
With the children in the toy factory sent to safety, Jason concentrates his efforts on de-programming Batgirl's hypnosis, reminding her of a time years ago, when they had been alone. He plays on her photographic memory, conjuring thoughts of the exact details of the first time they'd met, and she had told him that he'd never replace Dick Grayson. Suddenly, Barbara collapses into his arms, returning to her old self, as the memories flood her mind, and the visions fade. Having sent children to prevent Batwoman from taking him, Falsario begins to escape, and Batgirl gives chase, warning that she will take him alone.
At Blackgate, the Penguin's men are debating whether to kill the guards they captured, and it has been left up to Volt to decide whose life is more valuable. Nearby, the Roman's men wander the halls of the prison in search of the Penguin's men. They are distracted, suddenly, by a lone janitor's mop and bucket rolling toward them. From behind it explodes a cloud from Jim's fire-extinguisher, and in the confusion, he knocks every one of them unconscious.
Beneath Arkham, the Ten-Eyed Man taunts the kidnapped girl Jade with claims that she is a pure soul he will sacrifice in order to get a clear vision of the doom that is coming for him. However, he soon notices Batman and Croc watching him from above, and with their cover blown, the pair leap down with the intent to take him down before he hurts the girl.
- This book was first published on August 13, 2014.
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