"The City of Shadow and Doubt": Alfred Pennyworth has been taken from his hospital bed, and moved to Arkham Asylum, where he is still tormented by the Fear Toxin that was injected directly into his brain.
- From where I'm standing, nothing makes any sense at all.
- — Batwing
Synopsis for "The City of Shadow and Doubt"
In the tunnels below the asylum, Jim Corrigan is also tormented, but by Deacon Blackfire, who intends to make him into one of the aetheric pylons. Jim senses from Blackfire's ravings that the spirit's reason is dwindling, having underestimated the strain of using this kind of magic. He realizes, suddenly, that this is because someone else must have manipulated Blackfire into taking this role. Someone else is in control of the horrors beneath Arkham.
Elsewhere, Joker's Daughter is tormenting someone that she's locked in a dumpster when she spots a note for her on a wall, instructing her to go back to Deacon Blackfire and to follow his instructions. Looking across the street, she spots a pair of armed thugs standing outside a candy shop. Inside, Hush activates a bomb which may implicate Batman when it detonates.
Beneath Arkham, Batwing finally regains consciousness to the news that his oxygen has depleted to 13%, but his systems have managed to decrypt the Riddler's cipher. Though his comms are malfunctioning, once he gets above the water, he gets a communication from Batman, and reports on the real-life horror movie that is Arkham Asylum. He is confused by news of Deacon Blackfire's return, unsure of how either could be related to each other.
Batman, meanwhile, is watching over a demonstration going on, and worries that the riots being caused as a result of the traffic jams are going to aggravate the GCPD, who have declared martial law. He believes that the traffic, the weird goings on at Arkham, and Hush are all related. Julia Pennyworth warns that two GCPD helicopters are on their way to disperse the crowd of rioters, and it is clear they intend to fire on the civilians. Frustrated, Batman takes out both choppers in less than a minute, warning that nobody is going to fire on civilians in his city. Still, he will have to disperse the crowd, or more choppers will come. First, though, he introduces Julia to Batwing.
Batwing sends Julia the code he found in the Riddler's cell and informs her of the cipher. Batman suggests using the word "Enygma" as a keyword for the cipher, and Julia suspects a hit.
Meanwhile, the Joker's Daughter returns to Arkham, and when she receives orders from one of Blackfire's followers, she angrily clubs him to death, warning that she won't be tricked into following orders anymore. Lower still, Jim Corrigan warns that Blackfire's magic is going to unravel if he keeps trying to use more and more powerful magic without total control. Despite Jim's warnings, Blackfire's magic begins to drag the Spectre from Jim's body. Batwing, meanwhile, arrives just in time to see it, and wonders how he can shut the spell down. With all of his systems malfunctioning or depleted, Batwing is left with only his fists. As the Spectre's power is channeled, though, a green light begins building around Jim's body, and explodes, destroying the asylum.
Julia watches as the computer decrypts the message, reading: "Arkham is just a piece of the plan. If you can read this, you are smart enough to know our foe."
Appearing in "The City of Shadow and Doubt"
- Alfred Pennyworth
- The Spectre
- Gotham City Police Department
- Joker (Mentioned only)
- Maxie Zeus (Possessed)
- This issue is reprinted in Batman Eternal Vol. 2.