"State of Truth": Julia Pennyworth has discovered Hush waiting for her in one of the many compromised weapons caches left by Batman. He taunts her, and to his surprise, she responds by firing a grappling
- For all intents and purposes, Wayne Enterprises is no more.
- -- Lucius Fox
Appearing in "State of Truth"
Synopsis for "State of Truth"
Julia Pennyworth has discovered Hush waiting for her in one of the many compromised weapons caches left by Batman. He taunts her, and to his surprise, she responds by firing a grappling gun through his shoulder. Angrily, he cuts the cable, warning that it would be better to stay out of rooms full of weapons altogether, shooting her in the side. She collapses, and, unlike her, he recovers quickly enough to return to setting an explosive charge within the cache before leaving her to die on the floor. Alfred picks up the detonation on his scanners and directs Batman to it, realizing too late that his daughter was surely caught in the blast. Batman hurries to the scene, and in the blazing rubble, he discovers a hole melted into the floor, and Julia lying wounded at its bottom. She had used the fail-safe acid to burn a hole through the floor and get out of harm's way.
At Wayne Tower, Mayor Hady demands to know where the company's CEO has gone, after Lucius Fox had promised that the first explosion was merely an isolated incident. Sighing, Lucius must admit that the system has clearly been compromised. Angrily, the Mayor responds that if Lucius and his people can't find a way to put a stop to these attacks, he and the Commissioner will find a way to do it for him.
Back in the Batcave, Alfred patches his daughter up, and approaches Batman to beg him to keep Julia out of his world. She deserves better than that. Bruce responds that everyone deserves better, but not everyone realizes it. The computers signal that Hush has accessed another cache - which suggests to Bruce that he wants Batman to come for him. He had evaded the sensors until this point. Clearly he wants Batman to meet him there, at the Martha Wayne Foundation Hospital.
Upon his arrival, Hush welcomes him from atop a throne made up of all of the weapons that had once been hidden in the cache. Bruce supposes that he intends to blow them both up, as a sickly poetic end. After all, Tommy Elliot's parents had been declared dead in that very hospital. Hush admits it would be fitting - but that's only the backup plan. Donning one of Bruce's armoured Batsuits, Hush attacks, mocking that he knows deep down that Bruce hides behind his gadgets and weapons. His allies and his toys are just distractions to keep him from thinking about his dead parents. And if he takes away those toys, Batman won't make it to the end of the game. When the two of them are on equal footing - Tommy is the winner. He grabs Batman around the neck and throttles, but to his surprise, Bruce pulls back and headbutts him hard, and then once more. Hush collapses on the floor, dropping his detonator, which Batman crushes underfoot. Grimly, Bruce comments that Tommy could have built a better life for himself, but he wasted himself on trying to be a puzzle. Ripping the bandages from his face, Batman shows Tommy his reflection and shows him his true face. Tommy is nothing more than a little boy, crying. He could never be Bruce Wayne. He could never be Batman.
Meanwhile, Lucius Fox calls a press conference at the Mayor's urging, to announce that Bruce Wayne has been stripped of his Chief Operating functions, and that role now belongs to the federal government - along with all of his holdings, both foreign and domestic. As Batman listens to the feed in his cowl, he discovers a note in Hush's coat. It is an invitation to the fall of Gotham City. As Lucius declares the end of Wayne Enterprises, Bruce realizes that Hush was just a pawn. Grinning, Tommy comments that while he may not be Bruce Wayne, right now, nobody would want to be.
- This book was first published on November 26, 2014.
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