Synopsis for "Collateral Damage"
In Red Robin's Robin's Nest, Harper Row holds vigil over her younger brother Cullen, who was rendered comatose by the nanobot virus in the Narrows. She talks to him, for her own comfort, until she is interrupted by Red Robin's call. He warns that something bigger than the nanovirus is going on in Gotham. Commissioner Bard has launched a full scale assault on Batman. He requires Harper to get all of Batman's allies together while he goes to Batman's aid.
In the meantime, Julia Pennyworth is wracking her mind for anything she can do to save Batman before the Batmobile collides with the pavement outside of Wayne Tower. She looks to her sleeping father and tries to imagine what he would do. She receives an epiphany, looking at him, and enters command "Blue Rose" into the computer, just as the Batmobile crashes. Jason Bard grins at his success, while the GCPD he runs look on with disappointment. Grimly, Harvey Bullock comments that he will never understand men like Jason - and nor does he want to.
In Detroit, Frank, the bartender, explains to Vicki Vale how Jason Bard had once been in love with his partner Jodie Hawkins. A copycat Batman vigilante had been landing himself in the hospital on a regular basis, the butt of the Detroit PD's jokes. While Jason and Jodie were on a drug raid, the copycat had distracted Jodie at just the wrong moment, and she took two bullets to the head. The vigilante had been killed as well. Only Jason survived. He stumbled into the bar and caught a broadcast from Gotham of Jim Gordon announcing that Batman had put a stop to the Joker once again. Jason began drunkenly accusing Jim Gordon of encouraging law-breaking vigilantes like Batman. Frank had intended to take Jason home, but a red-haired man had stopped him and offered to buy Jason a drink. After that night, Jason never spoke about Jodie or Batman again - but he did accept a transfer to Gotham.
Frank's story is interrupted by a call for Vicki from Jason, who claims to have a story for her. She interrupts to tell him she has a story too. She realizes now that he's been using her as a pawn in his revenge plot. Despite his revelation that he's taken down the Batman, Vicki comments that she ought to hang up before the Batman shows up to punch Jason in the face, like he deserves. She had planned to write his story for ages - the story of a good cop, who was special - but now she sees that the story is a bit too pathetic for a reporter of her calibre.
She hangs up, and Jason looks up from his phone just in time to see Batman's fist coming at his face. He explains that there was a protocol in place that allowed him to drop out the undercarriage of the car and ride the updraft away from the explosion. He admits that he doesn't understand what Jason's motivation was, and Jason angrily rants at how he lost the love of his life thanks to an idiot trying to be Batman. He reminds that nobody died tonight because of what he did to Batman. Angrily, Batman thrusts him against a wall and enumerates all of the stabbings, beatings, thefts, and shootings that occurred because Jason had wasted police resources. They'd only now be getting the calls, and too late. The weight of that collateral damage is on Jason's shoulders.
Ignoring him, Jason pulls his gun and tries again to place Batman under arrest, but he is prevented by Red Robin, Red Hood and Batgirl. Batman explains that while Jason runs the system right now, and he can't be locked up in Jim Gordon's old cell where he belongs. However, he can challenge Jason to do the right thing with his power. If he doesn't, he will have to deal with all of the Bats.
Happily, Julia hugs Batman when she sees him arriving in the cave along with the others. As they gather, even Alfred wakes and makes his way down to meet them. Grinning, Julia explains that her father is responsible for Batman's life. If he hadn't prepared a contingency, like she hoped he would, Batman would be dead. Batman, meanwhile, approaches the cage in which Hush is confined, and commands the computer to let him inside. Grinning, Hush taunts them all, even as Batman prepares to pummel him. Julia pulls a gun and tranquilizes him, reminding that if Batman fractures the glass of the cage even a little, surely, Hush will find a way to escape through the cracks.
Grumpily, Batman abandons his rage and returns to the computers. Despite the apparent success tonight, Batman reminds that Hush too was a pawn; an invitee. Someone else is still out there, orchestrating all of this. They are no closer to knowing the mystery of the train crash, the nanovirus, the destruction of Arkham, or the hiring of Dr. Falsario. As far as Bruce is concerned, everything is connected, but they are in the dark. He challenges his followers to find him anything to shed light on what they're missing. In the meantime, he allows Julia the opportunity to take the night off for a concert, to be back at work by 6AM.
Alone, Batman sifts through his enemies, knowing the mastermind could be any of them. From his cell, Hush taunts him, grinning that it will be fun watching Bruce go insane.
Elsewhere, The Riddler studies the links between everything that's gone on recently, musing that Batman must be quite frustrated by now, surely hating being out-thought like this. He believes that Batman should have solved this riddle by now. He will be needing a little push.
Appearing in "Collateral Damage"
- Jason Bard (Flashback and main story)
- Hush (Flashback and main story)
- The Riddler
- Dr. Falsario (On a TV or computer screen)
- Gotham City Police Department
- Lucius Fox
- Alfred Pennyworth
- Cullen Row
- Officer Jodie Hawkins (Dies in flashback)
- Batman of Detroit (Only appearance; dies)
- Tiger Shark (On a TV or computer screen)
- Professor Pyg (On a TV or computer screen)
- The Penguin (On a TV or computer screen)
- Bane (On a TV or computer screen)
- Carmine Falcone (On a TV or computer screen)
- Poison Ivy (On a TV or computer screen)
- Joker's Daughter (On a TV or computer screen)
- Victor Zsasz (On a TV or computer screen)
- Clayface (On a TV or computer screen)
- Killer Croc (On a TV or computer screen)
- Mister Freeze (On a TV or computer screen)
- Cluemaster (On a TV or computer screen)
- Scarecrow (On a TV or computer screen)
- Jim Gordon (Appears in flashback only on a TV screen)
- Batmobile (Destroyed)
- This issue marks the first appearance of Batgirl in her new costume within Batman Eternal. As such, this issue is the first of the series to take place after Batgirl (Volume 4) #35.
- This issue is reprinted in Batman Eternal Vol. 3.