"Batman... Eternal?": Poison Ivy has taken up residence in a green house outside of the Gotham City's limits, choosing to wait out the ongoing conflict therein, and return to overrun the city with her plants when the fighting is done.
- Your skills as a detective are legendary and well-founded. You came here following clues. Answering riddles. But I have another mystery, detective. A mystery as yet unwritten by the pen of destiny. I present it to you, Batman, as it is a question only you can answer. Is Batman Eternal?
Synopsis for "Batman... Eternal?"
Poison Ivy has taken up residence in a green house outside of the Gotham City's limits, choosing to wait out the ongoing conflict therein, and return to overrun the city with her plants when the fighting is done.
On the coast, near Karachi, Batman is fighting through the League of Assassins in search of Ra's al Ghul, whom he assumes is responsible for the attack on Gotham. Ra's, however, is not responsible, and but he knows who is. If he must, though, he resolves to teach the detective yet another lesson with the help of Dr. Darrk.
Elsewhere, Selina Kyle walks straight in the front door of Blackgate Penitentiary to pay her father, Rex Calabrese a visit. She accuses him of being behind certain blackmarket deals that are seeing big items disappearing from the manifests on deals she's been doing on the docks. Whoever is doing it can't be on her crew, so she assumes he must be doing it behind her back. Emphatically, he claims that he is proud of what she's been doing for the city, and would never do anything to endanger her or what the Calabrese family has built. Selina remains hardened to him, suggesting that if he is not responsible, he should help her find out who is.
In the Batcave, Julia Pennyworth is tormented by Hush who remains imprisoned there. She has hung a curtain around his glass cell, in order to keep him from watching her bathe in one of the cave's waterfalls. With the manor above them no longer in the possession of Bruce Wayne, Hush teases that she is left to the cold comforts of the batcave, left to watch over a father who never was much of a father to her. Grimly, she shoves his curtain aside to comment that as bad as her life may be, it is still better than his. After shoving his rations into his cell, she checks in on her father, Alfred, but he is still lost in his nightmare, thanks to Hush's injection of Fear Toxin. She is distracted by a signal from the computers - the readings on Batman's vitals are all over the place.
Batman attempts to respond, but finds that his communicator is breaking up - because it has been hijacked by Ra's al Ghul. Batman calls out to him, demanding that he reveal his location. Cryptically, Ra's suggests that he is not in a place - he is in a time - the future, more specifically. They are both in Batman's future. Through the smoke filling the passage, Batman sees a future version of himself. Ra's supposes that one day, Batman might choose a successor - whether a protégé, a prodigy, or a son. Ra's teases Bruce with visions of Damian as an adult - taunting him with the reminder that his son is dead. Ra's explains that he has crafted a mystery for the dark knight detective to solve: is Batman Eternal? The illusions hint at a legacy that Batman may carry - but it is just an illusion. Batman realizes that this smoke must be a kind of hallucinogenic gas, and discovers the man behind it soon. He recognizes Ebeneezer Darrk hiding nearby, and captures him, demanding to know Ra's plan. Darrk grins, commenting that he merely does as Ra's tells him, and in exchange he lives - not unlike Bruce's own relationship with Ra's.
Suddenly, Lord Death Man appears from within the cloud of gas, and Batman angrily slams his face into a computer monitor, warning that he doesn't have time for this. Again, Ra's calls out from somewhere unseen and explains how he discovered Lord Death Man's eternal life, and supposed that he could use the man's blood as a replacement for the Lazarus Pits - a means of avoiding the side effects of insanity that the pits bring. Obviously, Lord Death Man's insanity demonstrated that he was not a viable alternative. In any case, he explains, this campaign to weaken the foundations of Batman's legacy is not the work of the Demon's Head. He disperses the gas, revealing a doorway, and promising to deliver proof. Behind the door, Batman sees Ra's in a hospital bed, recovering from injuries incurred after he was thrown into a ravine at Nanda Parbat.
Ra's explains that he hopes one day to recover and find a way to best the great detective - but that day will come when Batman believes he is immortal; when he is blind to his fallibility. This is not that time. He admits that he also received an invitation to break down the Batman and Gotham - but he'd burnt it. He urges Batman to go and discover his true enemy, defeat him, and then wait for Ra's al Ghul to come for him. Sickened, Batman knows he is telling the truth.
At Blackgate, Rex uses an informant to get his hands on the manifests Selina was taking about, and immediately he sees that something doesn't add up. The things that are being imported are weird, and seemingly completely unrelated to one another. 600 Kewpie dolls for Joker's Daughter, a deluxe soda fountain and walk-in cooler with root-beer mix for Mister Freeze, fifty tactical drones and six crates of feathers for The Scarecrow. Nervously, Rex realizes that Selina was right. Whoever is making these deals happen is essentially giving gifts to some of Gotham's worst criminals.
Appearing in "Batman... Eternal?"
- Poison Ivy
- Ra's al Ghul
- League of Assassins
- Dr. Darrk
- Lord Death Man
- Joker's Daughter
- Mister Freeze
- The Scarecrow
- Alfred Pennyworth
- Pete the Skink
- Batman (Future) (Hallucination)
- Batman (Bruce Wayne Clone) (Hallucination)
- Batman (Damian Wayne) (Hallucination)
- Batman (Dick Grayson) (Hallucination)
- Batman (Terry McGinnis) (Hallucination)
- Batgirl (Hallucination)
- Red Hood (Hallucination)
- Red Robin (Hallucination)
- Jim Gordon (Hallucination)
- References are made in this issue to the events of Robin Rises: Omega #1, suggesting that this portion of the story takes place between the battle at Nanda Parbat depicted in that issue, and Batman's journey to Apokolips depicted thereafter in Batman and Robin, given that Robin is not yet resurrected.
- This issue is reprinted in Batman Eternal Vol. 3.