- You wanna take off? Fine. But you're signing this first, Hady! You're saving Gordon!
Synopsis for "Level Up"
At Mayor Hady's office, Jason Bard attempts to convince the mayor to release James Gordon - despite having once been the most vocal critic of the man whose job he won for himself. Jason explains that he has evidence exonerating Jim, and with the city on the brink of destruction, he must admit that he underestimated the man. Gotham needs Jim Gordon. The mayor responds that he can't release Gordon, so long as the court of public opinion has judged him guilty. It is an election year, after all. Hady can't take that kind of bad publicity.
Meanwhile, at Blackgate Penitentiary, the Penguin uses a burner-phone to take a call from someone who offers him the chance to take back all of the things that Carmine Falcone took from him in their gang war. Oswald senses that a string is attached, and the voice on the other end explains that all that is required is help with a certain individual.
As he speaks, the mayor makes his way to a helipad, where he admits that he should have left Gotham as soon as Commissioner Loeb resigned. Angrily, Jason grabs him, reminding how Gordon had protected Hady for all this time, and now that he needs help, he intends to abandon him. He refuses to let Hady leave without signing the release order.
At the prison, a bought-off guard sneaks into the control room and opens the doors on an entire cellblock.
In the meantime, each of Batman's allies is occupied with one of the Arkham escapees who each gained a dangerous shipment from a mysterious benefactor. Unfortunately, Batgirl has discovered that some of the shipments came from Wayne Enterprises. Unfortunately, while they attempt to deprive the crooks of their toys, Hush has since been released from his cell, and uses the Batcave's computers to deprive the Bat-Family of their toys, putting them at a severe disadvantage.
Having been ejected into the Gotham River by Hush some time ago, Julia Pennyworth finally makes it to shore, and assesses the situation. She wonders why nobody else has ever built a bat-computer. This thought gives her an idea. Elsewhere, Batman has survived the forced crash of the Batplane, and makes his way to a nearby airfield before stealing a small jet, and leaving an IOU note.
Spoiler makes good on her plan to contact Vicki Vale, breaking in through a window at the Gotham Gazette. She chastises Vicki for failing to have put together the pieces of this puzzle, despite having all of them available to her. She hasn't yet published anything she has on Jason Bard, despite how much she has on him. Vicki responds that it's complicated - but she doesn't want to destroy Jason's life. There are many more players than him involved in what's been happening as it is. Spoiler notes that Vicki is right about that, reminding that losers like Signalman are working behind the scenes - and the fact that he's a loser, and nobody cares about what he does in comparison to bigger players is exactly the point of his involvement. He can act unchecked. Suddenly, the window smashes as Cluemaster launches a grapple through it, and hooks it onto Spoiler's cape, dragging her out into the night. Before being forced away from Vicki, Spoiler tosses her a USB stick full of evidence.
As he flies over the city, Batman picks up word on the police scanner of the riot at Blackgate, just as Jason Bard returns to Gotham Central to learn the same from Harvey Bullock, and worries for Jim Gordon's safety.
As the riot worsens, Jim finds himself surrounded by thugs, but the Penguin calls them off, warning that Gordon is his to deal with.
Appearing in "Level Up"
- Gotham City
- Batplane (Destroyed)
- This issue is reprinted in Batman Eternal Vol. 3.
- This issue names Mayor Hady as "William" instead of Sebastian, as it has been to this point in the New 52.
- Though he is not shown in the issue, Scarecrow is the villain whom Batwing is tasked with putting a stop to.