"Bedtime Stories": After his successful escape from the grip of the law, The Mad Hatter prepares his next scheme in which he will use several of his mind-controlling hats for the ultimate purpose.
- Now... just let your mind drift in the darkness... and be aware of nothing but my voice... my story.... of mother night's elegance and her soothing embrace. She is the source of darkness and security, the secret place where dreams are born. She is rest for the weary, comfort to all who seek and accept her... she is a tapestry of graceful mystery... of surprises unseen... and of the impossible come true. She is sometimes lightning... sometimes thunder... but she is ever the peace of sleep... and yet hers is a sleep which may be transcended, by those with the will. And in her dark clouds drifting under the moon-- where fantasy freely floats, clad in jet and silver... mother night's embrace is the most soothing of all...
- — Nocturna
Synopsis for "Bedtime Stories"
After his successful escape from the grip of the law, The Mad Hatter prepares his next scheme in which he will use several of his mind-controlling hats for the ultimate purpose.
Meanwhile, Julia Remarque has been promoted to writer at Picture News Magazine and during her first assignment, she comes across a very aggressive Olivia Ortega. Using her experience with the TV reporter, Julia writes a heartfelt article on a devastating fire in Gotham, which makes Alfred shed tears of pride and sorrow, for his daughter's accomplishment is painful to him when he notices that she has reneged to use his last name as hers.
As this happens, strange men wearing hats start creating random troubles in Gotham. Later, Vicki Vale gives Julia the assignment to write the upcoming article about the adoption of Jason Todd by Natalia Knight. The judge's decision is final and there is nothing Bruce Wayne can do to feel better. Although he agrees to go on a date with Julia, Bruce realizes that he is toying with her emotions as he just wants to keep the company of a female figure to stop thinking about Nocturna, but so far, all his efforts have failed.
Later, Bruce Wayne is contacted by Lucius Fox with news about their discovery of Mad Hatter's computer. Lucius gives Bruce a specific address and Bruce deduces that the place is most likely the madman's hideout. However there is another concerning matter as the public eye has noticed Batman's recent activities as a lone figure, which has raised the obvious question of whatever happened to Robin. In order to avoid suspicions from people that might connect Bruce Wayne and Jason Todd with Batman and Robin, Batman goes to Nocturna's hotel room to get Robin, although there are other reasons for his actions.
At that moment, the Mad Hatter has finally gathered a large number of crooks and is manipulating them with hats, spreading them across the city to kill Batman. One of them spots Batman on his way to the Ritz-Carlton and confronts the Dark Knight in a nearby rooftop. As this happens, Nocturna acts like a mother to Jason, using her natural charm, but the kid refuses to listen to her. Batman is shocked when the thug shows signs of super-strength, but when the hat is removed during the struggle, the thug's strength is gone and before passing out, he attaches a tracking device on Batman's cape. The Dark Knight leaves him unconscious for the police to find him and he later goes to Nocturna's place, where Robin is ready to join him in the night. Nocturna tries her best to convince them to stay, but they wouldn't listen and once they leave, Nocturna changes into a combat outfit and follows them into the night.
Batman and Robin go to the address of the Mad Hatter's lair, but the Hatter is aware of their activities thanks to the tracking device. He awaits outside the place in his vehicle and commands all his mind-controlled thugs to go inside the hideout and defeat Batman and Robin. At first, Hatter's men get the upper hand in the fight, but when the heroes realize that they can assure victory by removing their hats, the enemies are defeated in no time as the devices are responsible for the thug's super strength. Knowing his defeat is close, Hatter activates a self-destruct machine in his hideout which he controls from his vehicle. As he is about to blow the entire place, he is stopped and captured by Nocturna, who delivers the criminal to Batman as a present. After this, Nocturna takes Robin back to her place and Batman tells Jason to go, knowing that they will still have the night. However, as much as Batman knows he belongs to the night, he is also aware that Nocturna is the night. As he dwells on such thoughts, Vicki Vale, Alfred and Julia all struggle against their own inner demons.
Appearing in "Bedtime Stories"
- Mad Hatter
- Louie (Single appearance)
- The events of this issue take place after Detective Comics #545 and the story continues in Detective Comics #546.
- There is a small comic reference to Arnold Schwarzenegger as a random citizen calls one of Hatter's henchmen "Arnold Ham-an'-Egger".