"A Bird in the Hand...": The wealthy Mr. Van Decar and his wife Sondra discuss a party they're getting ready for. They complain about the gossiping Patricia Markman. Sondra puts on her jewel necklace and finds that it's been boobytrapped to puncture her throat.
- It's men like you, leaving Gotham City in the hands of costumed creatures, who will bring about the downfall of mankind!
Appearing in "A Bird in the Hand..."
- Batman (First appearance)
- Beverly (socialite)
- Gotham City Police Department
- David Estevez (Single appearance)
- Roberta Valle (Only appearance; dies)
- Mr. Van Decar (Single appearance)
- Mrs. Andreason (Flashback only)
- Mrs. Lewis (Flashback only)
- Patricia Markman (Mentioned only)
- Sondra Van Decar (Only appearance; dies)
- Eagle's Heart Ruby (Single appearance)
- Falcon's Eye Diamond (Single appearance)
- Robin's Egg Sapphire (Single appearance)
- Turtledove Emerald (Single appearance)
Synopsis for "A Bird in the Hand..."
The wealthy Mr. Van Decar and his wife Sondra discuss a party they're getting ready for. They complain about the gossiping Patricia Markman. Sondra puts on her jewel necklace and finds that it's been boobytrapped to puncture her throat.
Later, Commissioner Gordon discusses this case with Detective David Esteves. They know it was the recently released Magpie, but they have no idea what her pattern is. Batman arrives at GCPD Headquarters and explains that he deduced Magpie's game. Her victims were Sondra Van Decar wearing the "Eagle's Heart" ruby, Mrs. Andreason wearing a "Robin's Egg" sapphire, and Mrs. Lewis wearing a "Turtledove" emerald. Magpie is collecting birds and killing her victims. Batman suggests that they set a trap using the "Wayne Collection" of jewels, because Bruce Wayne owes him a favor.Jim Gordon sets up a sting operation at Wayne Manor. Detective Roberta Valle poses as Bruce Wayne's date, wearing the Falcon's Eye Diamond. They are interrupted by the pundit G. Gordon Godfrey, who starts an argument about Gordon's dependence on Batman. Gordon and Wayne both defend Batman as a necessity, but Godfrey insists that no super-hero can be trusted. Godfrey suggests that Batman inspires his own villains, and Bruce Wayne replies that "evil creates its own opposition." Godfrey spills a drink on Valle. This is cleaned up by an attendant, who is revealed to be Magpie. Magpie replaces Valle's necklace with a lethal one and escapes. This releases nerve gas, and Bruce Wayne quickly switches to become Batman. He is unable to save Roberta. The crowd sees Batman clearly helping, but Godfrey convinces some that Batman was attacking them.
Batman returns to the Batcave with Robin to search for Magpie in the Batmobile. They investigate Magpie's previous nest, the Gotham City Museum of Antiquities. There is a truck outside labeled "Grouse Catering", which explains her infiltration of Wayne Manor. Inside, Magpie admires her collection with her three henchmen. Batman and Robin easily take down the thugs, but Magpie escapes with the Falcon's Eye. Magpie seals her lair and activates a laser death trap with all five men inside. Batman is able to deactivate the trap by using one of her gems as a reflective prism. Batman runs outside and confronts Magpie, who dropped the jewel and is struggling to grab it. Magpie threatens to shoot him with an explosive dart, but Batman reveals this will also harm one of her jewels. Magpie has an emotional breakdown, and Batman walks her outside. They walk into the sunrise and Magpie says "You are a horrible man." Batman replies "I am what I have to be."
- This is "chapter 1" of the Legends crossover. The next chapter is Detective Comics #568.
- This issue takes place prior to Legends #1.
- Magpie last appeared in The Man of Steel #3, which takes place in the past.
- Despite being the first Batman post-Crisis adventure, this story wasn't reprinted in the Batman: Second Chances collected edition, a volume dedicated to collecting the earliest post-Crisis stories from Batman (volume 1).
- Barbara Kesel is credited under her maiden name "Barbara J. Randall" in this issue.
- This issue includes a special pin-up page by artist Brian Bolland. Bolland also provided pin-up artwork for the previous issue.
- Discuss Batman Vol 1 401 on the forums
- Cover gallery for the Batman series
- Images from Batman Vol 1 401
- Batman Recommended Reading
- Batman (Volume 1)
- Batman (Volume 2)
- Batman (Volume 3)
- Batman and Robin (Volume 1)
- Batman and Robin (Volume 2)
- Batman Confidential (Volume 1)
- Batman: Gotham Knights (Volume 1)
- Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight (Volume 1)
- Batman: Shadow of the Bat (Volume 1)
- Batman: Streets of Gotham (Volume 1)
- Batman Incorporated (Volume 1)
- Batman Incorporated (Volume 2)
- Batman/Superman (Volume 1)
- Batman/Superman (Volume 2)
- Batman: The Dark Knight (Volume 1)
- Batman: The Dark Knight (Volume 2)
- The Brave and the Bold (Volume 1)
- Detective Comics (Volume 1)
- Detective Comics (Volume 2)
- Superman/Batman (Volume 1)
- World's Finest (Volume 1)
- Legends Recommended Reading