- People can't set themselves above the law. That way leads to anarchy. Even though you and I skirt along the edges of it, we still operate within the legal system. That's the way it has to be. Even though more than a small part of me sometimes wishes it could be otherwise.
- — Batman
Appearing in "Just Deserts"
- Karl Branneck (Dies)
- Vito Procaccini (Dies)
- Charlie (pimp)
- Brodsky (lawyer)
- Judy Koslosky (sister of victim)
- Kate Babcock (Hallucination)
- Linda Koslosky (Hallucination)
Synopsis for "Just Deserts"The two Dumpster Slashers discuss their next crime. Vito Procaccini does not want to continue now that Batman is on their trail. Karl Branneck assures him everything will be fine. It's revealed that Branneck is deeply misogynist, believing nobody knows what it means to be a "real man" anymore and "women's lib" has ruined everything. He says the "tramps have gotten too uppity" and what they're doing isn't a crime, it's a political statement.
Batman tells Commissioner Gordon about the Dumpster Slashers, and swears to "put an end to their depravity." Gordon reminds him that there are boundaries he must respect. "Your status as Gotham's semi-official vigilante is a tenuous position, at best. You start playing judge, jury and executioner, and even I won't be able to protect you." Batman replies that this warning is unnecessary and he knows the rules.
Karl and Vito put their next plan into action. Batman and Robin try to tail them, but both of them lose the criminals. Karl notices that the same blonde woman in his neighborhood keeps staring at him, and he is annoyed by this. Vito follows Karl into the subway, where Karl stabs him to death. Karl explains that Vito was a weak link and he could not risk him confessing. Karl hides the knife under his floorboards, trusting that the next train will leave Vito's corpse unidentifiable.
Karl goes out to have a couple drinks with his friends. When he returns, Batman has found the knife under his floor. Batman reveals that Vito crawled out of the way of the train, and they will be able to do an autopsy. Karl attacks Batman, but Batman easily punches him out. Karl is arrested and put on trial. His lawyer Brodsky wins the trial when the judge rules that evidence obtained illegally by Batman is inadmissable. Batman and Robin continue to watch Karl. Karl notices the same blonde woman staring at him again, and decides to kill her later. He plans to move out of Gotham, but to kill that woman as his last big "score."
Robin catches a pimp named Charlie beating a sick prostitute and threatening to cut her. Robin savagely beats the pimp, slamming his head into a brick wall and punching his face repeatedly while he's down. Batman pulls Robin off the pimp, saying the pimp has had enough. Batman asks "what were you trying to do, kill him?" Robin replies "Would it've been that big of a loss if I had?" This troubles Batman.
Karl listens for Batman reports on the radio, and hears that Batman is across town taking down counterfeiters. He leaves his apartment to kill the blonde woman he saw earlier. The second he tries to pull her into his van, she takes out a shaving razor and slits his throats. Karl crawls into a nearby alley, where he hallucinates about the women he killed as he slowly bleeds out. Batman and Gordon investigate his corpse. His killer identifies herself as Judy Koslosky, the sister of an earlier victim Linda Koslosky. Judy was investigating the murders privately, and had been staring at Karl to goad him into attacking her. The police tell her this is still illegal, and she says "good luck finding a jury that'll convict me." Batman later muses on this with Robin. Robin thinks Judy did the right thing, but Batman insists it was wrong. He tells Robin that people can't set themselves above the law, even though sometimes he wishes he could.
- This book was first published on April 19, 1988.
- This is the final chapter of the "Dumpster Slasher" trilogy, which began in Batman #414 and Batman #421.
- "Just Desserts" is a common phrase meaning somebody got what they deserved. This issue spells it "Deserts" which would refer to the type of landscape. This is probably a mistake.
- This issue is mostly narrated by Karl Branneck.
- This story is reprinted in Batman: The Caped Crusader, Vol. 1.
- No trivia.
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