- As a youth I swore eternal vengeance on all criminals. To prepare myself for that war, I journeyed abroad to learn all I could from the world's greatest masters. I spent part of that time here, learning the vibrating palm strike from Master Kirigi. Lord, I was driven... and maybe a bit blind to the possibility that I'd come to be a disciple of one of the very people I 'd sworn to destroy!
- — Batman
Appearing in "The Wall"
- Kirigi (First appearance)
- League of Assassins
- Mugs Clifford (Single appearance)
- Thaddeus Gladden (Only appearance; dies)
- Tanja Lloyd (Appears only as a corpse)
- Linda Riley (Single appearance)
- Ralph Stuart (Single appearance)
- Gotham City
- Los Angeles
- New Jersey
- North Korea
- Paektu-San Mountains
Synopsis for "The Wall"
Currently, Batman investigates the mysterious disappearance of a criminal called Ralph Stuart, known for being "fearless". During his investigation, Batman comes across an encrypted tape recording and he takes it home, where he gives it to Alfred to decipher while he unsuccessfully tries to rest, as he can't take the death of Jason off his mind. When the message is cracked, Alfred and Batman are shocked with the content.
Later at the Gotham State Penitentiary, Ralph Stuart is locked in a cell, without any concern in the world. He had willingly turned him to the authorities, seeking shelter from something. When the guards at the prison turn the lights out at night, Batman appears and confronts Stuart just outside his cell. The criminal breaks down in fear after listening to his own tape, in which he talks to another criminal and informs him about the murder of a woman near his living place. Stuart had noticed strange looking men breaking into the woman's apartment and since his associate was connected with the murder, Stuart feared that the killers might come after him next. After listening to the tape, Stuart calls for the guards and they take the criminal, who is scared out of his mind, to solitary confinement, where he thinks he is safe. However once in the dark room, Batman turns on a match and demands to know what kind of business is Stuart's partner doing and who are the killers. Stuart refuses to answer, fearing that he will be killed as well and Batman leaves, telling him that in the end, they may kill him anyways.
Batman continues his investigation and to learn more about the murder case, he goes undercover as the landlord to the victim's house. Following the clues he found at the place, Batman uses another disguise and travels to Los Angeles, where he finds the corpse of the victim and he learns the method used to kill her. After analyzing all the information, Batman returns to Gotham and takes Linda Riley out of her apartment for her own safety.
Later, Batman locates Mugs Clifford, Stuart's partner and the man responsible for organizing the woman's murder. While listening to Clifford's conversations, Batman learns that the first murder was indeed an address mistake as he suspected and that the inteded victim was Linda Riley. Once Clifford has given Batman all the information, unknowingly, Batman threatens the criminal and tries to make him give away the names of the killers, but Clifford doesn't know as they are contacted by a middle man called Thaddeus Gladden. After Batman leaves Clifford's place, the criminal calls Thaddeus and cancels the hit on the woman.
Batman soon tracks down Thaddeus Gladden to his home, but he arrives too late as the man has been murdered and Batman finally understands that the responsibles for the murders are the League of Assassins. As Batman examines Thaddeus' dead body, the members of the League attack him and Batman uses the environment as his main weapon. The assasssins are good, but Batman is better. After taking down most of them, Batman and the leader of the assassins are the only ones still standing. The two of them prepare to stike and Batman uses a special technique which he learned many years ago: the vibrating palm strike; which is also the technique that was used to murder the woman. Batman defeats the assassin, using a variation of the technique, which is not lethal and instead of killing his opponent, he simply leaves him unconscious.
Batman leaves the crime scene knowing that the Police will soon arrive to deal with the aftermath, but his mind is concerned about something else. After ten years, Batman returns to North Korea, to the temple of Master Kirigi, seeking to confront the Master about teaching killers his technique. When Batman breaks in the sanctuary, the Master doesn't react and neither he does when Batman informs him about the consequences of his teachings. When Batman inquires if Kirigi is upset for having trained killers, the Master replies that being upset would imply a moral judgement on his part and that is not the way he lives by. Finally, the Master reminds Batman that he didn't question his motives when he came asking to be trained and a sour Batman leaves, telling him that maybe he should have.
- This story is reprinted in Batman: The Caped Crusader Vol. 1.
- No trivia.
- Discuss Batman Vol 1 431 on the forums
- Cover gallery for the Batman series
- Images from Batman Vol 1 431