"Dead Letter Office": At night in Gotham City, Batman breaks into the office of a lawyer, following a mysterious person who has also broken into the building. When Batman is finally confronted by the intruder, he learns that Maxine Kelly is a P.I., who is working
- ...bashing criminals is one thing! Beating up on law enforcement people always depresses me.
- — Batman
Synopsis for "Dead Letter Office"
At night in Gotham City, Batman breaks into the office of a lawyer, following a mysterious person who has also broken into the building. When Batman is finally confronted by the intruder, he learns that Maxine Kelly is a P.I., who is working on a case and needs evidence to continue her ivestigation. However, Kelly decides the information she needs is not at that office and leaves Batman before going back home. When she gets home, she is shocked to find Batman inside. The Dark Knight inquires about the case she is working on and Max reveals that she was hired to find a boy that went missing seven years ago. The only living relative of the kid is his mother, who is dying at the hospital and she took the case to help find her son. After learning the circumstances of the case, Batman gets emotionally involved in solving the case as well.
Later, Batman is at the GCPD Headquarters, where Commissioner Gordon informs him about the possibility of capturing a large gang of thieves during a raid, but he requires Batman's assistance. However, Batman is not slightly interested in helping him and instead, he asks Gordon for information about the case of the missing kid. Gordon tells Batman that the case was closed due to lack of evidence against the only suspect and that all the information was archived by the FBI.
With this information, Batman organizes a plan of action to steal the information from the FBI offices by staging a fire accident and posing as part of the fire department in order to get easy access to the organization's secret archives. Using his expertise and gadgets, Batman gets the encrypted information, but on his getaway he is confronted by several FBI agents. Using non-lethal tactics, Batman manages to escape the building, despite being outnumbered.
Three days later, Batman calls Commissioner Gordon and asks for help cracking the FBI's code to gain access to the encrypted information, but Gordon refuses, saying that he cannot help Batman after he breached and stole confidential information from one of the prime government agencies. Gordon notices that Batman is driven about this case, but when he asks why, Batman simply hangs the phone on him.
More days pass and Batman finds himself in Boston after cracking the FBI's code. He learned that the only suspect, Willie Saunders was relocated and hidden out of fear of persecution. The man is currently a cleric and Batman confronts him at the confessional booth, but after using his scare tactics and trying to get the information about the kid, Batman learns that the man is truly innocent. A defeated Batman returns to Gotham, where Commissioner Gordon lectures him about taking dead cases, but something that Gordon says gives Batman one last glimpse of hope to solve the case.
Forty minutes later, Batman goes to Maxine's place and takes her back to the Batcave with him. Batman informs her that he is using the Batcomputer to cross-reference every kid about Josh's age and that also went missing or died about the same time as Josh was abducted. Afterwards, he will try to cross-reference the photos of the parents of the missing kids with that one reference image that they have of Josh in a crowd shot and hopefully find a match. Maxine rebuffs the plan as being ludicrous and simply impossible, but before she could finish her thoughts, the Batcomputer finds the only possible match that Batman was hoping for.
Batman and Maxine hurry to the last known address of the woman that the Batcomputer found and doing a background research, Batman learns that the woman's kid, who looked exactly like Josh, went missing and was never found and Batman believes that the woman kidnapped Josh and took him as her own son. True to Batman's deduction, when they reach the woman's home, they realize that she had raised Josh as her own. Without delay, Max and Batman take Josh to the Gotham General Hospital, where he meets his real mother after seven years.
Unfortunately, Josh's real mother dies a few hours later. Batman and Max hide the truth from Josh in order to protect him and the kid never learns that she was her real mother. When Batman tells about the case to Gordon, the Commissioner apologizes for believing that the case was a dead-end and that Batman was wasting his time. However, Gordon is still intruigued as to why did Batman became so involved in this particular case, but the Dark Knight doesn't reply and instead just takes a longing look at the picture of Jason Todd that he keeps with him all the time. Without any other word, Batman jumps away into the dark night of Gotham City.
Appearing in "Dead Letter Office"
- Commissioner Gordon
- Maxine Kelly (Single appearance)
- Robin (Jason Todd) (In a photograph only)
- Tina Winston (Only appearance; dies)
- Willie Saunders (Single appearance)
- Josh Winston (Single appearance)
- St. Mark's Church
- Gotham City
- The story of this issue deals with the aftermath of Jason Todd's death during the "Batman: A Death in the Family" storyline.
- This story is reprinted in Batman: The Caped Crusader Vol. 2.