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"Dark Knight, Dark City": Jacob Stockman writes a diary confession in 1793. He was part of a group of six men who performed an occult ritual known as the "Ceremony of the Bat." This group also included [[Thomas Jefferson (New Earth)|Thomas Jeff

Quote1.png I've a good riddle for you. Who's sweaty and scared and totally expendable? Quote2.png
The Riddler

Batman #452 is an issue of the series Batman (Volume 1) with a cover date of August, 1990.

Synopsis for "Dark Knight, Dark City"

Jacob Stockman writes a diary confession in 1793. He was part of a group of six men who performed an occult ritual known as the "Ceremony of the Bat." This group also included Thomas Jefferson. They had summoned the daemon Barbathos, and needed to sacrifice a victim so they could control it. Their victim was a young girl who had been specially prepared and drugged, making her into a "Human Bat."

The Ceremony of the Bat

Stockman placed her on their Black Altar to stab her through the heart. Jefferson did not realize they intended to murder the girl, and he attempted to stop Stockman. Barbathos was released and they could not control it without a sacrifice. The six men ran to escape the evil they had unleashed.

The Riddler has changed.

In the present day, Commissioner Gordon has called Batman to meet him on the roof of GCPD Headquarters. They have received a threatening phone call from the Riddler. Gordon explains that he has given several Gotham criminals their own codeword, so they can prove their identity when calling the GCPD. The Riddler chose "Oedipus" as his codename, because Oedipus solved the "Riddle of the Sphinx." Gordon remarks that Oedipus was an odd choice, because medical records suggest the Riddler hated his own mother. The Riddler demanded that Gordon and "The Hanging Man" (his codeword for Batman) be there at midnight. Batman and Gordon are approached by a young woman who has climbed the side of the building. This woman is wearing a lion outfit, making her resemble the mythological Sphinx. She has been drugged or hypnotized and she recites a riddle to Batman. "Generally my leaves aren't turned at night. Usually I'm full of worms by day. Lots of words but deathly quiet." Then she jumps backwards to her death. Batman attempts to save the woman by throwing his batline to catch her foot. She crashes through the window of an Italian restaurant and dies of her injuries. Gordon believes the Riddler is at the Gotham Memorial Cemetery and takes the police there. Batman decides to work alone, and the riddle takes him to Gotham University's library.

"Kissing a hanged man"

The Riddler is inside Gotham University Library, where he has taken two security guards prisoner. He taunts them as they beg for their lives, and shoots one of them in the head for being useless. The other guard is tied up with a noose around his neck, standing on a stack of books. The Riddler challenges Batman to save the guard's life, and knocks the books out underneath him. Batman severs the noose with a batarang, and does CPR on the guard while the Riddler escapes. The guard is taken to the hospital, where he survives with a severed spinal cord. Batman is approached by another police officer, who tells him that four babies were kidnapped out of the hospital. The babies had no ransom value, and a cassette for Batman was left in their place. The cassette has another riddle. "I'm a bank with no money. But I've all different types."

This leads Batman to the West Gotham Blood Transfusion Center, a blood bank. Batman does not understand what the Riddler gains from these crimes, and he feels like a rat running through a maze. Batman brutally takes down two henchmen outside the blood bank, and follows the Riddler inside.

"Bathing in blood"

The Riddler throws a baby, and Batman dives to catch it. He is able to save the baby and snag the Riddler with his batline. However, the baby is a decoy bomb, and it explodes. The Riddler escapes and several other bombs go off, covering Batman in transfusion blood. Batman rushes to the Batmobile and chases the Riddler in his car. He almost catches the Riddler, but is forced to brake when he sees a baby in the road. Batman barely manages not to kill the baby, and the Riddler escapes again. The baby is holding a tarot card for the "Hanged Man."

Batman returns to Wayne Manor and ponders the details of the case. Alfred reads the riddle on the back of the tarot card. "I've still three brats, so plump and round. Hey, Bats, let rip as in Byron's Parisina. Seek out -- less often sought than found." Batman suggests that the Riddler might have no intention other than making Batman look stupid. However, he feels like there is something more to this. He also senses that he is being watched. Alfred deciphers the riddle, and it leads Batman to the Gotham Military Cemetery. Batman arrives at the cemetery, and is surprised when a zombie crawls out of the ground.

Appearing in "Dark Knight, Dark City"

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