"Identity Crisis: Part One": It is almost dawn in Gotham City when Batman responds to gun shots. He encounters a masked gunman who shoots four people, killing two. Batman disarms the gunman and slams into him. Pulling off the mask he finds a sixty-seven year woman
- When you put on the suit, you become larger than life. You become a symbol. And then you don't have a choice. You have to live up to what you've made yourself into. The mask hides your fear. No one knows what you're thinking. And it's double edged. It frightens your enemies and feeds your strength. But no suit-- no mask-- can ever hide you from yourself!
- — Batman
Synopsis for "Identity Crisis: Part One"
It is almost dawn in Gotham City when Batman responds to gun shots. He encounters a masked gunman who shoots four people, killing two. Batman disarms the gunman and slams into him. Pulling off the mask he finds a sixty-seven year woman who later explains her actions as a whim. Meanwhile reporter Vicki Vale takes pictures of some homeless people for an article in View Magazine. As she leaves, another criminal, wearing an identical mask as the old woman, arrives and attacks the homeless men with an axe.
Tim Drake has a dream where he is tormented over his mother's death by images of Batman and Nightwing. In the dream, Tim seems most distraught by the heroes' masks. Batman wakes him up and reminds him that today is his mother's funeral. Vicki developes her photographs and discovers that she has an image of the masked criminal who attacked the homeless men. Bruce and Alfred watch a newsreport of yet another man dressed in the same mask who killed eight people in a store before being shot/killed by policemen. He is identified as Josef Macky. Tim is in the Batcave looking at Jason Todd's Robin costume and begins to understand the desire to wear a mask and take revenge. Bruce advises Tim to accept his anger instead of fighting it. They leave for the funeral.
Vicki watches a news report of the homeless men who were attacked. After killing three of the homeless men, the killer was pushed by the others into their fire. He is identified as a bus driver. Vicki reinspects the photos thinking she may have evidence that the police can use. She enlarges a car leaving the scene in order to get the license plate number. At the funeral Dick Grayson offers Tim his help and speaks with Bruce who tells him that Tim wants to wear the Robin costume but that bruce doesn't want that. Vicki takes the photo of the license plate to the police. Lt. Kitch tells her that they already had the number and had traced it to Rico Marcuse who said he was driving by on his way to work. They could find no connection between him and the ax-killer. Vicki's not convinced and decides to track Rico down herself.
After Tim searches unsuccessfully on the computer all afternoon trying to link the various murderers, Bruce decides to hit the streets and denies Tim's requests to join him. Batman tells Tim he doesn't think Tim's ready for the responsibility that comes with the mask. Tim says he doesn't understand and Batman tells him that, when he does, he might be ready. Batman orders Tim to stay put or he'll never get the chance to be Robin. Meanwhile, Vicki tracks Rico to his workplace and finds his car. As she decides her course of action, she is confronted by a sledge-hammer wielding masked man.
Appearing in "Identity Crisis: Part One"
- Rico Marcuse (Behind the scenes)
- Skeleton-Masked Criminals
- Unnamed Woman
- Unnamed Man
- Joseph Macky (Only appearance; dies)
- This is the first Batman comic by the new creative team of Alan Grant, Norm Breyfogle and Steve Mitchell. They continue their last story from Detective Comics #621, further developing the origin of Tim Drake as Robin.
- This issue is reprinted in the Robin: A Hero Reborn trade paperback, in Robin: Reborn and in Batman: The Caped Crusader Vol. 4.
- This issue credits Kevin Breyfogle as 'art assistant'.