"Breaking the Skin": Killer Croc has been kidnapped by Black Mask and placed inside a cage, several weeks earlier. Black Mask requested Mad Hatter to implant one of his mind controlling micro-chips inside Croc
Appearing in "Breaking the Skin"
Synopsis for "Breaking the Skin"
Killer Croc has been kidnapped by Black Mask and placed inside a cage, several weeks earlier. Black Mask requested Mad Hatter to implant one of his mind controlling micro-chips inside Croc's brain. After a few days, Black Mask goes to the cage where Croc is placed and he notices that he is scratching his head. After calling Hatter to make sure that everything is going fine, Tetch assures Black Mask that everything seems normal, despite the fact that he had never done an implant before. Black Mask needs Croc at the moment to go out on a special mission.
At that moment, Batman stares at Jason's Robin suit display case in the Batcave and soon decides to start patrolling the city. Batman spots some strange activities nearby a bank and he goes to investigate. Inside the bank is the False Face Society along with Killer Croc, who is being controlled by them and is wearing a hat too small for his enormous size. The False Facers command Croc to remove the vault's door and with little effort, Croc removes the door from its hinges. As the thieves get inside and start looting, Croc stays outside and scratches his head until he makes himself bleed and soon he removes the microchip from inside his brain. Without the mind-controlling chip, Croc regains control over his actions and he attacks the False Facers. Batman was busy taking care of the criminals outside the bank and by the time he gets inside, all he finds inside the vault are the dismembered bodies of the criminals and their blood all over the walls. Batman takes a quick look and realizes that this was Croc's job and he starts investigating the crime scene for any piece of useful evidence. He finds a bloody microchip on the floor and takes it. However, the Gotham City Police Department soon arrive at the scene and Batman is forced to make his way out of the bank through them as the officers shoot at him.
After losing the police, Batman starts following Croc's trail again, which takes him to the sewers. However, the time he spent with the police allowed Croc to get away and all Batman finds is the small hat that Croc was using.
Batman decides to start analyzing the evidence he found but the batcave is too far away and instead he goes to the former house of James Gordon, which was sold to Brad Westwood, an alias that Batman used to buy Gordon's house when the old man decided to sell it. Batman keeps the house exactly as Gordon left it, but he changed the basement and transformed it into a small batcave equipped with almost all of the original batcave's elements only smaller. Batman analyzes the chip and discovers that the technology is in fact one of Mad Hatter's mind control chips. Batman also analyzes the tissue left in the chip and learns something very disturbing about Killer Croc. While the machine is running the tests, Batman goes to the backyard of the house and starts thinking about all what he might be doing, but instead all he does is sit and wait in silence.
In the meantime, Killer Croc was asleep somewhere in the sewers and after he wakes up, the only thing he can think of is revenge against Mad Hatter. Batman reads the full result and knows that he must find Croc as soon as possible.Mad Hatter is sitting on his hideout, admiring his army of young women, all mind-controlled by the hats they're wearing, working to create more hats for him and he feels accomplished. Killer Croc comes inside breaking the walls down and he wants to make Hatter pay for what he did. Hatter tells the kidnapped girls to serve Croc as food, but Croc refuses to eat them and instead he frees the girls from Hatter's grip. When Croc and Hatter are left alone, Croc takes Hatter and prepares to devour the man when Batman arrives and saves him from a certain death. Batman starts fighting Croc and he uses some bolas to stop Hatter from escaping. Croc is curious as to why Batman cares if Hatter dies and Batman replies that he is also concerned if Croc dies. Batman then reveals that he discovered that Croc has a brain infection that would kill him if left untreated. Furthermore, the infection has triggered again the virus implanted in Croc by Hush and he has begun to mutate again only this time, Croc's immune system is not going to be able to stop the mutation and he will keep mutating until his death. Croc doesn't believe a word Batman told him and he jumps to attack Batman, who in turn takes the chance to inject a massive dose of antibiotic in Croc's tongue. Croc thinks that Batman has dosed him with tranquilizer and starts running away to prevent being captured and taken back to a cell. Batman allows Croc to go away and takes Mad Hatter instead.
Back in the sewers, Killer Croc vows to get Black Mask and make him pay.
- This book was first published on July 13, 2005.
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