Synopsis for "Batman & Son, Part 1: Building a Better Batmobile"
Commissioner Gordon is thrown off a rooftop by the Joker and caught by the GCPD, laughing from Joker Venom all the way down. On the rooftop, Joker has caught someone he believes to be Batman and is beating him to death with a crowbar while disabled children tied to the Jokercopter watch.
This man is revealed to be an impostor when he takes out a gun and shoots Joker in the face. The real Batman arrives in time to rescue the Joker and take the impostor into custody. He carries Joker to the ambulance through an alleyway covered in the graffiti phrase "Zur En Arrh," then throws Joker into a dumpster and leaves. In the hospital afterwards, Gordon recovers from the Joker toxin while they discuss the case. Gordon explains that the impostor was an ex-cop who snapped and put on a Batsuit, then congratulates Batman as Joker was the last major criminal he needed to put away.
Back at Wayne Manor, Bruce exercises, is served his dinner alone, and repairs the Batsuit in preparation for the next night. In the Batcave, he mentions to Alfred that Gordon said he should get out of the city more, and Alfred returns that Bruce is using his Batman growl in everyday speech. Robin arrives and explains that the city is dead, as rumors have spread that Batman finally had enough and shot Joker in the face. Bruce approves of the rumors, and Tim sees he is developing a new Batmobile but Bruce tells him not to peek. Robin leaves by motorcycle to spend some time on his own in the mountains, and reminds Bruce that the last time he took a vacation he returned energized enough to wipe out Gotham's super-crime in a month. Bruce agrees that he needs to loosen up as he is seeing super-villains everywhere. Elsewhere, Talia al Ghul and the League of Assassins threaten Kirk Langstrom. They kidnap his wife Francine and inject her with a degenerative neuro-bacillus that will cripple her in 24 hours unless he delivers them the Man-Bat Serum. Talia observes Bruce's plane by satellite with a small boy next to her, and says his past is catching up with him.
Bruce travels to an Action for Africa fundraiser in London, where he meets with the nervous Langstrom who excuses himself and hands over the serum to the League.
Alfred coaches Bruce on his millionaire playboy persona, as his voice has become too gravelly and it's been too long since he's been on the gossip columns. He asks him when was the last time he really enjoyed being an international playboy, and mentions girlfriends of the past such as Julie Madison, Kathy Kane, Silver St. Cloud, and Vicki Vale. They practice tone and posture.
The gala is held in a museum exhibition displaying early comic book artwork. Bruce attends the gala fundraiser and enjoys flirting with socialites and starlets, although Alfred tells him to lose the growl and retreats to the car. Talia observes the party with her child, and the boy is able to recognize Bruce Wayne as his father. It's shown that they now have an army of Man-Bat Commandos, and Talia says they will now say hello.
Appearing in "Batman & Son, Part 1: Building a Better Batmobile"
- Gotham City Police Department
- Francine Langstrom
- Kirk Langstrom
- Alfred Pennyworth
- The Joker
- League of Assassins
- Three Ghosts of Batman (First appearance)
- Bat-Cop (First appearance)
- Santa Claus (Mentioned only)
- Earl of Wordenshire (Mentioned only)
- Doctor Kaminsky (Mentioned only)
- Killer Croc (Mentioned only)
- Kathy Kane (Mentioned only)
- Julie Madison (Mentioned only)
- Silver St. Cloud (Mentioned only)
- Tamara (socialite)
- Vicki Vale (Mentioned only)
- New Earth
- Zur-En-Arrh (Mentioned only)
- This issue is reprinted in the Batman and Son and Batman and Son: New Edition.
- Grant Morrison takes over writing duties with this issue, beginning his multi-year Batman saga. He has worked on Batman previously in JLA (Volume 1), Arkham Asylum, and the "Gothic" storyline, though the last of these works was over ten years prior.
- Joker's next appearance happens in Batman #663.
- The alleyway Batman carries Joker through is filled with graffiti, displaying the repeated phrase Zur-En-Arrh. This is a reference to the Batman of Zur-En-Arrh, a Silver Age story about another planet where Batman gained Superman-like powers. The significance of this graffiti will be revealed during Batman R.I.P. when it's used by Doctor Hurt as a psychological trigger to destroy Bruce Wayne's mind.
- The Batman impostor who shoots Joker in this issue is Bat-Cop of the Three Ghosts of Batman. His presence in this story won't be explained until later Batman #664.
- Jim Gordon speaks of Batman's "crime blitz" that put away every major criminal except Two-Face. He is speaking of Two-Face's escape during the "Face the Face" event.
- Bruce is building a new Batmobile in this issue. It won't be revealed until "Batman R.I.P.".
- Alfred mentions a number of women Bruce Wayne has dated including Kathy Kane, the original Batwoman. This is the first Post-Crisis mention of her character as she has not been seen since her death. This is not the Batwoman also named Katherine Kane appearing in 52 (Volume 1). This discrepancy will be addressed several years later when Morrison concretely establishes the two women as separate characters.
- This issue reintroduces the character Ibn al Xu'ffasch as Damian Wayne. Ibn al Xu'ffasch was introduced in 1987 as the secret infant son of Batman and Talia in Batman: Son of the Demon. However, he made no further appearances and was officially retconned out of continuity during Zero Hour. He is seen in silhouette in this issue, not making his first full appearance until next issue.
- The title "Building a Better Batmobile" is a reference to the phrase "building a better mousetrap."
- Bruce Wayne is shown bench-pressing at least two 500 lbs weights, which establishes that he can bench-press at least 1000 lbs in optimal conditions.
- This issue establishes that Alfred feeds the bats in the Batcave. He specifically mentions that they prefer "free-range corn-fed chicken goujons gently fried in extra virgin olive oil".
- Alfred mentions that he's currently reading a book in the Artemis Fowl series. This is a humorous reference, as the main character's butler in that series is a burly trained killer protecting his master from harm.
- Batman Recommended Reading
- Batman (Volume 1)
- Batman (Volume 2)
- Batman (Volume 3)
- Batman and Robin (Volume 1)
- Batman and Robin (Volume 2)
- Batman Confidential (Volume 1)
- Batman: Gotham Knights (Volume 1)
- Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight (Volume 1)
- Batman: Shadow of the Bat (Volume 1)
- Batman: Streets of Gotham (Volume 1)
- Batman Incorporated (Volume 1)
- Batman Incorporated (Volume 2)
- Batman/Superman (Volume 1)
- Batman/Superman (Volume 2)
- Batman: The Dark Knight (Volume 1)
- Batman: The Dark Knight (Volume 2)
- The Brave and the Bold (Volume 1)
- Detective Comics (Volume 1)
- Detective Comics (Volume 2)
- Superman/Batman (Volume 1)
- World's Finest (Volume 1)