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"Batman & Son, Part 4: Absent Fathers": Talia al Ghul continues holding the Prime Minister's wife hostage with the League of Assassins. She explains to her captive that this isn't about terrorism or kidnapping,

Quote1.png Together we can raise our son to be Master of the Earth. Quote2.png
Talia al Ghul

Batman #658 is an issue of the series Batman (Volume 1) with a cover date of December, 2006. It was published on November 8, 2006.

Synopsis for "Batman & Son, Part 4: Absent Fathers"

Talia al Ghul continues holding the Prime Minister's wife hostage with the League of Assassins. She explains to her captive that this isn't about terrorism or kidnapping, it's about her and what she wants. The ninjas inject themselves with Man-Bat Serum, turning into Man-Bat Commandos.

Batman rushes back to the Batcave with Damian, and finds Robin bleeding on the floor. He's furious, but Damian defends himself. Damian explains that Robin was his rival, and it's his right to replace him as Batman's true son. They get Alfred out of the room Damian locked him in, although he is unhurt. Alfred works to recuperate Tim with the cave's emergency medical supplies. Batman declares that Damian is too dangerous to be left alone, and Damian asks to help stop his mother. Batman is furious at Damian for breaking his trust, and explains their no-kill rule. However, Damian proves himself useful by giving Talia's location as Gibraltar. Batman begrudgingly agrees to take him along.

They leave in the Batmobile. Kirk Langstrom and his wife Francine are arguing about their marriage. Francine is about to destroy his bottle of serum, but Batman stops her and asks for their help.

Damian questions how they can make it to Gibraltar in time, and Batman reveals that he has a Bat-Rocket. They travel into space together, and Damian asks Batman about his childhood. Bruce explains that his father wasn't a warrior, he was just a good man.

Talia begins her take-over of Gibraltar. It's explained that this is a tribute to Ra's al Ghul, who described it as the perfect tactical outpost. The British army is forced to stand down when Talia threatens to have the Prime Minister's wife fed to cannibals. While the troops drop their arms, Man-Bat Commandos slaughter civilians in the streets. Talia has her bodyguard Bulu shoot up with serum, and warns him that Batman is coming. Before she can finish her sentence, Batman and Damian drop down onto their submarine. They take down Bulu together and rescue the Prime Minister's wife. Batman explains that Langstrom is helping the British army with anti-Man-Bat tactics, and her plans have been foiled.

Talia reveals that this entire plot was a gambit to reunite them. She tells Bruce that she's giving him one last chance to reform her. If he agrees, they could combine their resources and fight crime side-by-side. She wants them to fulfill her father's wishes and become a family again. They will raise Damian to become the master of Earth, as the child of its greatest crimefighter and the daughter of its greatest crimelord. She promises that if he joins her, she'll never threaten civilization again and their dynasty will rule the planet for a thousand years. Bruce tells her their love was a long time ago, and it's over now. Talia is furious at him for spurning her. She announces that it's war and he's responsible, with the world as their gameboard. Talia asks Damian which one of them he'd like to stay with, and he says he'd prefer for them to stay together. Batman angrily tells Talia that human lives are not a game. Their submarine is hit by a torpedo, and Batman escapes but no bodies are found in the wreckage.

Appearing in "Batman & Son, Part 4: Absent Fathers"

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Other Characters:






  • The title "Absent Fathers" is a reference to Bruce Wayne's deceased father, Thomas Wayne.[1] Damian is a different kind of orphan, as both of his parents were never there for him.[2]
  • The Shakespeare Bust from the 1966 Batman television series is briefly seen at Wayne Manor.
  • The woman Bruce rescues is mentioned to be the Prime Minister of England's wife. Her name is not given in-story, however at the time it would have been Tony Blair's wife Cherie Blair.
  • In the Batcave, one of the artifacts visible is a helmet belonging to Legionary. Legionary is reintroduced with the rest of the Batmen of All Nations in the Club of Heroes storyline.[3]
  • The final page has a "Joker card" on the next issue banner, but the Joker doesn't return until Batman #663. Originally, "The Clown at Midnight" would have immediately followed but was pushed back for some unknown reason.

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