"Savage City, Part Two": As the sun rises over Gotham City, Lucius Fox recalls into his portable recorder how his son Luke used to look up at it when he was a boy and ask, "What is that circle of fire?" Typically, in Gotham, the sky wo
- Because what he can't see, what he'll never see, is that people notice smart when smart changes the world. When it adds something. But this man, all he cares about is himself. He isn't complicated. He's no riddle. He's just a boy, standing at the center of his village, screaming, "Look at me." Embarrassing himself in a cheap hat.
- -- Batman
Appearing in "Savage City, Part Two"
- Batman (Flashback and main story)
- Riddler (On a TV or computer screen)
- Lucas Fox (Mentioned only)
Synopsis for "Savage City, Part Two"
As the sun rises over Gotham City, Lucius Fox recalls into his portable recorder how his son Luke used to look up at it when he was a boy and ask, "What is that circle of fire?" Typically, in Gotham, the sky would be grey, but on rare occasions, the sun would rise brightly, and Luke would be so amazed. Lucius' reverie is interrupted as the Batman casts his shadow over him.
The pair meet with with Lieutenant Jim Gordon to discuss the situation in their city. The Riddler has seized control of Gotham and promises he will give back the electricity if anyone can best him with a riddle. Batman insists that the nightly challenge is not a battle of wits, but a taunt. He wants them to try to catch him and find his hiding spot. Lucius has determined that according to his method of syphoning the power, wherever he is, the Riddler is somewhere inside the city. He has been using whatever technology he has to make short connections to turn things on and off - never long enough for the signals to be traced. Lucius has created a device which could track it - but he'd need to be hooked up to the particular line that the Riddler was going to use - they'd need to know when and where he was going to turn on the power. Fortunately, thanks to his nightly challenge, they do.
Batman plans for Jim hook up the device while Lucius traces the signal from his hiding place. The Navy Seals that the government dropped off to parlay with the Riddler would protect him there. Batman, meanwhile, will keep the Riddler talking. The nightly challenge comes at sunset - which gives Batman enough time to go shopping. As he leaves, Lucius smells something burning, and Jim comments that Batman had used his steel cutter earlier - to cut out the shape of a bat.
At sundown, the Riddler appears on the big screen in the middle of the city and announces that it is now the twenty-seventh day of his so-called "Zero Year." As he delivers his challenge, Batman prepares, finally interrupting the long speech with the roar of his motorcycle's engine, newly adorned with a bat-symbol of its own. He announces that he will offer the challenge tonight - and the Zero Year will end with it. Hearing Batman in place, Lucius prepares to trace the signal while the vigilante keeps Nygma talking. Jim, meanwhile, is midway through the long climb to the top of the tower behind the big screens.
Clearly intrigued that his challenger is the Batman, Nygma guesses at what kind of riddle he might produce for him. Batman responds that it will be a riddle with its source in Gotham. When Jim plants the device, Lucius realizes with frustration that it will be at least nineteen minutes before he can trace the signal. Batman admits that his riddle is simple, though the Riddler keeps interrupting him in his explanation. Gritting his teeth, Batman warns that if Nygma really wants to hear the riddle, he'll have to shut up and let him tell it.
A drone blocks Jim's escape back down the ladder, and he is forced to stay in place while Batman tells the riddle with seventeen minutes left to go. Batman describes a very intelligent boy - an observant boy - whose brilliance no one seems to notice. So, to get their attention, the boy starts proving his intelligence by breaking into corporate databanks and government safe-blocks. Still, though, no one seems to appreciate his effort. When he becomes a man, he works for some of the most powerful people in the world, but his intelligence remains taken for granted. He reaches the point where he begins peacocking in the hopes of winning the attention he craves. So, why doesn't anyone see him? Because he fails to see is that people only notice smart people when they contribute to the world. All this man cares about is himself, and drawing attention to himself.
The Riddler is intelligent enough to know that Batman is talking about him and turns the tables, analysing the man under the cowl - just a man who used to affect things. He is likely an ex-soldier put out to pasture after returning home. Batman responds that he's not even close and offers another guess. The Riddler doesn't believe that he's wrong, and decides that this was a waste of his time. Meanwhile, Lucius and Jim beg Batman to make an escape before he is dropped into the pit with the Riddler's jackals - their trace is worth nothing if he dies.
Batman refuses to budge, and ends up dropped into the pit. Worriedly, Jim insists that he has to help, but with the drone watching him, he can't get down easily. Desperately, he makes a leap of faith in the hopes that he will get past the drone and land safely in one of the flooded subway line's stairwells. Convinced of his victory, the Riddler declares that the challenge is over, but he is interrupted by Batman, who dares him to watch as his mousetrap is beaten. Begrudgingly, the Riddler agrees to watch - but with the warning that he has upgraded from jackals to lions.
Batman recalls his youth in school, when a teacher called on him for a question in physics class, trying to determine the wind-resistance encountered by a projectile fired at a given speed that hits its target. The teacher had made an example of him, keeping everyone behind until he deigned to answer the problem. As then, there are now people depending on Bruce to solve a problem - and there are still seven minutes before the trace is successful.
Down in the ruins of the parking garage that the Riddler is calling a coliseum, Batman hides under an old car and stabs a hole in its gas tank, allowing the fluid to pour into his mouth. With a lighter in his hand, he approaches the lions and breathes fire at them before kicking a hole through the window of the vehicle. The lion jumps in after him, and a struggle ensues. From above, the citizens react with horror, concerned that the lions got him. The Riddler prepares to declare the event over when someone calls out, drawing attention to Batman's successful emergence from the destroyed vehicle - the lion hog-tied inside it.
Ripping the bat emblem from his bike, Batman approaches the Lion he had singed earlier and fights it off as he shouts out one more question for the Riddler. With one minute remaining, Batman subdues the lion and calls out "Is that all you've got?!" Finally, Lucius collects the data he needs, but the Riddler does have more to lob at Batman. Specifically, all of the cars in the lot. The platforms on which they rest begin to tilt, and gravity sets in. As the cars begin to fall toward him, Batman is startled by two gunshots, and he sees Jim Gordon guiding him to a safe space. He rushes through the open doorway just as the cars come crashing down.
The night after his being made an example of in class, Bruce's teacher returned home to find a ring of fire burning into his lawn. When he was asked what the act of vandalism might mean to him, the teacher realized that it was the answer to the trick question he'd asked. The answer was zero.
- This book was first published on May 28, 2014.
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