"Savage City, Part Three": Batman has made his way into the Riddler's tower, while Jim Gordon and his tactical team have infiltrated the flooded subway tunnels beneath it, narrowly avoiding the Riddler's drone
- Go on. Tell me... Tell me how it feels to always be one step behind, oh great "detective."
- -- The Riddler
Appearing in "Savage City, Part Three"
- Batman (Flashback and main story)
Synopsis for "Savage City, Part Three"
Batman has made his way into the Riddler's tower, while Jim Gordon and his tactical team have infiltrated the flooded subway tunnels beneath it, narrowly avoiding the Riddler's drones. Meanwhile, Lucius Fox monitors their progress from the back of his van. Thanks to their efforts, Lucius has managed to trace the signal of the Riddler's nightly challenge message to a place beneath old Wayne Tower - perfectly fitting Nygma's penchant for thumbing his nose at his opponents. With Batman coming in from above and Jim from below, Lucius hopes that they will be able to pin Nygma between them before he can escape. Even so, Batman worries that tracing the signal and getting this far was all too easy. He is particularly suspicious about question-mark themed metal boxes posted on the walls in the tunnels.
Jim begs to differ, and one of the government agents on his tactical team reminds that they don't actually need to catch Nygma, they just need to find him so that the military can launch a pinpoint airstrike. Hearing this, Batman realizes that they're in a trap, and Lucius needs to activate his signal blocking device immediately. Unfortauntely, he's too late to get through to his friend. The Riddle has already found him - always one step ahead. Batman desperately dodges Nygma's drones as he rushes through the abandoned offices of Wayne Tower. In a leap of faith, he grabs one of the drones and crashes through an upper-story window, risking a fatal collision with the pavement.
Lucius, meanwhile, realizes that communications between his compatriots has been cut off, and is forced to drop to his knees as a drone riddles his van with bullets. The thing nearly kills him, if not for Batman's arrival, destroying it. Grimly, he admits that their plan to use the signal blocker is a bust. The device was destroyed - all a part of the Riddler's plan. Enraged, he swears that he will find Nygma. To that end, he set the surviving equipment to trace the signal again in case the Riddle turned on anything within the building, in the hopes that a comparison with the last trace would show them a pattern. However, when he looks at the readouts, he realizes with consternation that the boxes lining the tunnel walls are explosives, and Jim and his team are in danger. When they get close enough, the Riddler will manipulate the military agents' com devices and call the air strike, setting off the explosives, and sinking the entire city as a result.
With the air base nearly forty minutes away, Batman and Lucius have only time for one guess at where the Riddler might be. Batman has his own guess, but it doesn't match the pattern, as far as Lucius can see. Even if it is the right location, they don't have the signal-blocking device anymore. Batman warns that they will have to try their alternative plan - and make it work in less than 40 minutes.
As he hurries to the location of his guess, Bruce records a message for his estranged friend Alfred, admitting that he was right about Batman needing to mean something; something good. After two failures against the Riddler and a likely third failure to come, Bruce has come to see that maybe part of Batman's message is one of failing - only to try again until the job is done. A message of perseverance. While trying when failure seems inevitable might be madness in Alfred's eyes, it might just be the kind of madness that a city like Gotham rewards.
Rushing into the darkened museum hallway where he had first encountered the Riddler, Batman calls out, demanding to know if his guess was right, as he stands before the Sphinx exhibit. He is rewarded with a slow applause from Edward Nygma, who stands face to face with the Batman and simply asks how Bruce knew. Batman responds that the bounce pattern from the trace looked like a coil from the ancient Seteh game board - though the answer had been under his nose from the beginning. The Riddler had masked his obvious choice by making it seem unlikely that he would set ip shop so far from the central grid. With that riddle solved, Batman commands Nygma to call off the airstrike before millions die. His "Zero Year" game is over.
With a smirk, Nygma responds that the game is only just beginning.
- This book was first published on June 25, 2014.
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