"A Simple Case": Not long after the Zero Year, a body was discovered less than a foot from the old city limit of Gotham. Seeing the corpse, Batman was consumed by a need to see someone pay for it. When [[James Gordon (Prime Earth)|Commissioner Gordon]
- In the end, a simple case. He knows it. As simple as a boy who wanted to cut through it all. To pretend like none of it mattered. Until it all caught up with him. Until all of it mattered. And he thinks about how the boy must have felt then, how badly he must have wanted to run, to fly away. The marsh. The City line, so close. He can feel it all, right there. The boy flew. But Batman will stay. Because he got it wrong. He sees that now. Because there was someone to catch. Cobblepot. Tano. Howler. The man in the alley. Bruce Wayne. The whole city and no one else. But above it all, the one to catch was the boy. Before he fell.
- -- Narrator
Appearing in "A Simple Case"
- Batman (Flashback and main story)
- Peter Duggio (Appears in flashback and appears as a corpse in main story)
- Daryl Gutierrez (First appearance chronologically) (also disguised as Mister Bloom)
- Four Fives (First appearance) (Flashback and main story)
- Tano Canacod (First appearance) (Flashback and main story)
- Penguin (Flashback and main story)
- Alfred Pennyworth
- Jim Gordon
- Ned Howler (Flashback and main story)
- Thomas Duggio (Flashback and main story)
Synopsis for "A Simple Case"
Not long after the Zero Year, a body was discovered less than a foot from the old city limit of Gotham. Seeing the corpse, Batman was consumed by a need to see someone pay for it. When Commissioner Gordon arrived on the scene, Batman explained that this was Peter Duggio - a fifteen year old boy from the Narrows. He was shot four times and dumped. What killed him, though, was the fall, from nearly a thousand feet. Though the likelihood of someone flying over that area was low, somebody obviously had.
Suspecting the Penguin, who had once been an associate of the Red Hood Gang, and had since begun smuggling contraband into the city via airships. This had helped to build him something of an empire in Gotham's underworld. When Batman confronted him, Cobblepot claimed that never heard the name of Peter Duggio. Grimly, Batman trapped him in a cage dangling from a rope and painted that rope with serum bird feed, attracting birds to peck away at the rope with the knowledge that it would soon snap.
Desperate, Penguin explained that while he had been overseeing the plans for the creation of the Iceberg Casino, Peter Duggio had accosted him with an offer to do business. He'd been running a bodega, and his father - who owned it - had been put in the hospital by the Zero Year, unlikely to recover. The bank now wanted to take control of that building, and rebuild the area. Vacant, the building became the hub for the Four Fives gang, who had already claimed Peter's brother. So Peter swore that he wouldn't let the building fall to the gang as well. To that end, he suggested that the Penguin sell out of the store while he ran it. Penguin took the deal to spite the Five Fours, but since then, Peter turned up dead - after the Penguin turned the store over to the Five Fours as a peace offering.
When Batman visited the sight of the old store, which had since burnt down, he encountered the head of the Five Fours, who explained that Peter had burned the place down himself. He tipped Batman off to a cop who had become paranoid about gang behavior in the area, and pre-emptively shot Peter. He'd thought he'd killed the kid, but when he came back to the area, he found the body was gone.
Batman visited the boy's dying father and encountered his cousin there. He explained that he had told Peter to go to Bruce Wayne, and not the cops and the gangs like he had. Bruce Wayne had okayed the development in the area, but if Peter couldn't convince him, he had no option but to push back by following the Batman's example.
In an uninhabited section of the Corner, what was once called Blossom Row had become an overgrown ruin since the Zero Year. It had become like a garden. Peter had gone to see a man there, and that man had given him a drug derived from the works of Kirk Langstrom.
When Batman arrives at the overgrown place, there is no trace of the man who gave Peter the poison that might have given him powers. After being shot, Peter had apparently survived and transformed, growing wings that carried him to the sky. Peter flew, but no one was there to catch him when he fell.
Worried by what he had learned - about his own carelessness, Batman stopped by a gang of troubled thugs on the street, and instead of scaring them off, he offered to hear out their stories, hoping not to miss out on the chance to catch them, should they fall too.
- This book was first published on September 9, 2015.
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