"Their Dark Designs, Part 5": The Diamond District, Gotham City
Synopsis for "Their Dark Designs, Part 5"
The Diamond District, Gotham City
Deathstroke tries to contact his team of killers, without realizing that Batman and his allies already put them out of the game. An unexpected ally of the Bat is Harley Quinn, currently given control of the Bat-Swarm, a fleet of drones armed with rubber bullets: she's using those to keep Deathstroke busy, and she's definitely enjoying it. Bruce tells Lucius to keep her in control until she's non-lethal against the mercenary, while he talks with Selina about what was her involvement with the Designer.
Selina explains to Bruce that all happened a little time after he debuted as the Caped Crusader of Gotham. She was still in her professional thief career, and she received one day a card with an emblem of the letter "D" upon it. Out of curiosity and excitement, Selina decided to follow the invitation on it, presenting a place and a time. Catwoman suspected who was the sender of that card: a legendary criminal many believed just a tale of the underworld, known to be the mastermind behind the greatest criminal plans of all time. As she arrived to the place indicated by the card, she discovered she was not the only one invited: three other criminals were there, the most powerful in Gotham. The Riddler, the Penguin and the Joker.
Welcomed inside Tartarus House, they were met by the Designer himself, who invited them to take a seat. He was there to offer help: he followed their careers with passion, but saw that they failed, times and times again, to defeat a common enemy: the Dark Knight, Batman. Selina is trying to make Bruce understand why the Designer came to them: in those early days, the Batman was relentless. He pushed and he was on the brink to kick corruption out of Gotham City. Then he changed, with the sidekicks and being a role model for them, but that intensity in fighting crime he had back in the beginning, that's what brought the Designer to Gotham.
The Designer told a story to the four criminals: before becoming the man he is today, he had a rival. A detective, just like the one they are facing him. He tried to unwit him, and he tried the same. He planned for one degree of complexity, and he answered with two. The detective won, time and time again, and the criminal almost surrendered. Then he realized what he had to do: step out of the game and grow. Exponentially. Grow so much in talent and planning that, in a certain timespan, the detective could not reach him anymore. And so he locked himself in a room for one year, and came out a different man. He came out as The Designer. And the detective was broken, turned into a shadow of himself and forgotten by history.
He wants to offer these four the same opportunity: his help, to grow into their final forms. To become undefeatable by the Dark Knight and rule over Gotham City in a tetrarchy of crime, until they would grow bored out of it. As payment, half of what they reap from the city once they unleash their plans, and then he will disappear, never to be seen by them again. One by one, the Designer talked about their craft, their ambitions and desires: Catwoman developed a plan to rob the fortune of an entire company out of nothing, Penguin a scheme of assassins to end becoming the Mayor of Gotham City and the Riddler an enigmatic labyrinth so complex that law would never recover after it. But then everything changed: the time passed by, with the Joker and the Designer speaking inside that same room she were.
The mastermind criminal must have understood: he was evolving them to their ultimate form, and he saw what Joker's ultimate form was going to be. Total chaos, an abyss with no end. And this would explain what happened moments later: coming out of his office, the Designer ordered to kill all four of them, because he saw what they were going to do with the city, especially the clown. Without weapons, the four criminals had to work to survive, but Joker of course hid a little gun somewhere on him, getting it out and blowing the brains of the Designer and his goons. Penguin and Riddler were enraged by the missed opportunity: Cobblepot organized for the body to be dismissed, suggesting to keep the Designer a myth, never telling anyone about the meeting.
As they watched the fire burn Tartarus House, Selina saw for the first time what the clown prince of crime would become. A being of pure evil. But in the present, Bruce still feels Catwoman is keeping something away from him. So Selina tells him: the Designer someway survived, and he still has the plans he developed for them. He's executing them, and Selina's plan was to steal the entire fortune of a certain family. Bruce then tells her he already suspected what he's going to tell him: Catwoman's masterplan was to deprive the Wayne Family of all the fortune they had. The Batman is going bankrupt.
Appearing in "Their Dark Designs, Part 5"
- Batman (Flashback and main story)
- Catwoman (Flashback and main story)
- Harley Quinn
- The Joker (Flashback only)
- The Penguin (Flashback only)
- Riddler (Flashback only)
- Alfred Pennyworth (Mentioned only)
- Cassander Wycliffe Baker (First appearance) (Flashback only)
- Falcone Crime Family (Mentioned only)
- Lucius Fox (Phone call only)
- Mr. Teeth
- Robin (Dick Grayson) (Flashback only)
- Wayne Enterprises (Mentioned only)
- Gotham City (Flashback and main story)
- Diamond District
- Wayne Manor (Mentioned only)
- Tartarus House (Destroyed)
- Tower of London (Mentioned only)
- The issue was reprinted on March 25, 2020.