"Their Dark Designs, Finale": Years Ago


Quote1.png I'm going to heal from this...I'm going to fight back. If you forgive me...we'll face what comes next...together. Wait for me, Selina. I'll be with you soon. Quote2.png
Batman

Batman (Volume 3) #94 is an issue of the series Batman (Volume 3) with a cover date of September, 2020. It was published on July 7, 2020.

Appearing in "Their Dark Designs, Finale"

Featured Characters:

  • Batman (Flashback and main story)

Supporting Characters:

Villains:

Other Characters:

Locations:

Synopsis for "Their Dark Designs, Finale"

Years Ago

A young Bruce Wayne, still traveling around the world to shape himself and become the creature known as Batman, meets with his last master, after following his clues: Cassander Wycliffe Baker, former greatest detective in the world, who, one day, mysteriously disappeared. He was the Designer's historic rival, and the man who brought him to become the perfect criminal. Bruce wanted him as his first master, but could not find him, not until he learned from the best. As he enters the home of Baker, the detective tells details about his training deducing them from minimal things, like the jacket Bruce wears or the cut of his hair. Stunned by how effortlessly Baker guessed everything about him, Bruce wants to learn. The man answers him, telling he will not teach him what he wants, but he will teach him a far more important lesson: how to lose.

The Present, Gotham City, Tricorner Yards, the office of Bruce Wayne

With a leg oozing blood from the sword Deathstroke put there, Batman is remembering what it means to lose. He remembers his first night fighting for Gotham, without the name or the costume, and the pain he suffered. He remembers almost giving up, after only one fight. But he kept pushing, and he will do this again. Lucius steps inside, and wraps the leg with a compression band: Bruce must go to the hospital to save his leg, and probably his life. Of course, the Dark Knight refuses to do so. Lucius informs him that lawyers already took Wayne Manor, and they are moving for his company. He will now abandon his role of support to Batman, getting back to his real job: the CEO of Wayne Enterprises.

Lucius explains to Bruce he is not Alfred: he does not have the skill or the will to do what Pennyworth did. He's been hired for other responsibilities, and now it is time he gets back to that business, before all gets taken away. Fox also informs Bruce that Selina was shot, and now she's at mercy hospital under the care of Tamara, Lucius' daughter. Batman asks him to put her on the phone, and she talks with Selina, telling her it's all his fault: after Alfred's death, he broke. He tried to become a better version of himself, and in doing so he became worse instead. He pushed everyone away. But he'll come back, he'll fight. And he hopes that in the end, they will get back together and face their problems.

Bruce then tells Lucius to call of the medics and contact Leslie Thompkins to prepare a safe suite for Selina. No one is safe: the Joker is about to turn Gotham into a dark place. As he says this, Deathstroke is leaving town. Observing Gotham's skyline, Slade feels some guilt for the nine millions citizens of the city: they do not know what is about to happen. As Bruce gets to the hospital, he finds Selina already disappeared, with Tamara not knowing what happened. It seems she escaped on her own, though. As Batman tells Tamara to flee, several of the Joker's goons come to the room, armed to the teeth. They get Batman communicating with the boss, who informs him of this: he must get stitched up, because he wants to have a lot of fun.

A War is coming: usually, he would fight with toy gadget built from random materials, with no resources at all. But now he has all the Batman's money, all the Batman's toys under Wayne Enterprises. There is no Catwoman, no GCPD and no Lucius Fox, as Punchline just kidnapped him. The city is in his hands, a mess fueled by Bruce's own fortune. As Bruce wanted to reshape the city in a new form, so will the Joker. And it will be a city built upon his own image. Joker closes the communication, ordering his thugs to shoot and kill everyone on the floor: Batman takes some bullets and saves Tamara's life, throwing himself, while holding her, out of the window. Meanwhile, Selina wakes up inside Penguin's private floor in the Iceberg Lounge, a place all criminals go to when things are about to get heavy. And when it's the Joker, the floor goes on full lockdown, even if Selina wants to get out.

In the end, Batman floats in the skies of Gotham, thinking about Alfred. He wanted him to become something else, something beyond Batman. He wanted him to take a second leap towards light, and not darkness, this time. Bruce asks a sign from Alfred, and a booming thunder explodes through the night: a shape of a red bat appears. And the Dark Night knows his dear friend listened and answered: he now must become a better Bat.



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