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"The Joker War, Part One": Many Years Ago, the streets of Gotham City

Quote1 I don't know that this battle will ever end. Quote2

Batman (Volume 3) #95 is an issue of the series Batman (Volume 3) with a cover date of September, 2020. It was published on July 21, 2020.

Synopsis for "The Joker War, Part One"

Many Years Ago, the streets of Gotham City

Batman is talking with Alfred about the bodies he found in a chemical plant, tests to Joker's new kind of toxin. They talk about the kind of criminal the Joker is: to call him just insane seems an oversimplification to Bruce. It's like all people in Gotham, probably in the whole world, are just dead meat to him. Everyone besides Batman. Bruce has the feeling that for the clown, only him and the Bat are alive in the world, and everything should be a dance, an eternal fight between them. And the Dark Knight is afraid that the battle will never really end once and for all. Alfred hears the apprehension in his words, and assures him he will be by his side in this and every fight against Joker.

Park Row. Crime Alley

The Joker is inside Monarch Theater, the last place where the Wayne Family was alive together. He bought the place with Bruce's money. He's organizing a show for Batman: he needs to find some classics, as he knows that people always claim they want something new, but it's a lie. They want to see classic things, all in the right place: the right characters saying the right things, all over again. They want to study what they saw hundreds of times and find a way to peel back the skin to reveal a new aspect they never noticed. And Batman will be in great company: all of Gotham will get to the Theater to see the show! Several citizens are already in the seats, with a big grin on their faces!

The present, inside the Gotham Aqueduct

Batman is fighting several of the Joker's goons while inside his Batmobile: they got access to some of his weapons and gadgets and they are trying to take him. Meanwhile, the media talk about what happened in these last few days: Wayne Enterprises was bought by a new person, while Bruce Wayne is under investigation for his connections with Gotham's most known vigilante Batman. The Gotham Gazette received a huge offer to cancel its editorial about Joker being the man now controlling the company. New legal counsel Harlan Graves denied the accusations.

As the Joker told Bruce, he's taking control of his company and of his Manor. He will find a way to access all of his toys and use them against him. Punchline is inside the Tricorner Yards Campus: she punctured Lucius Fox with three blades covered with some kind of Joker toxin. Of course, this will help Punchline break the will of Lucius to obtain the information Joker needs. She's interested in the place they are right now: it's the Hibernaculum, a laboratory where Lucius and Bruce develop new kinds of tech for Batman to use.

Meanwhile, the Underbroker, also known as elite private lawyer Harlan Graves, is dealing with Commissioner Bullock: he wants all the pressure the law is putting on Wayne Enterprises to disappear, as even Gotham's mayor just made a TV intervention to ask police to let Wayne Enterprises have some peace. Harvey is pissed off: he tells Graves everyone of them knows who his boss is. The Joker, a mass-murdering psychopath who should already not exist anymore in this planet. They won't give up without a fight. Graves then highlights to Harvey that all the equipment of the GCPD and the new headquarters were bought by Wayne Enterprises, and that if he keeps pushing about Joker he'll find himself stripped of his role of Commissioner. As Bullock continues to argue and fight, he is clearly already losing support of many GCPD agents.

Graves enters the campus and puts on his mask, taking on his more known alias: the Underbroker. He gives directives to buy every single cinema or theatre in town, from big chains to local places. Orders from the boss. He does not know that the Batman is listening just outside, ready to strike. The Dark Knight enters his secret cave inside Tricorner Yards, hoping to find a way to get into Joker's operations: Punchline is there, waiting for him. She attacks, telling him Lucius had to reveal all about his secret "crisis caves" around Gotham. This one is the girl's favorite: it was part of Gotham's rebuild that Bruce was trying to start up. In there, she even found a new costume: a bright costume, with a shining cape and cowl.

Bruce never saw it: it's the costume of a better Batman. A knight of light instead of darkness. He asks Lucius if he designed it, but Fox tells him he did not: he found it in the computer and thought it was Bruce's idea, so he created it. But this does not matter know: Batman starts to feel strange. Punchline tells him he covered the whole cave in her own breed of toxin: Joker's plus some Fear Toxin and some Venom to keep the Bat from dying. Bruce is not immunized for this new mixture, it seems, and the effects start taking him. As he hears the voice of Alfred communicating with him. he tries to flee when a Bat-Plane approaches, shooting in his direction.

Appearing in "The Joker War, Part One"

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