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"The Joker War Part Four": The Iceberg Lounge. Penguin's bunker for Gotham's criminals

Quote1.png So wake up, my boy. Tell this city who you are. Quote2.png
Alfred Pennyworth

Batman (Volume 3) #98 is an issue of the series Batman (Volume 3) with a cover date of November, 2020. It was published on September 1, 2020.

Synopsis for "The Joker War Part Four"

The Iceberg Lounge. Penguin's bunker for Gotham's criminals

Selina is still inside the bunker Penguin created for the criminals of Gotham in emergency situations, like a chaotic War that the Joker released in the city. Catwoman asks Cobblepot about news of the Bat, but Penguin confirms he seems to be out. Selina is destroyed by the fact that her own knowledge was key for the Joker to start and probably win this war, but she knows Bruce will find a way to get back.

In the end, she decides to leave. The Penguin tells her she cannot go anywhere: the bunker is closed until Joker stops and the city gets back to some kind of normality. But Selina answers back, telling Cobblepot she won't be the only one to get out. Oswald and Eddie will come as well. After all, wouldn't he like to become a billionaire?

Ivy and Harley's Eden. Batman's current location

Harley is trying to protect Batman from the attack of Punchline, Joker's new sidekick and girlfriend. Punchline almost killed Harley the last time they fought, but this time it will be different. Harley tries to make Punchline understands how the Joker does not care about anyone or anything outside his eternal fight with the Bat, but fails in doing so. Punchline reminds Harley of herself, back when she believed Joker might have an heart. But this won't make her hold back.

Meanwhile, Bruce is living inside a dream created by the effects of Harley's antidote against the new Joker Toxin developed by Punchline. Inside this dream, he can have a final confrontation with Alfred. Pennyworth tries to make Bruce understand that he knows he's afraid because he lost him, but he must not abandon his childhood dream. He became the Batman, a man who will do the impossible to save everyone in every situation. But he cannot bear the weight of his death along with him, if he wants the Batman to keep on living: he must start facing the fact that he won't be by his side anymore.

He should also stop getting away from the people he loves: he blames Damian because he was unable to help. He blames Dick because he was not in Gotham when he needed him. He blames Selina, because she made Bruce stay away from home too much. And while he was alone, he tried to force Gotham into becoming another place, opening the doors to the Joker and his awful plan. Batman is destroyed by Alfred's words, and he tells him he knows he failed. Abruptly, Alfred slaps Bruce in the face, angered. He is Batman, he should remember this. He needs to accept the world he lives in now, a world where he cannot be in control of everything.

The death of Thomas and Martha was not his fault. Alfred death was not either. There was nothing he could do to stop both events. He must know and believe in this, but he also must know that he was able to help so much people as Batman, and he still does. Every time he saves a life, he wins against death itself, and against the Joker. But he should not do this alone. Bruce tells him he never felt alone with Alfred by his side, but he cannot know if he will be able to keep on going without him. Alfred tells him he won't need his presence: his memory will have to be enough. After all, they know each other so well that Bruce can imagine everything Alfred would tell him, in all situations.

He's already finding a way to go on: this Alfred, telling him what to do, is the product of Bruce's mind after all. It's his way to get back on his feet, ready to counter. He must remember not to do it alone, though: he has a Family who will help him, every single time. He should just make the call and let the weight go. "So wake up, my boy. Tell his city who you are". These are Alfred's last words for Bruce, and so he does.

Bruce wakes up inside a burning field, with Punchline and Harley fighting to death. And as Punchline is shocked to see him already up, recovered from the Toxin she created, Bruce knocks her out, telling her who he is: Batman. Once again fully in control of himself, Bruce uses his Bat-Tery to repair his comm link inside the suit. Then he proceeds to call all the members of his Family, to help him in his final showdown against the clown prince of crime.

Appearing in "The Joker War Part Four"

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