"Batman vs Robin, Part One: The Haunting of Wayne Manor": With his spine healed, Damian Wayne decides to take on the other side of the Wayne legacy: dealing with the board of the Wayne Enterprises. They are hesitant and demand to speak to Bruce Wayne, but he bats them aside and points oout t
- The past can talk to the future... if the present has ears to hear and eyes to see with.
- — Alfred
Synopsis for "Batman vs Robin, Part One: The Haunting of Wayne Manor"
With his spine healed, Damian Wayne decides to take on the other side of the Wayne legacy: dealing with the board of the Wayne Enterprises. They are hesitant and demand to speak to Bruce Wayne, but he bats them aside and points oout that the company is donating a suspicious amount of money to what appears to be a charity in Thomas Wayne's name.
Meanwhile, Batman is hard at work. He has been called in by Oberon Sexton, who is investigating the deaths of various millionaires in secluded parts of the globe. The only thing that links the victims is their membership of the Black Glove organization. Sexton thinks that Bruce Wayne is killing people. Batman says he will pass on the message and departs.
It turns out that he received a silent alarm from Alfred. The power in Wayne Manor was turned on tonight for the first time since it was booby-trapped by El Sombrero, and they could not do so beforehand because the mansion had to be debugged.
Alfred's main reason, though, is that with the corpse of Bruce Wayne revealed as a fake put together by Darkseid, and Red Robin's theory that Bruce Wayne trapped in the past by the Omega Effect, he suspects there are clues in the fabric of the mansion planted by Bruce Wayne. He hung the Wayne family portraits in order for the first time in decades, and they appear to be telling a story. Robin notes that the puritan Mordecai Wayne bears an uncanny resemblance to Bruce Wayne, and that one of the pictures, 18th century 'black sheep' Thomas Wayne, is missing. Batman notes that bats are a significant part of the local lore of Gotham City. Batman sends Alfred to use the Bat-computer link-up in the Batmobile and find out everything he can about the portraits: when they were made, items from pictures, sightlines, everything. Meanwhile, Batman and Robin start with the picture of Joshua Wayne - the portrait's eyes appear to be fixed on the constellation of Orion in another portrait across the hall. Solomon Wayne, meanwhile, was standing in the library in his portrait. Robin worries about what his time in the past did to Bruce Wayne.
At Oberon Sexton's home, he receives a call from El Penitente, who tells him that for failing to strike at Batman he has earned an execution squad, the dreaded Third Hierarchy. They arrive seconds later... but are too late. Oberon Sexton is in the wind.
In the library, the Dynamic Duo are looking around, and Robin points out that if Bruce Wayne is still alive, they can no longer be Batman and Robin. Batman brushes off his worries, finds the place where Solomon Wayne was standing, and follows his eyeline - to a trio of roses over the fireplace, in the shape of Orion's belt. As he presses the roses, he activates a secret passageway.
As they investigate, Robin thinks of the real reason for his worry: a recent conversation with his mother, in which she asked him to come back to her. He brushes aside her arguments, and she says that he "will do what I ask... in the proper time."
Meanwhile, Alfred has discovered that the Mordecai Wayne portrait was a late edition to the sequence, found in the 19th century. As Batman ponders a rose mosaic on the floor of a corridor lined with suits of armor, a subliminal program in Robin causes him to pick a weapon from a nearby suit and try to kill Batman. However, he activates a trapdoor, causing the rose to fall aside and Batman to go down the hole. Robin realizes what he almost did and runs.
Batman lands in a hidden room, with candlesticks on the floor and the name "Thomas" scrawled on the wall, and one word in much larger writing "BARBATOS". Batman suspects it was the Batcave of Bruce Wayne some time in the past. Alfred finds records of a rum our surrounding the house, of a tunnel between the Manor, a link to the Wayne family plot in the nearby cemetery, and a fabled "Garden of Death".
In the cemetery, Robin kneels on the grave of Alan Wayne and weeps. And there he is met by Oberon Sexton, who is being chased by the hit-squad.
Appearing in "Batman vs Robin, Part One: The Haunting of Wayne Manor"
- El Penitente
- The Third Hierarchy
- Duke Zepar
- Sweet Belial
- The Third Hierarchy
- Board of Wayne Enterprises
- Wayne Family (In a photograph only)
- Talia al Ghul (Flashback only)
- Tim Drake (Mentioned only)
- This issue is labeled as a tie to "Batman: Return of Bruce Wayne".
- The numerous references to "Gardens of Death", "Corpse Roads", and Graveyards could all be a tie in to the concept of the "Haunting of Wayne Manor" Which implies Bruce Wayne is a ghost, and that he was even associated as such as he traveled through time.
- This issue is reprinted in Batman and Robin: Batman vs. Robin.
- Garden of death is a reference to several things throughout history including: A poem discussing doomed legacies and destruction of the future, and a painting depicting the final step before arising to the afterlife.
- Corpse Roads were a series of roads that connected outlying churches and towns to "mother" churches with burial rites. They were often associated with spirits and stories of ghosts.
- Barbatos is a duke and earl of Hell, with the power to communicate to animals, discuss the past and future, as well as lead men to hidden secrets.