- Continue to point that gun at us... and I guarantee you will never walk again.
- — Batman
Synopsis for "Despair"
The next morning, Bruce Wayne is more than a little annoyed to learn that Carrie Kelley has been hired to look after the dog by Alfred without his permission. Alfred explains that he is too busy to look after the dog with his undivided attention, and as such, Carrie will be coming to look after Titus three times a week. This development is perturbing for Bruce, given that Carrie is still under the impression that his son Damian is still alive, and he is still grieving.
She comments that she got pretty close to Damian, despite their only once-a-week acting lessons; she had found his honesty and frankness refreshing, and appreciated his marshmallow-like interior, in comparison to his tough exterior. She thinks of him as a brother, in fact. That said, she is concerned that Damian has not called her, since Bruce had promised she would be allowed to speak to him. Aware that he is being non-committal about it, she offers him a deal: she will give him two USB drives - one containing a video she's been making of the dog, and the other containing an interview she did with Damian - provided that Bruce ensure that Damian call her before the week is out. Sternly, Bruce agrees, despite his inability to make good on it.
Once Carrie has gone, Bruce spends the afternoon in the Batcave splicing together words and phrases from his son's com-link recordings for the call to Carrie that he promised. Afterwards, he gloomily makes good on his promise to give the recordings Carrie made to Damian by burying the USB sticks next to his gravestone. After spending much of the rest of his day listening to more recordings of his son's voice, Bruce's attention is caught by a signal from Catwoman.
Despite her flippancy wearing thin on his patience, Catwoman explains that she is a member of the JLA, and that she has been sanctioned to secretly kidnap a high-asset spy who is being tortured to divulge the identities of American agents operating in China - and she wants his help. Batman disbelieves that the JLA would include her among its ranks. Even so, he agrees to come with her, warning that if they are caught infiltrating the Chinese Embassy, it will be construed as an act of war.
Sneaking in through the sewers, their first priority is to cut power to the building, so that no evidence of their incursion is left behind. In darkness, the two of them take down each guard they see, searching every room for the asset she spoke of. What they find instead is that a gang of genetic experiments by the Chinese government are preparing to take a five-year-old girl away. Catwoman admits that the girl is their target. Her father was a biological weapons designer who defected, but somehow, the girl was left behind, and is now being used as a bargaining chip to make him come back and create an army of experimental soldiers. Batman hears Catwoman promise in broken Chinese that they will get her back to her family, and he does not intend to let her break that promise.
Together, they take down the super-powered thugs, leaving only the leader, who holds the girl hostage. Batman warns him to put his gun down, or he will never walk again, and the man wisely drops his weapon. Batman wonders that Catwoman has actually agreed to a mission that has no reward for her. She responds that she is only doing the right thing - for a change.
Later, Catwoman returns to her penthouse to find a surprise waiting for her. Batman has left her a new helmet to replace the one he broke, days ago. He even went to the trouble of making it a little more visually appealing, so it wouldn't frighten her new JLA friends. Selina smirks appreciatively.
Across town, Carrie receives her phone message from Damian. In it, he thanks her for the video and for taking care of Titus. He apologizes for failing to tell her he was leaving, and admits that he misses their acting sessions, and suggests that they keep in touch by email to compensate for the time-difference between Gotham and Beijing. Carrie remains blissfully unaware that the message was created painstakingly by Bruce Wayne.
Elsewhere, Two-Face enters a restaurant, frightening all of its patrons. He considers shooting the place up, but consults with his coin first. When the coin lands heads-up, he leaves without incident.
Appearing in "Despair"
- Two-Face (Cameo)
- JLA (Mentioned only)
- Steve Trevor (Phone call only)
- Justice League (Mentioned only)
- Robin (Voice Recording Only)
- This issue is reprinted in Batman and Robin: Requiem for Damian.