"The Network": Hugo Strange kidnaps three people, a convicted murderer, a young drug addict woman and an elder person; and demands that Batman's successor choose which one to save. All this, to prove that the successor is unworthy of the ro
- The Gotham Underground is going to get more vicious... more desperate. We're going to want to take the easy way out whenever possible -- but we can't.
- — Oracle
Battle for the Cowl: The Network #1 is a one-shot with a cover date of July, 2009. It was published on May 6, 2009.
Synopsis for "The Network"
Hugo Strange kidnaps three people, a convicted murderer, a young drug addict woman and an elder person; and demands that Batman's successor choose which one to save. All this, to prove that the successor is unworthy of the role.
Oracle hacks into Strange's system and prevents the message from reaching I-Am-Batman, who is currently fighting Catwoman. After telling Nightwing about Strange's plan, Oracle coordinates a plan of action with Batgirl, Huntress and Misfit to rescue Strange's hostages.
When Oracle contacts the selected members of The Network, Manhunter was fighing Black Spider while Huntress and Batgirl were taking care of an arms shipment and Misfit was delivering medical supplies to every hospital in need. Oracle arranges their plan and teams up Huntress and Batgirl to rescue Miguel Vazquez, who is a convicted murderer while Manhunter would take care of the young woman and Misfit would rescue the elder hostage.
In the meantime, Hugo Strange has arranged a gambling system with help from the Deuces Wild in which the criminals of Gotham's underworld would place bets on how many hostages the new Batman could save before Strange kills them all.
Oracle realizes that Strange has placed a time limit to the rescue and she decides to call Ragman to aid Manhunter. Ragman was capturing Dr. Phosphorus along with Wildcat and reached the destination in no time. Manhunter arrives a few seconds later and meets Ragman, who tells her that he already examined the place and the hostage isn't there. Misfit teleports to the elder woman's place and finds it empty as well.
Right then, Huntress and Batgirl find the warehouse where the convicted murderer is held and they are spotted by one of Strange's security cameras. After seeing them, Strange changes the rules of the game and sends a message to Batman and the Network telling them that he would spare two hostages if they choose to sacrifice one of them. Realizing how simple it would be to end it all, Huntress decides to kill the convicted murderer, but Batgirl stops her from doing so. Both of them start a heated argument and in the meantime, Oracle finds a way to hack into Strange's main system. Huntress decides to drop down where the hostage was held, but Batgirl took away her weapons. Huntress was ready to eliminate the hostage when Oracle stops her, informing her that she had successfully hacked into Strange's system and she is disabling his gamblimg operation.
At that moment, Misfit locates the place where the elder woman was held, and she eliminates Strange's henchmen. The same situation happens when Manhunter and Ragman locate the young drug addict woman and rescue her. However, as she is pleading mercy, Ragman informs her that they won't hurt her more than she has already hurt herself.
Finally, Oracle tracks the location of Strange's gambling place and tells Ragman and Misfit to go there. Both of them teleport, but the find that the whole warehouse had been emptied and there's only a laptop in the middle of the room. After a quick scan, Oracle tells them that the laptop is clean and when they open it, a video message from Strange starts playing, in which he tells them that he will find whoever hacked into his system and systematically destroy them. Oracle dismisses the threat and starts thinking how could they transport and entire casino in just a few minutes.
She finds the answer on one of Gotham's highways, where a big truck is getting away from the city at high speed. Manhunter, Batgirl and Huntress manage to stop the truck and apprehend the Deuces Wild, but there is no sign of Strange. Despite that, Oracle is satisfied and she tells all of them that this kind of situations will become more frecuent now that Batman is gone and that they must always choose the right thing to do, instead of going for the easy answer. The message is directly addressed to Huntress, who wanted to kill a man to save two other people. Her reasoning was that since the hostage was a convicted murderer, it wouldn't make a difference, but in the end, Oracle found that the man was actually innocent and thus, Huntress would've made a serious mistake. As a punishment, Oracle tells Huntress that her next mission is to stop, Killer Croc, down at the sewers.
Appearing in "The Network"
- Nightwing (Phone call only)
- Black Spider
- Deuces Wild (Single appearance)
- Derek Deuce
- Dustin Deuce
- Hugo Strange
- I-Am-Batman (Cameo)
- Mister Freeze (Cameo)
- Doctor Phosphorus (Cameo)
- The events of this issue take place at the same time as Battle for the Cowl: The Underground #1; thus it also takes place after Batman: Battle for the Cowl #2.
- Batman Recommended Reading
- Batman (Volume 1)
- Batman (Volume 2)
- Batman (Volume 3)
- Batman and Robin (Volume 1)
- Batman and Robin (Volume 2)
- Batman Confidential (Volume 1)
- Batman: Gotham Knights (Volume 1)
- Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight (Volume 1)
- Batman: Shadow of the Bat (Volume 1)
- Batman: Streets of Gotham (Volume 1)
- Batman Incorporated (Volume 1)
- Batman Incorporated (Volume 2)
- Batman/Superman (Volume 1)
- Batman/Superman (Volume 2)
- Batman: The Dark Knight (Volume 1)
- Batman: The Dark Knight (Volume 2)
- The Brave and the Bold (Volume 1)
- Detective Comics (Volume 1)
- Detective Comics (Volume 2)
- Superman/Batman (Volume 1)
- World's Finest (Volume 1)
Links and References
Batman R.I.P. Crossover