"What I Am... Was Born From Death": Steelback tells Batman and Batwing that years ago, one week before their country would become the DRC, he and the other members of the Kingdom (Staff, Earth Strike, Thunderfall, Razor Wire, Deity and Dawnfire), working with Josiah Kone, their weapons, tech an
- This ends! This battle! This crusade! THIS MADNESS WILL END!
- — Batwing
Appearing in "What I Am... Was Born From Death"
- Batwing (Flashback and main story)
Synopsis for "What I Am... Was Born From Death"
Steelback tells Batman and Batwing that years ago, one week before their country would become the DRC, he and the other members of the Kingdom (Staff, Earth Strike, Thunderfall, Razor Wire, Deity and Dawnfire), working with Josiah Kone, their weapons, tech and science guy, fought for their countries freedom forty miles outside the capital, Mintala. They had fought in a war of three sides: the dictator Masika Okura, factions of warlords using child soldiers, and the People's Republic, a group of revolutionaries trying to obtain freedom and dignity. The Kingdom led the People's Republic and felt they were one with all Africans. In the final battle to win the capital, which was the last anyone saw of the Kingdom, the heroes had decided that the people should be the ones to win their final freedom, and kept back, but Okura had other plans and forced them into committing an atrocity.
As Batman and Batwing near Gotham City, where Razorwire and Staff are known to have travelled to, Alfred provides more background information on the pair, and Batgirl reports that they've produced no signs of activity in a week. Nightwing and Robin, at the pair's residence, confirm that nobody has been there in a few days.
Meanwhile Batwing continues to question Steelback, trying to find Massacre's motive for hunting them down. Before the final battle, Okura had contacted Earth Strike and informed him that he'd made a deal with the warlords and had banded together with them to annihilate the approaching People's Republic army as a desperate attempt to cling to power. They realize that the people's army are walking into a bloodbath, but there is disagreement how to respond. Some want to rush and help, but Earth Strike points out that they've deluded themselves into thinking they've stepped aside to let the people achieve their own glory, whilst actually they are all too exhausted and beaten to fight any further, besides which they're too far to reach them in time. Earth Strike doesn't see the point in warning the army as they would refuse to retreat anyway. However he reveals that Okura actually called him with a deal. They took the deal, and as a result Okura ordered his army to stand down on the condition that the Kingdom spirit him out of the country to live a peaceful life in exile, never facing justice. The child armies of the warlord's were left to face the people's army alone, and in the ensuring bloodbath 50,000 people were killed. Kone is furious that the Kingdom let the genocidal Okura go free. He calls them all cowards and Earth Strike punches him in the face. After that they felt they could no longer call themselves the Kingdom and the group disbanded.
Later Batwing tells Batman that in the same position he might have made the same call. Batman responds that it's in the past, and the only important thing is that the information has helped them understand their enemy. He says that when he dwells on the past he uses it to fuel his actions, not cloud his focus. Batwing states that he believes Massacre is the former warlord, General Keito, who had trained David as a child soldier, who's motive, like David's, is revenge.
Batgirl has tracked down a set of warehouses Staff and Razorwire own, and the Bat family descend on the area. They can smell burnt flesh so they blow the door open and are immediately attacked by Staff, who thinks they've come to kill him. They find Razorwire dead on the floor. Suddenly, Staff is shot and taken down, and Robin notes that Massacre has always fought with blades. Massacre steps out of the shadows, having taken control of Steelback's old gun-loaded armour. Steelback watches in horror and shouts for Batman's fighters to run.
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