"If Animals Could Talk": Damian Wayne has just been thrown into the Gotham River by Professor Pyg and his Dollotrons on his first night as the Batman. Injured and floating in the polluted water, Damian ma
- It's... something that's hard for me to live with. Letting them continue to breathe.
- -- Batman
Appearing in "If Animals Could Talk"
Synopsis for "If Animals Could Talk"
Damian Wayne has just been thrown into the Gotham River by Professor Pyg and his Dollotrons on his first night as the Batman. Injured and floating in the polluted water, Damian marvels that he is alive, surviving only because Alfred Pennyworth is there to fish him from the water, despite his reservations about Damian's actions of late. He had promised to look after the boy, after all. By the time he gets Damian back to the Batcave, and treats his injuries, Alfred is exhausted. He is an old man, now, and the exertion causes him to collapse lifelessly.
Damian is wakened from his sleep by Alfred, the cat, who leaps onto his gurney, rousing the young man with warnings spoken in Alfred Pennyworth's voice. The cat warns that Pyg and his henchmen are at work again, and it is time for Batman to get back in action.
Across town, Jackanapes and a cadre of intelligent animals pilot a school bus full of kidnapped children to Professor Pyg's hideout. Before they can get there, however, Batman crashes through the windshield, quickly and brutally taking the thugs down with non-lethal techniques, though that is a challenge. Though the children are shaken by the experience, Damian hopes that it won't stunt their emotional growth, and leaves the police to handle the rest.
For himself, though, Damian decides to return to the church, and demonstrate that he followed the priest's advice. In the confessional box, Father James Gordon, whose identity remains unknown to Damian, thanks to the anonymity of the confessional box, warns that while Professor Pyg was apprehended, the Joker remains at large. Damian realizes suddenly that he'd never mentioned the Joker to the priest, and demands to know how he knew about it. Rushing to open the opposite door, he finds the booth empty.
Alfred's body is interred in a quiet ceremony, given that so much of his life had been consumed by his service to the Wayne family. He had few friends to mourn him. Afterward, Damian confides in the cat that his father Bruce is doing better following the injury he sustained during a fight with Damian. He hopes that after what he did, and what happened, Bruce will forgive him. Though he is uncomfortable speaking to a talking cat, Damian turns his mind to the Joker, noting that he needs help to track him, and it may be time to ask Bruce for help. The cat agrees. However, upon arriving in Bruce's room, they find his gurney empty, and only a Joker themed playing card in his place.
The card leads Damian to the docs, and in a nearby warehouse, he discovers his father, bloodied, and tied to a post. When he attempts to approach, though, the lights flick on, and he is faced with the Joker and his followers - not the real Joker, but a follower of his legacy.
- This book was first published on December 31, 2013.
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