Dark Knights Rising: The Wild Hunt #1 is a one-shot with a cover date of April, 2018. It was published on February 14, 2018.
Synopsis for "Riders on the Razor"
While all creation is in chaos due to the actions of Barbartos and his Dark Knights, Detective Chimp is studying a map of the Multiverse and - oddly enough - sheets of music. However, he is distracted by a phrase whose author he cannot remember and by memories of his origin story. Lost in thought, he remembers his days as Bobo, an ordinary chimp in the circus. He recalls the time when he couldn't even remember how to play two consecutive notes properly. He remembers the beatings he received each time he failed, and how they taught him that his owners wanted him to fail to make themselves feel good. He also remembered Fred, the only person who was nice to him, and how he was murdered. Fred was able to set him free before dying, and after escaping the circus his journey led him to the Fountain of Youth, through which he gained heightened intelligence and incredible detective skills. He remembers digging up enough dirt to have Fred's killers sent to jail, where they all eventually died. He remembers not feeling bad about their deaths, because he learned that all cruelty in the world stems from a lack of imagination. Meanwhile, Barbatos is still crowing his Anti-Music in Gotham City as he Dark Knights listen on.
On Blackhawk Island, Detective Chimp is being rushed to use a device powered by Red Tornado and the Metal Men to locate a certain frequency. As Doc Magnus comes to check on him, he finally finds the frequency he has been looking for. However, it is affecting his intelligence and memory. As T.O. Morrow comes to check in, Detective Chimp discusses his findings; it turns out that the Challengers of the Unknown used Red Tornado's powers to guide them to the House of Heroes. Using his body, and those of the Metal Men, he has managed to open a comm line to the Ultima Thule, which is en route through The Bleed to the center of the Multiverse. Morrow takes Doc Magnus away so they can address other matters. The first is the fact Detective Chimp is losing his intelligence, and the second is something he noticed while boiling an egg. The latter problem is serious enough to warrant gathering all of the scientific minds on the island. Sivana doesn't see the problem, but Morrow reveals he tripled-checked his findings. When Magnus takes the egg's temperature, the issue becomes apparent: the boiling point of water is now 106 degrees. The impossibility is a small symptom of a grand problem: the laws of physics are being completely disrupted. Morrow points out that they have reached the last stand of science and discovery, and they must decide if they be heroes in this moment...or villains. Meanwhile, Detective Chimp gets a shaky signal out to the Ultima Thule, and tries to tell them to head to the House of Heroes.
Aboard the ship, Flash is sending out an S.O.S. to the House to tell them that everything is going to die, but he gets no response and can only hope that someone heard him. He then checks on Cyborg, who has been acting distant. Vic responds that that is because it takes a lot of processing to deal with a Mother Box connected to a living ship powered by music. Getting back to business, Vic has Barry check on Raven. As he reaches her, she tells him that the ship is confused and afraid, and the music it uses to jump dimensions is breaking apart. Flash tells her that their destination is right in front of them, and she simply has to look for the right frequency, but she can't locate it. On top of that, the ship is instinctively trying to return the "Superjudge". Barry volunteers trying to jump the ship using his powers, but there is no time to try, as Raven detects that the Wild Hunt is upon them.
Outside, the Dark Knights' Carrier is raining dark warheads upon them. At the helm, The Batman Who Laughs berates his prey for thinking they could get to the House of Heroes so easily. The Dawnbreaker is concerned that they can evade their warheads, but Laughs declares that the Thule's weak music won't save them, and that he's confident in the music of their Carrier and the power behind. Intent on showing Prime Earth's heroes their music, he orders that more warheads be armed and they increase speed. On a lower deck, The Merciless is warning the power core of the futility of begging for mercy and demands more speed. On the bridge, The Murder Machine is watching Cyborg analyze the Carrier's infrastructure. Vic notices that the ship's power core is a baby universe that is being barred from expanding by Monitor technology. As long as it's operational, the Knights can track and tail them anywhere. Laughs instructs them to run the Thule aground, and has Murder Machine keep their visuals online so he can see the hope in their eyes die. As they watch, The Drowned mentions to Dawnbreaker that she can hear the screams of her father the night of his death echoing in the Bleed. Dawnbreaker replies that it was Martha who screamed on his world. Devastator overhears them and believes that their talk is mutinous. He threatens her, but she is unfazed. Because they are all different variants on one person, she already has a plan to kill them, and knows of every Knight's plan to kill her. The only one she can't account for is the Batman Who Laughs. Drowned expresses doubt that their leader can make good on his word to give them worlds where they're heroes again, as all their actions feel counter to that goal. Dawnbreaker fears repercussions for speaking such things, but The Red Death tells them that Drowned's word prove that he has power over them. That he makes them all cowardly and superstitious. This angers Drowned, who replies that she would burn down the Multiverse to restore her world. Laughs breaks them up and suggests they brace for impact.
As the two ships fall out of The Bleed, Cyborg hatches a plan to stop the Carrier: free the baby universe inside the ship, thus cutting the ship's power and releasing enough positive energy to help stabilize the Multiverse. As The Batman Who laughs opens a portal onto the Thule, Vic has Barry teleport to the Carrier to do what needs doing. As he prepares to engage the Murder Machine, Raven faces down The Dawnbreaker and The Drowned. Raven teleports around to avoid their attacks, but she uses the time they need to regain their balance to take over Dawnbreaker's constructs and sic them on their creator. Cyborg goes another round with Murder Machine, but his new connection to the Multiverse lets him fry his foe's systems. Meanwhile, Raven distracts Dawnbreaker with his constructs long enough to kick Drowned back to the Carrier. Aboard the Carrier, Flash reaches the baby universe and the Merciless. Before Merciless can even ready a strike, Barry disables the universe's cage, creating an explosion of positive energy, just as Red Death arrives. The wave of positive energy has a side effect on Red Death. Now clad in a golden armor, he is reborn as the Barry Allen of Earth -52. With the psyche of that version of Bruce eliminated, Barry immediately asks how he can help his Prime Earth self. He tells him he can start where they are.
Aboard the Thule, Dawnbreaker manages to fell Raven while Vic is busy with Murder Machine. On the Carrier, Barry wants to return to the Thule, but if they leave, the Knights will simply recapture the universe and restart the ship. The only way to finish the job is for someone to stay and allow the universe to expand until it can't be contained, but whoever stays will definitely die. Back on the Thule, Murder Machine senses the loss of power and teleports away. Dawnbreaker wants to torture Raven, but with Cyborg free to back her up, he is forced to flee as well. Earth -52 Barry convinces Earth 0 Barry to leave him as Devastator arrives. Raven and Cyborg then sense that despite driving the Knights back and crippling their vessel, the music controlling the Thule is now completely disrupted, and Victor's control of the ship is shot. Back on the Carrier, Laughs is telling Red Death that he knew Barry would regain control, and he allowed it because it would give the heroes one last taste of hope. He then reveals two things: that all the positive energy that turned him is going to destroy him, and that each warhead they had contained a baby dark matter universe selected by Barbatos. He then cries out, realizing exactly what is going to happen after he is gone. As Barry explodes, the rest of the Knights watch, emotionless.
Meanwhile, despite the damage, the Thule is still on course for the House of Heroes. As they relay the news to Blackhawk Island, everyone is satisfied at the victory, except a still devolving Detective Chimp. He tries to relay his doubts, but he is having a hard time forming a sentence. Inside though, his inner detective realizes that their journey to the House of Heroes felt rehearsed and unimaginative because they simply followed a course the Challengers mapped out. To know for sure, he reactivates Red Tornado, who goes into the same frenzied state he had shown before. Morrow tries to shut him down, but Tornado has already blown the room apart before he collapses from damage to his frame. Morrow calms his creation down and gets him to explain himself.
Red reveals that the Challengers tried to get to the House of Heroes, but they realized they opened the door for Barbatos to arrive through. Realizing the danger that they posed to the Multiverse, the Challengers shut the door and returned home. He then explains the enemy's endgame: launch a dart into the heart of the Multiverse powerful enough to kill everything. The path to the House was a trap, and he remembers that it was prophesied that he would be awakened to witness the first sign of the end...an unheeded call for help. As if on cue, Detective Chimp muster what little intellect he has left to ask them for help. With the sign delivered, Red Tornado pulls a switch on himself so he will not have to fear the end, and thanks his creator for giving that to him. As he does so, the others try to contact the Thule.
Meanwhile, Barry returns to the Thule to see the bridge demolished. Raven reveals that they can't steer, which means they can't turn from the House. Their entire ship is now a dart, headed straight for the center of everything. Barry realizes that this was what the Knights wanted all along. Cyborg receives the warning from Blackhawk Island, but it arrives too late for them to do anything. On the Carrier, Drowned and Devastator want to teleport to safety, but Laughs orders them to stay put to see the end. He then demands that his prisoner be brought to watch too. As Laughs gloats at having "the most powerful being in the Multiverse" at his feet, Dawnbreaker picks up a signal to the Thule from a 53rd universe, even though there should be no such universe. As he boasts some more, Laughs calls for a portal as the Thule crashes into the House of Heroes. On Blackhawk Island, everyone can feel the end in their bones. As everyone shares last words, something teleports Detective Chimp away. He ends up in a room full of various super-chimps. Along with them are the three heroes, who had been teleported along with the Thule just before it crashed into the House of Heroes. At the head, the primate version of Batman explains that they have been watching him, and have decided to lend support from the 53rd World.
Appearing in "Riders on the Razor"
- Barry Allen (Earth -52) (Dies)
- Primate Legion (First appearance)
- Red Tornado
- Rex, the Wonder Dog (Flashback only)
- Science Squad
- Metal Men
- Swamp Thing (Flashback only)
- Challengers of the Unknown (Mentioned only)
- Martin Wayne (Mentioned only)
- Monitors (Mentioned only)
- Over-Monitor (Unnamed)
- Superjudge (Mentioned only)
- The Gentry
- Earth 31
- Earth 43
- Earth 44
- Dark Multiverse
- World Forge (Mentioned only)
- Mother Box (Mentioned only)
- There are obvious cameo references to the "DC" acronym: first when Bobo tries to learn the pattern of chords "d" and "c"; then, at the end, with the revelation that these two letters stuck in his mind because they meant "Detective Chimp".