"The House That Haunted Batman!": Batman checks up on Rupert Thorne, who now occupies a padded cell at Arkham Asylum. Batman is concerned as to why Thorne gave away all his plans and revealed his information, clearing Batman's name in
Appearing in "The House That Haunted Batman!"
- Batman (Flashback and main story)
- Commissioner Gordon (Flashback and main story)
- Clayface III (Cameo)
- Doctor Tzin-Tzin (Flashback only)
- Tzin-Tzin's Deadly Dozen (Flashback only)
- Fong Wu (Flashback only)
- Rupert Thorne
- Alfred Pennyworth (Flashback only)(As an illusion only)
- Superman (Flashback only)(As an illusion only)
- Robin (Flashback only)
- Flash (Flashback only)(As an illusion only)
- Green Arrow (Flashback only)(As an illusion only)
- Martian Manhunter (Flashback only)(As an illusion only)
- Hawkman (Flashback only)(As an illusion only)
Synopsis for "The House That Haunted Batman!"
Batman checks up on Rupert Thorne, who now occupies a padded cell at Arkham Asylum. Batman is concerned as to why Thorne gave away all his plans and revealed his information, clearing Batman's name in the process and a clearly deranged Thorne explains that he was forced by the ghost of Hugo Strange, a man he killed on his quest to learn Batman's secret identity.
Commissioner Gordon and Batman leave the madman to himself and they reflect upon the current situation. While Gordon pities the once notorious gangster, Batman feels sympathy, as he was once tricked by another formidable enemy, making him believe that he had lost his mind.
This story is reprinted from Detective Comics #408.
As Batman enters deeper into the place, he shouts Robin's name, hoping that his young sidekick would answer his call. A few moments later, Batman is startled by the standing figure of Robin at the end of a long hallway. Batman runs to his young partner and once he is within reach, Robin collapses, forcing Batman to stop his fall with his arms. Batman takes a closer look at his partner and he is extremely shocked to see Robin aging at an inhuman speed until he becomes ashes in Batman's hands.
Suddenly, a raging scream breaks the silence of the abandoned house and Batman follows the source of the appalling sound, spawned from the darkest confines of the mansion. Opening a door in the upper floor, Batman is swarmed by a cloud of bats, but he continues his search despite the harrowing scenario until he finds the room form which the shrieks are coming. Once inside, Batman finds that it is all coming from a gramophone and just as he stop the record, he is attacked by an unknown assailant, who instantly runs away. Batman gives chase to the attacker, who is armed with a gun and is shooting backwards as he escapes, aiming at Batman. Dodging the bullets, Batman finally manages to corner the attacker in one of the mansion's hallways, but he is paralyzed when he realizes that the attacker is none other than Robin.
As Batman is being attacked by his partner, he is forced to step back until he falls in a dark room and a door is closed in front of him. Surrounded by absolute darkness, Batman lights a match and is able to see members of the Justice League and Batman's personal friends, gathered together around a macabre open coffin. When Batman gets closer, he realizes that the body inside the casket is his own. Soon, the members attending Batman's funeral start giving their own eulogies about the Dark Knight. Unfortunately, they all speak dreadful thins, as Commissioner Gordon calls him a hypocrite and Superman resents him for stealing the glory on their past missions together. Finally, Batman realizes that everything is just a strange illusion, almost at the same time as Robin steps up and expresses his contempt for his late mentor and plans to reveal his secret identity to the world. At that moment, the light from the match fades out and the darkness returns. Lighting a second match, Batman realizes that everyone is gone and that it was in fact, all part of an illusion. However, he soon notices that the dark walls start closing in until they leave a very narrow space for Batman to move.
It is then that Batman's mind returns to reality and he realizes that he is locked in a special tube that makes him bounce up and down, with a monitor counting the number of times Batman has repeated the cycle. Besides Batman is an unconscious Robin, who is also locked in a similar tube, with the counter higher that Batman's. Finally, the mastermind behind it all reveals himself to the hero and Batman is shocked to see Dr. Tzin-Tzin on a large monitor, controlling evey movement. Wanting to know how Tzin managed to escape prison, Tzin explains that it was easy for him to breach out and after he escaped, he tried to rejoin his old gang, but they scorned him after his defeat at the hands of Batman. Wanting revenge against the Dark Knight, Tzin was promptly contacted by the League of Assassins, whose plans had been thwarted twice by Batman and they provided the money and equipment to create this elaborate death trap. Tzin then proceeds to explain that the monitor counting Batman and Robin's movements on the tubes are actually triggers that would set explosions once the number reaches 100. Knowing that Robin's counter is far ahead than his own, Batman starts moving inside the tube in order to accelerate the counter so his tube would explode first. Tzin tries to get Batman to plead for Robin's life, but Batman manages to get the counter to 100 before Robin is killed.
Tzin believes that he has succeeded, but Batman appears again and breaks Robin out of the deadly tube. Batman explains that he used his Utility Belt to trigger the bomb and avoided being hurt by the explosion. Frustrated, but prepared for such eventuality, Tzin releases a dozen of highly trained killers to attack Batman. The Dark Knight uses his honed fighting skills to take down ten of his attackers, but the last couple of them manage to hold him, long enough for Tzin to reach him and end his vendetta. Batman is unable to break free and his hour of doom seems to finally have arrived, when Robin appears out of nowhere and tackles Tzin-Tzin, giving Batman the chance to defeat the last two killers.
Finally, Batman and Robin take Tzin-Tzin out of the abandoned mansion and they take him towards the Batmobile waiting outside. However, as they reach their vehicle, the duo hear laughter coming from the house and when they turn around, they see Tzin-Tzin mocking them from one of the upper windows. Turning their attention back to the car, they realize that Tzin is not their prisoner any longer and seconds after this realization, the abandoned house explodes and the whole place comes crumbling down in ashes and fire.
As dawn breaks, the Batmobile silently retires from the ghastly scenario and disappears in the first mists of dawn that cover Gotham City.
As Batman's memories fade away, his attention is drawn back to Arkham, where Gordon has been talking to him, but Batman had not listened, busy with his own memories.
At that moment in the Bowery of Gotham, a mysterious cloaked figure regretfully attacks a homeless man, leaving no trace of him after the attack.
- Editor Julius Schwartz explains in the letter column of this issue the reason why they published a reprint instead of a new story. Writer Len Wein was then finishing business with Marvel Comics and this caused him to get behind schedule and he couldn't meet the deadline. On the other hand, previous inker Terry Austin withdrew at last moment from his inking assignments in Detective Comics, which had to be filled by Dick Giordano. Unfortunately, due to Giordano's previous commitment to the Superman vs. Muhammad Ali special issue, he was unable to finish the inks for this issue's story. For this reason, Schwartz decided to reprint one of the most demanded stories from the past, which was first published in Detective Comics #408.
- There is however new story and art, developed as a framing sequence for accompanying the reprint. This consists on 2 pages in the beginning and one page at the end, which are part of the current storyline developed in the title.
- No trivia.
- 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)