"The Fear - Part Two: Diary of a Madman": Cornelius Stirk, a former inmate from Arkham Asylum who was locked away for 16 years, continues the slow torture of his latest victim, draining the man's energies and terrorizing him until his heart stops beating. Once
Appearing in "The Fear - Part Two: Diary of a Madman"
Synopsis for "The Fear - Part Two: Diary of a Madman"
Cornelius Stirk, a former inmate from Arkham Asylum who was locked away for 16 years, continues the slow torture of his latest victim, draining the man's energies and terrorizing him until his heart stops beating. Once his victim is nothing but a corpse, Stirk proceeds to butcher the body and removes the heart from inside. Elsewhere, Batman has learned of a possible location of Stirk's hideout and he goes to the place without delay.
In the meantime, Stirk has already placed his third victim's heart inside a pot, where he keeps two other hearts, slowly simmering to eat later. Stirk then wraps the body in a blanket and carries it outside the derelict building in a shopping cart. At that moment, Batman arrives at the place and breaks inside through the window. Stirk is gone, but Batman finds enough evidence to confirm it is Stirk's hideout.
Stirk takes the corpse to a construction site nearby, where he dumps the body inside a cement mixer. A security guard spots Stirk and approaches him. In order to avoid a confrontation, Stirk uses his psi-powers to become an attractive woman to the eyes of the security guard. The man is taken by surprise and Stirk then lures the man back to his hideout.
When Stirk and the security guard enter the place, they find Batman inside and Stirk reacts quickly by telling Batman that the guard is the killer. Batman takes the bait and Stirk takes the chance to knock Batman unconscious. Stirk then ties Batman to a bedframe, where he prepares to torture and terrorize the Dark Knight to suck away the chemicals released by fear.
When Batman recovers, he learns about Stirk's abilities to adopt other people's identities to the eyes of the others. However, despite Stirk's best efforts to terrorize Batman, the Dark Knight doesn't give into fear. Using his psi abilities, Stirk is able to reach into the deep corners of Batman's mind and he learns that Batman's utter fear is the death of innocents. With this knowledge, Stirk then will try to break Batman by killing the security guard while Batman beholds, helplessly. Batman gets a sudden rush of adrenaline and he breaks the beframe with sheer brute force. Stirk is shocked at this display of power and Batman soon breaks Stirk's mind by inducing fear on the madman. Batman then punches Stirk, knocking him unconsious and he then releases the security guard.
Moments later, Batman takes Stirk back to Arkham Asylum, where he informs the orderlies about Stirk's psi powers, which is the method he used to convince them that he was sane in the first place. The doctors at Arkham tend to Batman's wounds and they inform him that they will resume Stirk's medication. At the end of the day, both Batman and Stirk come to the grim realization that both of them are two ends of the same spectrum.
- This issue is reprinted in Legends of the Dark Knight: Norm Breyfogle Vol. 1 and Batman: The Dark Knight Detective Vol. 3.
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