"Tulpa, Part 3: When Demons Clash!": The massive rage tulpa Mahakala tears apart the squad car of the police officers driving Rafe Kellogg to police headquarters. Everyone jumps out of the car, and the officers open fire on the beast. Noting the fact that their bullets a
- Some demons never die. They only burn... inside.
- — Batman
Synopsis for "Tulpa, Part 3: When Demons Clash!"
The massive rage tulpa Mahakala tears apart the squad car of the police officers driving Rafe Kellogg to police headquarters. Everyone jumps out of the car, and the officers open fire on the beast. Noting the fact that their bullets are useless against the seemingly indestructible creature, the officers and the criminals make a break for it, as Mahakala tosses the police car aside and pursues them. They turn into a construction site, and soon the Batmobile arrives with Batman and Randu Singh.
Batman jumps into action, leaving Randu in the car, and runs into the construction site after the men and Mahakala. Batman doubles-back, and gets in front of the men. He jumps in the nearby demolition machine and begins operating the wrecking ball. Up ahead, Rafe and his henchman continue running as the policemen fire at Mahakala, who was closing in on Rafe. It is then that Batman swings in on the wrecking ball and smashes into Mahakala. With Mahakala neutralized, Randu arrives at the scene and physically probes the monster, learning that it is still alive and just unconscious.
At his apartment, Jason Blood watches from his window, and see that Batman and Randu conquered the creature without Etrigan's help. Satisfied, Blood drinks to Etrigan's continued imprisonment. However, Randu suddenly stops everyone in the site, and Mahakala gets up and throws his axe at them, having recovered from his encounter with the wrecking ball. Everyone ducks and avoids the axe, but the axe hits some scaffolding, causing it to collapse on them. Mahakala walks past the limp forms of his targets, and retrieves his axe, preparing to kill them all. Jason sees this and knows what will happen if he doesn't intervene. Remembering Glenda Mark and Harry Matthews' tragic fates that occurred because he didn't help, Jason, with no alternative solution, releases Etrigan.
Etrigan bursts out of Blood's apartment window, laughing maniacally, enjoying his freedom. Etrigan decides that he's only going to help Randu and that everyone else there are his enemies. In the construction site, Batman, still stuck under the scaffolding, sees Mahakala turning towards his victims and watches as he prepares to deal a fatal blow to Randu with his axe. Batman forces the scaffolding off of himself, and swings one of the poles from the scaffolding at Mahakala, who easily blocks this and turns on Batman. Etrigan reaches the scene, and watches the fight from atop the wrecking machine, apparently enjoying it. However, Mahakala quickly gains the upper-hand on Batman and Etrigan decides to intervene by blowing hellfire at Mahakala. With the monster distracted, Etrigan lands behind him, and faces the creature. Mahakala turns and rushes at Etrigan, enraged. Mahakala swipes at Etrigan, who easily ducks. He grabs Mahakala's arm, swings him by it, and throws him into a brick wall. The entire wall collapses on Mahakala, burying him. Batman helps the police, Rafe and Randu out from under the rubble and Batman explains to a confused Randu that Jason changed his mind about releasing Etrigan and that the Demon has come to help them. Behind them, Etrigan and Mahakala continue their fight until Etrigan gains the upper-hand and opens his mouth, blasting demon-flame into Mahakala's face. Mahakala becomes completely engulfed in flames, before finally burning down into a small pile of ash. Horrified, Batman tries to stop Etrigan and grabs him by the shoulder, but the Demon burns Batman's hand for the disrespect.
An irritated Batman accuses Etrigan of wanting to kill Rafe and his henchman and challenges him to defeat him first if he wants to succeed. However, Etrigan's wrath is stronger and his desire to feed off the criminals' souls is strong enough to confront Batman, who does his best fighting a supernatural threat. Infuriated at Batman's courage, Etrigan unleashes his full strength and overpowers Batman, who still fights back despite having all the odds against him.
It is then that Etrigan stops for a second, and starts laughing, letting Batman go. Batman asks what's so funny, and Etrigan tells Batman that he has noticed Batman's fighting spirit didn't disappear even in the face of the ultimate adversity. Etrigan finds amusing that a mere mortal is somehow trapped in a self-inflicted eternal torment that pushes him forwards at all times and from which he cannot escape, which gives him a small relief when he compares his own situation. With this, Etrigan gives Batman a parting kiss in the cheek and leaves the place, laughing wildly and telling Batman that whenever he is trapped inside his mortal host, he will be content, knowing that he is not alone.
Finally, Randu approaches Batman asking about the avatar of Mahakala. After telling Randu that the demon is gone forever, Batman also reflects on the fact that there are some demons that never leave and that they only burn inside. As Batman mutters these words, Jason Blood returns to his human form feeling great despair for his eternal curse in a similar fashion as Batman feels, having understood Etrigan's words.
Appearing in "Tulpa, Part 3: When Demons Clash!"
- Mahakala (Dies)
- Rafe Kellogg (Final appearance)
- Belial (Flashback only)
- Glenda (Flashback only)
- Harry (Flashback only)
- Tenzin Wyatt (Mentioned only)
- This issue is reprinted in Legends of the Dark Knight: Norm Breyfogle Vol. 1 and in Batman: The Dark Knight Detective Vol. 4.
- 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)