"A Clash of Symbols": Batman patrols the night streets of Gotham City, knowing that his most feared enemey is roaming free. As he considers his course of action, Batman hears a scream coming from a curio shop and goes to investigate. Once inside, Batman rescues a
- I am the dweller in the darkness... I am the demon. Canadian Indians call me Ghost. In Ireland, I am simply Death. I am Chamalkan... I am the BAT!!
- — Batman
Appearing in "A Clash of Symbols"
- Batman (Flashback and main story)
- Cassandra (Tarot Reader) (Single appearance)
- Joker (Flashback only)
- Morry (Henchman) (Flashback only)
- Jason Todd (Flashback only)
- Gotham City
- Star Gallery
Synopsis for "A Clash of Symbols"
Batman patrols the night streets of Gotham City, knowing that his most feared enemey is roaming free. As he considers his course of action, Batman hears a scream coming from a curio shop and goes to investigate. Once inside, Batman rescues a fortune teller who is being robbed in her studio by a common thug. After knocking the criminal out, Batman is about to leave, but the teller asks him if he needs any help. He exits for a moment, but then returns to sit as the woman deals out her tarot cards. Batman takes a card. It is "Le Mat" -- The Fool and Holy Madman. Batman asks if she can find him in her crystal ball. As the two gaze at the magical orb, he goes into a deep thought, concentrating back to three years ago when he confronted the Joker when he pulled a heist at the Star Gallery.
Back then, Batman was part of the attendees at the gallery as Bruce Wayne and during Joker's initial attack, he was helpless. However, when Joker turned his attention away from him, he managed to switch into Batman and confronted the madman. Batman first dealt with Joker's thugs, but when the two arch enemies confronted, Joker got the upper hand by knocking a pillar on top of Batman.
As the Dark Knight couldn't move, Joker set the place on fire and he trapped Batman and the guests inside the burning place. Summoning all his strength, Batman moves the pillar from him and saves the people from the burning building before he starts chasing the Joker. Inspired by the exhibition of ancient cultures at Star Gallery, Batman recalled how many tribes and cultures around the world have their own symbol for the night, darkness and death; all of which he can identify with and gives him strength. Finally, Batman caught up with Joker's getaway vehicle and kicked the car's windshield with all his might, breaking the vehicle and finally capturing the Joker.
When Batman is done reminiscing, the teller informs him that all she sees is a circle. Batman states it is actually a serpent eating its own tail, a symbol of Batman and Joker's eternal struggle. He thanks the woman and leaves pondering if he'll ever end the vicious cycle that he and his enemy have created for one another.
- The "Detective Comments" letter page features the second letter from Ingrid Nuernberg, whose first letter was printed in Detective Comics #353, released 24 years prior to this issue.
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