"Hearts": At the Penguin's former hideout, an ornithologist has been tasked with indexing the thousands of birds in the place. He is interrupted by Abattoir, who murders the man by removing his heart and kills all the birds.
- The heart is the organ that leads to the soul. And the soul is what provides our power... and our destiny.
- — Abattoir
Synopsis for "Hearts"
At the Penguin's former hideout, an ornithologist has been tasked with indexing the thousands of birds in the place. He is interrupted by Abattoir, who murders the man by removing his heart and kills all the birds.
The gruesome crime gets the attention of both the GCPD and Batman, who goes to Arkham Asylum to interrogate the Penguin and learn any information that might help him solve the case. Much to Batman's surprise, Abattoir is locked in his cell and the administrator of the asylum has no record of any recent escapes.
That night, Abattoir is released from his cell by members of the cleaning staff and they take him to a dairy plant, where he intends to kill all the cows and use their hearts. The police get an emergency call from the plant and Batman learns about the situation. He leaves the Batcave in the Bat-Copter and tells Alfred to find any connection between birds, cows and probably rituals.
Batman confronts Abattoir at the dairy plant, but the madman destroys the Batcopter and escapes. Upon returning to the Batcave, Batman learns that Abattoir is indeed performing an ancient ritual to gain immortality. The ritual consist of killing 200 birds, 400 cows and 600 humans. As to prevent Abattoir from achieving the last step on his ritual, Batman interrogates the Arkham cleaning staff and learns that Abattoir intends to kill all those people by destroying the Gotham Bridge, causing a train, full of people, to fall to a certain death.
Batman tries to warn the authorities, to no avail and is forced to rush down himself towards the bridge. Using the Batmobile, Batman drives at full speed to catch up with the train and jumps onto the engine car. Since the controls are jammed and the train won't stop, Batman separates the engine car from the rest of the wagons, preventing any casualty.
When Abattoir notices his plan has failed, it's much too late for him to react as Batman appears and defeats the madman and his associates. Enraged, Batman confronts Abattoir, inquiring him if his atrocities have indeed made him any stronger or immortal. Batman defeats Abattoir with a single punch, making a clear point.
Appearing in "Hearts"
- Ancient Arakans (Flashback only)
- Prophets (Flashback only)
- Thiri Thu Dhamma (Flashback only)
- Birdman of Alcatraz (Robert Stroud) (Mentioned only)
- Dennis O'Donnel (Dies)
- Myanmar (17th Century) (Flashback only)
- Arakan (Flashback only)
- Alcatraz (Mentioned only)
- Gotham City
- Marv Wolfman's run as writer on Detective Comics ends with this issue.