"The Library of Souls": Ten exhumed skeletons, one approximately 110 years old, have been found scattered around Gotham City in bathrooms, closets, parks and galleries. Batman pays attention because he doesn't understand the reasoning behind it. During the next week, four more are discovered i
Appearing in "The Library of Souls"
- Alfred Pennyworth
- Jennifer Holding (First appearance)
- Librarian (Single appearance)
- John Watkins (Only appearance; dies)
- Mike and Wilma Smith (Only appearance; dies)
- Kenneth Lisoto (Only appearance; dies)
Synopsis for "The Library of Souls"
Ten exhumed skeletons, one approximately 110 years old, have been found scattered around Gotham City in bathrooms, closets, parks and galleries. Batman pays attention because he doesn't understand the reasoning behind it. During the next week, four more are discovered in a school, a street, a backyard and an oriental garden, respectively, the last one wearing a new leather jacket. Two weeks after the first discovery, the police discover the cemetery the bodies came from and place security around it and all other cemeteries. Batman fears that the person responsible may now begin killing people in order to continue.
Soon after, psychologist John Watkins is kidnapped, killed, adorned in a leather jacket, and left in the home of Mike and Wilma Smith, who discover the man responsible. They are both captured and also killed, adorned in leather jackets and placed in other locations. Batman discovers that the jackets have different three-digit numbers stitched into the sleeves. He goes to a library and meets with Jenny Holding. With her help, Batman realizes that the numbers are Dewey Decimal classification numbers and that the numbers on the jackets reflect the professions of those killed and wearing them. Batman believes the killer to be a librarian.
Meanwhile, Stanislaus Johns, a fired librarian, explains himself to his latest captive. Stanislaus had lived with his mother all his life; she died at the age of 78. The morning he found her dead, he began hearing several angry voices in his head. After his mother was buried, Stanislaus began to dislike the cemetery as there seemed to be no order or system for selecting the burial locations - all professions seemingly mixed together. Stanislaus began to believe the angry voices in his head were those of the dead from the grave, angry about how they had been placed. Soon after Stanislaus was fired from his library job for, among other reasons, relocating books to an altered, "modernized" Dewey Decimal System. His job loss only increased the loudness of the voices. Stanislaus could think of only one way to silence the voices, reorganize their burial locations into an orderly system. Thus he created a "library of souls" by imposing a library shelf system over a map of Gotham City and relocating those bodies for whom he could learn their professions. Soon after his start, he got the idea of adding leather jackets, as "jackets" are often used to protect books, and adding their proper classification numbers. When the cemeteries became too secure to continue, Stanislaus moved to creating his own corpses. His actions have diminished the voices in his head.
Batman, meanwhile, has theorized much the same system and has created a map of Gotham using the Dewey Decimal System. He realizes that the most recently killed were killed in numerical order and begins patrolling the area of the next likely number. He encounters Stanislaus dropping off his latest victim, but Stanislaus blows up his vehicle, endangering innocents and escapes while Batman rescues them. All the while, something bothers him about the numbers on the jackets. Jenny is also troubled and realizes that the sportsman was seemingly misnumbered. Jenny recalls a former employee, Stanislaus Johns, who had tried to alter the Dewey Decimal System and similarly used different numbers for the sports books. Suspecting there may be a connection, she looks up his address on her computer and goes to his house. He captures her, intending to make her his next victim but gleefully recounts his story to her. Jenny keeps him talking long enough for Batman to arrive and rescue her. Batman also realized the numbers were off and returned to the library where he discovered Jenny's computer with Stanislaus' file still on the screen. Batman captures Stanislaus and summons the police.
- Peter Milligan and Jim Aparo's runs on Detective Comics (as writer and penciler, respectively) end with this issue.
- No trivia.
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