"God Only Knows": It is night in Gotham City. Batman, now the occupant of the Mobius Chair, is simultaneously everywhere and nowhere, pondering the notion of human strength and fragility... before zapping into place above the roof of the Gotham Central Precinct House, where Commissioner Gordon i
Appearing in "God Only Knows"
Synopsis for "God Only Knows"
It is night in Gotham City. Batman, now the occupant of the Mobius Chair, is simultaneously everywhere and nowhere, pondering the notion of human strength and fragility... before zapping into place above the roof of the Gotham Central Precinct House, where Commissioner Gordon is standing next to the Bat-Signal.
Gordon is, frankly, furious with Batman, who, with the power of the chair, has been running around catching people for crimes they planned to commit, and then dumping them with the police. But the justice system cannot convict people for things that have not happened. Batman insists that he can use the chair to alter the timelines of criminals, preventing the crimes, and that this chair, the product of a higher cosmic world, will bring freedom from sin. Gordon asks if the world it was from was also free from sin, and Batman is forced to admit that it is not. Suddenly, he is summoned away by the chair, leaving Gordon to watch an empty space, and remark that he still hates when Batman does that.
It is night in a car on an elevated highway, where four men are cocking shotguns and discussing a robbery they are on their way to commit. Batman lands on the road in front of them, and asks them not to commit the crime, detailing knowledge only they know. They respond by opening fire, to no effect, so Batman teleports himself, the car, and the four men to the middle of McMurdo Bay in the Antarctic. He explains that an icebreaker ship, on its way to McMurdo Station research center, will be along to save them in a few hours, and that current atmospheric conditions should keep the temerature liveable, provided they use the gunpowder in their guns to start a fire with the cushion material. As the shout that he cannot leave them here, he does just that.
It is night in a living room, where Mr Phillips staggers through his ex-wife's window. He expects to find no-one, but he is mistaken, because Batman is waiting, and promptly points out the man's intoxication and deadly intent. The man tries to defend himself, his plans, and his past actions of spousal abuse, but Batman will have none of it, teleporting himself and the man to Themyscira, and right in front of a pair of Amazons. They say their justice system also has no place for murders-yet-to-be, but Batman counters that a day here will go a long way to changing Phillips' perception of women.
In an alley behind a shuttered cinema, Batman asks to review an older case. He looks in on a double homicide with only one witness: the murder of Thomas & Martha Wayne. He tries to throw himself in front of the bullets, but they are holograms. Enraged, Batman asks for the name & location of the man who pulled the trigger.
It is night in Gotham State Penitentiary, and one inmate is trying to clean his foot by torchlight. Suddenly, the Batman arrives, incapacitates the other inmate in the cell, and rounds on the foot-cleaner: he is Joe Chill.
Chill screams that he is just a number in a bunk, and cries for the guards, but Batman has put a field around the cell that holds in all errant sights and sounds. Chill insists that this is not right, that he has served his time, but keeps getting denied parole because he killed someone powerful.
Batman teleports them both to the scene of the Wayne murders, and asks Chill to tell him what happened. Initially fearful, Joe Chill is surprisingly boastful about his crime, especially about the effect it must have had on the child Bruce Wayne growing up. Batman asks how many murders Joe Chill committed in total, citing the fact that no judge in the world would admit the figure in court, considering the circumstances.
Chill says: forty.
Batman goes cold, starts raising his voice, as he rattles off statistics about the weight of the average body. Joe Chill starts to fear again, asking why Batman is so concerned about this specific case, and Batman shows him: he is Bruce Wayne, grown up.
Chill is horrified at the realization, and starts saying he should have killed the boy with his parents. Batman pauses, underlining the sociopathy the idea would have required to follow through, before suggesting a thought experiment to Joe Chill - what would happen if the criminals of Gotham knew that Joe Chill create Batman? What punishments would their twisted justice enact upon him, in the name of Batman?
Chill sinks to the floor, asking what kind of monster Batman is. Batman responds that he is the monster that Chill created. Then, as Chill has a cardiac-arrest-inducing panic attack right there on the floor of the cell, Batman takes the criminal by the neck and uses his godly powers to make him forget their entire conversation.
Joe Chill wakes up one minute later. He cannot remember why he is on the floor. He cannot remember why he feels so tired. Or so sad...
It is night in the Batcave, where Alfred has been waiting with a tray of food for Batman to return. With the arrival of the Mobius Chair, Batman keels over briefly, as blood leaks from his nose an ears. As Alfred cleans it off, he explains that the chair wants to be passive, only observing, and that his tactics are causing it to fight him. Alfred points out that this benefits the chair more than it benefits him, and he has not stood up since he returned from the Justice League's conflict with Darkseid.
Batman insists that he can stand up whenever he wants, but when he tries, he discovers that it is harder than he had previously imagined. Covering, he insists that the chair is the ultimate crime-fighting tool, and that with it, can finally catch and defeat the one man he could never understand otherwise...
- This book was first published on October 28, 2015.
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