"Original Sins": Unscrupulous "investigative reporter" Steve Jones brings a film-crew to Gotham City, intending to make a documentary "humanizing" its most infamous criminals. On learning of this, Batman immediately tries to intervene, but finds his warnings scorn
- Some people go to the beach to forget their problems. They can watch the waves for hours. I understand the fascination. There's a pattern -- then there is no pattern. It's the same with the coin. We want it all to mean something -- We want to find the pattern -- But in the final analysis, it's just waves. The only absolute stays hidden like some glittering Snake, waiting in mirrored silence for the opportunity to strike. My hand trembles. I stare into the glass. Something terrible stares back.
- — Two-Face
- 1 Synopsis for "Original Sins"
- 2 Appearing in "Original Sins"
- 3 Synopsis for "The Killing Peck"
- 4 Appearing in "The Killing Peck"
- 5 Synopsis for "When is a Door.: The Secret Origin of The Riddler..."
- 6 Appearing in "When is a Door.: The Secret Origin of The Riddler..."
- 7 Synopsis for "Two-Face"
- 8 Appearing in "Two-Face"
- 9 Notes
- 10 Trivia
- 11 See Also
- 12 Links and References
Synopsis for "Original Sins"
Unscrupulous "investigative reporter" Steve Jones brings a film-crew to Gotham City, intending to make a documentary "humanizing" its most infamous criminals. On learning of this, Batman immediately tries to intervene, but finds his warnings scorned by the overconfident - and fame-hungry - Jones.
To his frustration, Jones soon discovers that Arkham Asylum (citing a recent incident with 60 Minutes) has adopted a no-filming policy. In addition, most of Arkham's "star" inmates, including the Joker, are at large and in hiding; of those still incarcerated, only the Scarecrow expresses any interest in media attention, and only as a means to academically lecture on fear.
Dismissing the Scarecrow's offer, Jones' crew eventually secures three viable interviewees:
- "Knuckles" O'Rourke, one of the Penguin's old henchmen
- The Riddler, now paroled and operating a junkyard
- Grace Dent, Two-Face's ex-wife
All three interviews progress smoothly, though Jones remains naive (and at times outright callous) toward the subjects. As a closing segment, he conducts a series of mini-interviews with several passerby, receiving a flurry of opinions ranging from hostile to apathetic to skeptical that Batman - or any of his costumed nemeses - even exists.
Thinking the documentary finished, Jones delivers his sign-off, only to start laughing hysterically halfway through. As his crew looks on in horror, a figure in a purple overcoat and hat calmly passes by.
Appearing in "Original Sins"
- Galaxy Communications
- Steve Jones (Only appearance; dies)
- Kathy (Single appearance)
- Nat (Single appearance)
- Helene (Single appearance)
- Steve Jones (Only appearance; dies)
- Joker (Cameo)
Synopsis for "The Killing Peck"
The Penguin kidnaps a mobster being transferred into Gotham City from Chicago to attend his father's funeral. The mobster is a thug named "Sharkey," who has very sharp metal teeth, and apparently used to bully the Penguin in grade school. Batman is on the Penguin's trail. The Penguin brutalizes Sharkey by force-feeding him fish and caviar, covering him in fish paste and even welding his teeth together while he retells him their story.
When Oswald Cobblepot had been a young boy, Sharkey had been the first person to call him "Penguin" for his funny appearance. Sharkey would cover him in fish during lunches, and beat him up with his own umbrella. At a Halloween party, Sharkey forced the Penguin to strip down and switch costumes with a much smaller kid who had been wearing a tuxedo, turning him for the first time into a "real penguin." Young Oswald's one comfort was his books, and the birds in his family's birdshop, his only true friends. Although he had long resigned himself to being the "runt" of the litter, looking down one day at some hatchlings Cobblepot saw the tiniest and weakest bird of all let out a roaring noise that frightened all of his siblings. From then on, he knew he could overcome. Oswald took boxing lessons and martial arts lessons, and weight trained for months in secret. Finally, when he was ready, he confronted Sharkey, and punched his teeth out. When he returned home that night, feeling triumphant, he found that Sharkey and his gang had murdered every single one of his precious birds.
After significantly torturing him, the Penguin takes Sharkey to the zoo, where Batman finally catches up with him. The Penguin pushes a greased up Sharkey into the tiger pit, where Batman is barely able to save his life. The Penguin escapes the scene, and Batman carries Sharkey off to the hospital, confused but not too concerned about what Penguin's motivations were.
Appearing in "The Killing Peck"
- "Sharkey" (Single appearance)
- Batman (Bruce Wayne)
- Nehemiah "Knuckles" O'Rourke
Synopsis for "When is a Door.: The Secret Origin of The Riddler..."
Jones and his crew visit the Finger Junkyard, which is run by an elderly and now-paroled Riddler. The Riddler taunts and teases the crew with the junkyard's massive props and a variety of nonsensical riddles, and gloomily comments on how Gotham's criminals have become more and more violent as of late, but steadfastly refuses to reveal anything concrete about his own origins.
Eventually, Jones and his crew leave, deciding that the interview was a waste of time. One of Jones' crew, however, notes that the Riddler would make an excellent talk-show host.
Appearing in "When is a Door.: The Secret Origin of The Riddler..."
- Steve Jones and his News Crew
- Book Worm (Mentioned only)
- King Tut (Mentioned only)
- Marsha, Queen of Diamonds (Mentioned only)
- Egg Head (Mentioned only)
- Gotham City
- The Giant Prop Warehouse
- The Giant Prop Warehouse
Synopsis for "Two-Face"
An impressive multilayered exploration of the psychology of Two-Face as his estranged wife, Mrs. Grace Dent, is a guest on a talk show as she fleshes out his background (his parents died in a boating accident when he was young, so he became obsessed with the law, parallelling his origins with those of Batman) and tells her side of a recent story involving her husband. Mrs. Dent narrates the tale of a prisoner named Dalton Perry, who was one of Harvey Dent's final convictions as District Attorney and served his entire eight-year sentence in solitary confinement, nursing his grudge against Harvey. Upon release, Perry storms the old Dent house where Grace still lived and prepares to burn down the house with her in it, but Two-Face finally crashes in and saves the day after some soul-searching. Pretty heartbreaking ending, with the Dents' reunion shortlived thanks to the coin and yet both still yearning for each other, as Grace believes that one day Harvey will come back to her and leave Two-Face behind.
Appearing in "Two-Face"
- Dalton Perry (Single appearance)
- Sal Maroni (Cameo)
- Material from this issue has been reprinted in the following:
- "Original Sins" and "When Is A Door" in Batman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?
- The untitled Two-Face story in Two-Face: A Celebration of 75 Years.
- The entire issue in Batman: Featuring Two-Face and the Riddler and The DC Universe By Neil Gaiman.
- The "deluxe" edition of The DC Universe By Neil Gaiman also reuses this issue's cover-art.
- A "Dr. Chilton" is mentioned as Arkham Asylum's head administrator - almost certainly a reference to Frederick Chilton of the Hannibal Lecter franchise.
- The Giant Prop Warehouse in The Riddler's story is called "Finger Yard" as a reference to Batman's co-creator, Bill Finger, who liked to include giant props in his stories during the Golden and Silver Ages.
- John Constantine makes a brief cameo in this issue as one of the individuals questioned by the film crew.
Links and References