"Bat-Murderer!": This story is reprinted from Detective Comics #444.
Appearing in "Bat-Murderer!"
- Scrag Donovan (First appearance)
- Huey (Single appearance)
- Talia (Apparent Death)
- Gotham City Police Department
- Specs (Single appearance)
- Roger Barton (Single appearance)
- Elizabeth Baylor (Single appearance)
Synopsis for "Bat-Murderer!"
This story is reprinted from Detective Comics #444.
The Gotham City Police Department is on the lookout for Scrag Donovan, a dangerous criminal who poses a threat to society. Commissioner Gordon gives Batman the task to investigate the case and find the criminal's whereabouts. Batman proceeds to interrogate members of the underworld of Gotham City and he is given a clue about Donovan's possible location. Batman goes to the place and finds that Donovan has joined a mysterious gang lead by a woman, who is planning a big crime in Gotham. Batman infiltrates the gang by posing as one of the crooks and he joins them the night of the crime.
During the gala premier of a movie, the criminals strike in order to steal valuable jewels from a famous actress. In that moment, Batman reveals himself and tries to stop the gang, only to be stopped when he learns that their leader is none other than Talia, the daughter of the criminal mastermind Ra's al Ghul. For a brief moment, both of them stare at each other, without knowing what to do and they are startled at the sound of the police sirens. Talia explains that she must escape for her father's sake and she tosses her gun to Batman, who catches the firearm in mid-air. Unfortunately, as Talia starts running away, Batman fires the gun in his hand and the bullet hits Talia, ending her life. By the time Commissioner Gordon and the GCPD arrive at the scene, they find Batman holding the dead body of his troubled love.
Back at the GCPD Headquarters, Gordon examines the evidence and comes to the conclusion that Batman killed Talia on purpose and he gives orders to arrest Batman on the charge of murder on the first degree. Batman manages to escape from the police and he leaves the building with the promise to find the culprit responsible for this unexpected framing.
Afterwards, Commissioner Gordon commands that the Bat-Signal is never to be turned on again, but right then, Batman delivers Scrag Donovan to the police, true to his last promise.
Appearing in "Break-In at the Big House"
- Ra's Al Ghul (Apparent Death)
- Talia (Flashback only)
- Scrag Donovan (Flashback only)
- "Brick" Milligan (Single appearance)
- Prison Guards
- Ernie named (Single appearance)
Synopsis for "Break-In at the Big House"
This story is reprinted from Detective Comics #445.
One day later, the news about the murder committed by Batman spread across Gotham City and Commissioner Gordon asks his friend Bruce Wayne to convince Batman to turn himself to the authorities. Bruce decides to play along, just to keep a close eye on Gordon's investigation.
However, the evidence is solid enough to make Alfred doubt about the events. Bruce explains that he did held the gun that murdered Talia, but that he didn't pull the trigger. Instead, the weapon aimed itself at Talia and fired automatically. Bruce then talks to Dick Grayson, who is just as worried as Alfred, but when he learns the truth, he supports his mentor.
When night comes, Bruce leaves his penthouse as Batman and goes directly to the new Gotham maximum security prison in order to interrogate the most possible suspect of the whole frame-up. Batman breaks into the place avoiding every security measure and he disguises himself as a guard in order to reach the cell where Ra's al Ghul in locked. Ra's has been waiting for Batman and when the Dark Knight asks him about his involvement in the death of Talia, Ra's confesses that he planned everything in order to frame Batman for two murders. At that moment, Ra's pulls out a gun and shoots himself in the chest, tossing the weapon towards Batman as his lifeless body falls to the floor.
The prison guards become aware of Batman's presence and when they behold the crime scene, they attempt to capture him. Batman uses a couple of smoke pellets from his Utility Belt as distraction to fight some of the guards and then he escapes using one of the secret exits to the prison, which he learned from The Spook. Once outside, Batman realizes that he has nothing to work with except the gun that Ra's used to kill himself and he starts thinking that he might not be able to solve this case.
Appearing in "Slaughter in Silver"
- Sterling Silversmith (First appearance)
- Duffy (Only appearance; dies)
- Roger (Only appearance; dies)
- Miggs (Single appearance)
- Frank (Single appearance)
- Louis Silversmith (Appears only as a corpse)
- Thomas Wayne (In a photograph only)
- Martha Wayne (In a photograph only)
- Gotham Police
- Officer Kelly (Single appearance)
- Officer Harris (Single appearance)
Synopsis for "Slaughter in Silver"
This story is reprinted from Detective Comics #446.
During the investigation of Talia's murder and Ra's al Ghul's suicide, Batman comes across the case of a skeleton found within a silver Batman statue. When he learns that the skeleton has been moved to the morgue, Batman infiltrates the place to continue his investigation, but he is confronted by three thugs who want to retrieve the sleketon. Batman prevents them from taking the skeleton, but he is forced to flee when the police arrive because he is now a wanted man by the law.
Batman follows the criminal trio to their hideout, where they report their failure to the leader of the gang; a man called Sterling Silversmith. Batman listens to their conversation and learns that Silversmith is a notorious silver smuggler and that he is responsible for placing the skeleton of his own brother inside the statue. Batman leaps into action and tries to stop Silversmith, but the criminal manages to knock Batman and prepares to eliminate him. Batman breaks free in time to save himself and stop Silversmith just as the police find the place and arrest all the criminals. Some of the officers try to stop Batman, but they can't shoot at him, giving Batman the chance to escape and continue his investigation to clear his name.
Appearing in "Enter: The Creeper"
- Ra's al Ghul (Behind the scenes)
- Morris Middleman (Single appearance)
- Shirley Middleman (Single appearance)
- Gotham Police
- Officer Sinkovec (Single appearance)
- Officer Tiefenbacher (Single appearance)
- Phantom Stranger (Cameo)
Synopsis for "Enter: The Creeper"
This story is reprinted from Detective Comics #447.
Batman continues his investigation and he goes to the cemetery where the corpses of Talia and Ra's al Ghul are buried. Batman starts digging Ra's gravesite until he finds the coffin, which is surprisingly empty upon opening. Unfortunately, a couple of police officers have spotted Batman and they confront the Dark Knight, with the intention of capturing him. Batman overcomes them and he forces them to see the empty coffin in order to clear his name. When Batman takes them to the coffin, the corpse of Ra's is there to Batman's astonishment and the Dark Knight is forced to retreat. At this point, the rumors about Batman's sanity, or lack of thereof, become noted by the entire city, including Jack Ryder.
Batman returns to the Wayne Foundation penthouse, defeated, but Alfred has learned something from investigating the gun that Ra's al Ghul used to kill himself. Alfred discovered that the pistol was custom made and that it contained a lion's hair. Batman decides to continue his investigation at the Gotham Zoo while elsewhere in the city, Jack Ryder decides to become the Creeper once again to capture the madman wanted by the law.
After doing some research of the Zoo's staff, Batman is unable to find any possible suspect and he is suddenly confronted by the Creeper. Batman tries to explain the situation to the Creeper, who doesn't listen and attacks the Caped Crusader. The fight starts in the middle of Zoo, and none of them is unaware of the silent man who is watching them as he opens the lions' cage, setting the animals free. Batman and Creeper put their differences aside to confront the animals and once they stun the beasts, they interrogate the man who set the animals free. As the man is about to confess who is he working for, an arrow hits him in the back and kills him. Creeper then finally realizes that Batman has been telling the truth all along and that someone has framed him for the murders. After this confrontation, Batman finally has an idea of how to clear his name and he asks Creeper to join him on the dangerous crusade.
Appearing in "Bedlam Beneath the Big Top!"
- League of Assassins
- Gotham City
- Gaston St. Lucifer's Circus
- Gaston St. Lucifer's Circus
Synopsis for "Bedlam Beneath the Big Top!"
This story is reprinted from Detective Comics #448.
Batman learns from Jack Ryder that the most possible location of the responsibles for his frame-up is in a foreign circus and Batman goes undercover to investigate. At first sight, there is nothing suspicious about the place, but when Batman investigates on the crew's private rooms, he discovers a large machine that is completely out of place. Batman soon realizes that he has been followed by a midget, who is part of the circus and he tries to capture the small man, but he loses him in the house of mirrors. Batman is then attacked by a some of the "circus freaks", but he manages to defeat them and finds an exit from the maze of mirrors.
Once outside, Batman notices a group of thugs talking about their "boss" and he takes a shot by disguising himself as who he believes is their leader: Ra's al Ghul. Unfortunately, the thugs don't fall for the gimmick and they all attack Batman, leaving him unconscious for a few moments.
When Batman recovers, he find himself surrounded by the circus' crew and the ringmaster tells him that they are giving him the chance to accept a "generous offer". At first Batman refuses, but soon the snake charmer woman approaches him and takes off her disguise, revealing herself as Talia, alive and well, much to Batman's surprise. Talia tells Batman that she speaks on behalf of her father when she asks Batman to join them and take his rightful place at her side as the heir to Ra's al Ghul's empire. She tries to convince Batman by telling him that the police has turned against him and that he has no other choice to make. However, Batman refuses, causing the wrath of his enemies, who take turns to attack him. Batman takes care of the most dangerous adversaries and once he has taken them out, he finds himself outnumbered when the rest of the crew attacks him at the same time. Batman is about to lose the fight when suddenly, The Creeper appears and helps Batman fight the League of Assassins. Together, Batman and Creeper defeat the assassins and finally, they confront their leader, Ra's al Ghul, who was concealed behind the midget's disguise thanks to an hallucination-gas which tricked others into seeing what he wanted.
Ra's admits that his plan was to frame Batman, transform him into an outlaw and force him to join the League of Assassins. Batman tries to capture Ra's and bring him to the authorities to clear his name, but the circus tent starts to burn after the fight and the whole place starts collapsing. Ra's knows that Batman has one choice between saving Talia and capturing him, which is why he decides not to move from his place while Batman takes Talia out of the tent and witness how the place burns to ashes with Ra's al Ghul inside.
When Commissioner Gordon and the GCPD arrive at the scene, The Creeper flees the place and everyone is shocked to see Talia alive. Batman informs them about the conspiracy against him and to further confirm this theory, he shows them how the automatic guns that were used to frame him work. With his name cleared, Batman is glad to learn that Commissioner Gordon would retire the charges against him and he is allowed to work alongside the Police Force once again.
Appearing in "Angel -- or Devil?"
- Ye Olde Avon Players
- Harry (Single appearance)
- Emelyin (Single appearance)
- Kevin (Single appearance)
- Wilfred Pennyworth (Single appearance)
Synopsis for "Angel -- or Devil?"
This story is reprinted from Batman #216.
Batman stops a member of Ye Olde Avon Players from striking a girl at the back door of the Gotham Theatre, but for some reason, the girl grabs Batman's hand and enables the assailant to stun him. When he recovers, he has lost his quarry in the players' backstage.
Resuming his usual patrol, he spots the girl hitchhiking and gives her a lift to her destination: Wayne Manor. The girl turns out to be Dahne Pennyworth, daughter of Wilfred Pennyworth, Alfred's brother, and, like Wilfred, a thespian with the Players. She explains that the man who tried to strike her was her boyfriend and that it was a misunderstanding.
After leaving her at Wayne Manor's front door, Batman doubles back to meet her at as Bruce Wayne. Dick Grayson, ailing from a cold, falls head-over-heels for Daphne and, to impress her, shows her what she has secretly come for: the first folio of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, written in the Bard's own hand. That night, Daphne prowls around Wayne Manor and creates a wax mold of the front door's keys.
In the morning, she invites the three of them to the Players' performance of Romeo and Juliet at night, and between acts, she goes back to Wayne Manor to steal the folio. She is stopped by Alfred, who has anticipated the theft, and accidentally shoots him. What Daphne didn't know was that she was carrying a prop gun. Alfred mimes death and Daphne, who thinks she has really killed him, leaves in tears with the folio.
Daphne returns and passes along the folio to the other Players, who have been holding her and her father Wilfred hostage. Wilfred tells her that the gun was a prop and shoves her onstage to get her out of harm's way. The Players tell Wilfred that the dagger she will soon plunge into her breast as Juliet is real, and that they will also kill Wilfred to ensure his silence. At that moment, Alfred and Batman converge on the theater and defeat the Players, while Wilfred and Dick stop Daphne from stabbing herself. In the aftermath, Alfred is informed of Daphne's real motivations and forgives her.
- Also reprinted the Wayne Foundation Building diagram pencilled and inked by Terry Austin originally published in Limited Collectors' Edition #C-44.
- No trivia.
- Write your own review of this comic!
- Discuss The Best of DC Vol 1 9 on the forums
- Cover gallery for the The Best of DC series
- Batman Recommended Reading
- Batman (Volume 1)
- Batman (Volume 2)
- Batman (Volume 3)
- Batman and Robin (Volume 1)
- Batman and Robin (Volume 2)
- Batman Confidential (Volume 1)
- Batman: Gotham Knights (Volume 1)
- Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight (Volume 1)
- Batman: Shadow of the Bat (Volume 1)
- Batman: Streets of Gotham (Volume 1)
- Batman Incorporated (Volume 1)
- Batman Incorporated (Volume 2)
- Batman/Superman (Volume 1)
- Batman/Superman (Volume 2)
- Batman: The Dark Knight (Volume 1)
- Batman: The Dark Knight (Volume 2)
- The Brave and the Bold (Volume 1)
- Detective Comics (Volume 1)
- Detective Comics (Volume 2)
- Superman/Batman (Volume 1)
- World's Finest (Volume 1)