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Batman #451 - Packrat Comics

Batman #451

DC COMICS

  • 2500


JUDGEMENTS!Commissioner Gordon is troubled knowing that the man who crippled his daughter is still alive and has returned to Gotham. He remembers the torture he went through at the hands of the Joker and he decides to visit Barbara at the Gotham City Public Library, to tell her that he doesn't know what he will do when he confronts the madman.  Joker has in fact returned to Gotham, but he is not responsible for the crimes blamed on him. Joker has been recovering from his near death experience after his escape attempt which ended in a helicopter crash. Ever since, Joker has lost his natural madness and is filled with self-doubt. However, when a new "Joker" appears in Gotham, the real Joker turns his attention to this impostor and tries to figure out a way to get his madness back and reclaim his title as the only Joker in Gotham.  Batman on the other hand, is currently pondering what his reaction will be when he meets the man responsible for killing his second partner. His second son. Bruce tells Alfred that he has wanted to kill the Joker before, but Alfred tells him that he won't do it because he is anything, but a killer.  In the meantime, Curtis Base, the corrupt banker, is the man behind the Joker crimes. Using a mask to resemble the Clown Prince of Crime, Base started his criminal career and he has taken the role of the Joker very seriously, even to the point of considering a permanent transformation. However, such thoughts are set aside as he starts preparing his next crime with assistance from his regretful henchmen.  That night, as Base's henchmen prepare for the hit, they are unaware that Batman is out on the streets, looking for them. Batman eventually learns of the thugs' whereabouts, but the real Joker has also succeeded in learning that information. Joker finds one of the henchmen first and interrogates him about their "hit". The oblivious thug tells Joker everything, thinking that he is his boss, Curtis Base. By the time Batman arrives, Joker was gone and he could only find Base's thug tied-up.  From the thug's confession, Gordon and Batman learn about Curtis' activities and his next hit. By the time they get going, the fake Joker has already struck and is in the process of stealing money when he is confronted by the real Joker, who somehow is still unsure of himself and is unable to fight his imitator. Batman, Gordon and the Gotham City Police Department arrive in the middle of the confrontation, but they are unable to capture any of the Jokers as both of them were too clever for the baffled authorities.  The next day, Curtis sends a note to the GCPD Headquarters, telling Gordon and Batman to go to the place "where everything began". This is enough information for Batman to figure out where to go. An APB is broadcast on all radios about this cryptic message in order to let the real Joker known about Curtis' plan.  That night at the Ace Chemical Processing Plant, Fake Joker awaits inside for Batman and Gordon, unaware that the real Joker is coming as well. Fake Joker attacks Batman and Gordon, shooting the vats of acid surrounding them. Batman takes Gordon to safety before he goes to confront Fake Joker directly. At that precise moment, the real Joker drops on his imitator and tells him that nobody can replace the original. In a desperate attempt to become the one and only Joker, Curtis jumps into a vat of acid, not knowing that the contents are much stronger and deadlier that the ones that transformed the Joker.  Curtis suffers a slow and painful death inside the vat of acid and the real Joker is captured by Batman and Gordon. The madman seems mild as a result of his lack of confidence in his own madness and he doesn't fight back. As Gordon and Batman consider what to do with him, the rest of the GCPD arrives and watches as both Gordon and Batman decide to book the Joker, even though they both want to kill him.  Joker is taken back to Arkham Asylum once again, where the madness that surrounds the place actually helps him recover his lost insanity and confidence in his own criminal genius. Knowing that he will soon become his former self, Joker simply slides downward towards dementia.

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