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Batman #453 - Packrat Comics

Batman #453

DC COMICS

  • 2000


DARK KNIGHT, DARK CITY PART 2Batman has followed the Riddler to Gotham's military cemetery. He is startled when a zombie crawls out of the ground and begins attacking him. Suddenly he is attacked by lifeless zombies on all sides. Batman notices that one of them appears to be human. The Riddler watches this fight in his surveillance van, cackling with delight. His henchman Chuck remarks that he's never seen the Riddler this crazy or bloodthirsty. Batman is able to defeat the zombies when he figures out that they are robots. The human one runs away, and he is revealed to be the Riddler's henchman Jimmy in disguise.  The Riddler does not want Jimmy giving away information, so he detonates an explosive on Jimmy's neck, and he dies instantly. Chuck is horrified and the Riddler forces Chuck to drive away at gunpoint. Batman hears their engine and chases the van. He throws himself in front of the vehicle, and leaps away at the last moment. The Riddler swerves to avoid hitting him. This lets Batman know that the Riddler is not trying to kill him, and needs him alive for something. Chuck asks what has gotten into the Riddler. The Riddler replies that he has found religion. Batman realizes how expensive this must have been to set up, and wonders when the Riddler became such a psychopath. He finds the second of the four babies that were kidnapped, lying in front of a tombstone. The tombstone has another riddle on it. "You'll find another little tot, at the 25th who was shot."  Back in 1793, the written confession of Jacob Stockman continues. Stockman explains that their occult ritual summoned the daemon Barbathos. A winged creature began attacking them in their Black Temple, and they scurried to escape. Their sacrifice, the young girl turned into a "Human Bat," woke up from her drugs and stared at the monster in horror. The six occultists escaped above ground, and sealed the girl inside with the demon in the monster. They went their separate ways and never returned. Stockman sold his farm and moved to Canada. Another member of the group committed suicide. A third member lost his life at Saratoga. Their fourth member, Thomas Jefferson, threw himself into politics. Stockman does not know what happened to the other two. The Black Temple was paved over, and Gotham City was built on top of it.  In the modern era, Batman drives the Batmobile past the area where the Black Temple is entombed. He wonders why a shiver goes down his spine. Batman returns to Wayne Manor so he can think about this next riddle. He falls asleep, and has a dream about the murder of his parents. In the dream, a figure in the shadows pulls his parents to their deaths... it is like the city itself consciously made him into Batman.  Suddenly he wakes up, having solved the riddle. The Riddler is on McKinley St., named after President McKinley. This is one of the streets he passed on the night his parents were murdered.  The Riddler prepares his henchmen for the next task. Batman begins interrogating people on McKinley St. in the local bars. Suddenly a van crashes through the window, releasing several pit bull terriers. Batman fights the dogs to protect the civilians. Somebody hands him a knife, and without thinking he uses it to stab one of the dogs. He realizes the knife is silver, and the man who handed it to him is getting into the van. Batman chases the van down the street and climbs into it. There is nobody driving, but the Riddler contacts him by radio. This time the Riddler gives his exact location, and explains the baby is about to die. Batman races to find the Riddler. The Riddler places a ping pong ball inside the baby's throat so it will choke to death. Batman goes into the sewers to find the Riddler, and he is blinded by bright lights. Two more henchmen attack him with bats. Batman defeats these goons and sees the Riddler holding the choking baby. The Riddler escapes while Batman tries to save the baby's life. The baby cannot breathe, and the ping pong ball is wedged tightly with no way to get it out. Batman realizes his only option is an emergency tracheotomy.

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