Previously on Batman: The Dark Knight: Covering Issues #1 - 10
Bruce gives a speech about his vision for the future of Gotham but is then accosted by Lieutenant Forbes of the Internal Affairs division for his public support of Batman. Forbes wants to know who within the police department is working with Batman, but he’s asked to leave by the hostess, Jaina Hudson, who also happens to catch the eye of Bruce. Meanwhile, Arkham Asylum comes under siege by escaped patients, and the police can’t maintain control. Batman shows up and moves in with the police as his backup, but he comes upon a woman dressed up with white bunny ears and a fluffy tail, though she runs off before he can question her. Soon after they come face-to-face with Two-Face, who doesn’t exactly seem pleased to see them. Batman and the former district attorney throw down on one another, and for a moment it looks as though he’s going to finally off the Bat, but he starts to hemorrhage from his pores and passes out. Commissioner Gordon and Batman discuss the fallout of the escaped patients, and an analysis of Two-Face’s bloodstream shows something similar to Scarecrow’s fear toxin.
Later on, Bruce has a meal with Jaina, while the rest of the “Batman family” deals with several villains that are hopped up on the altered fear toxin, making them fearless to confrontation. Not too long after, a report of the Joker hijacking a commuter train makes its way to Batman, and he goes in to take out the comedic clown. Onboard the train he sees the bunny-girl again and approaches the Joker, who happens to be buffed out like he’s a weightlifter. The Joker starts to tear into the Batman, but ole’ Bats determines that it’s not really the Joker but Clayface playing one of his roles, but that doesn’t stop him from continuing to beat on Batman. The White Rabbit seems about ready to inject Batman with the anti-fear toxin, but the appearance of the Flash spooks her off. A bit later Forbes is at the station to investigate the train incident, but there’s no one present until Batman drops Clayface on his car and tells Forbes to lay off of Bruce Wayne. Soon after, Bruce has dinner with Jaina once again but is fearful that she’s really the White Rabbit until Alfred proves she is not when he calls to tell him he’s spotted her at the same time.
Further analysis of the toxin shows that it is derived from a very rare plant, and immediately Batman suspects Poison Ivy. He and the Flash go and check out Ivy’s lab, but the speedster pricks himself on a thorn and contracts the toxin; Batman tells him to go and run to try and metabolize the poison before it work on him. While Flash runs around the world, Batman is attacked by roots and vines; a moment later Wonder Woman calls to say she can’t help him out as she’s busy tracking down escaped Arkham patients. Moments later, on a careful inspection of the lab, Batman finds a note left behind by Ivy that gives information on the fearless compound and decides to track her down even further, by way of her pheromones, to Harmon Island. While en route, Batman discovers a gift box in the Batplane, but before he can fully investigate it, he’s ripped out of the cockpit by a fearless Deathstroke.
Falling from the sky, Batman saves himself by using his grappling hook and works his way to an abandoned house at the center of the island, finding Scarecrow waiting for him. After getting dosed with some fear toxin, Batman fights against the psycho of psychology until he gets dosed with the new fearless compound. Moments later, Superman arrives to lend a hand, but Bats has lost it and starts attacking the Kryptonian with all he’s got; with little effort, Superman takes down Batman, nearly killing him in the process. Batman recovers and discovers that high levels of adrenaline pump the compound out and that the Flash is headed for a drastic crash. Superman rushes to help Flash while the White Rabbit leads a still hazy Batman back to Scarecrow, but he soon discovers that it has really been Bane behind it all. Batman and Bane fight it out, but Bane uses the fearless toxin to augment his venom serum and becomes stronger than ever before. Batman runs away to regroup and finds Ivy being held captive; after he releases her she tells him about the antidote to the fearless toxin and the best way to administer it to Bane. Once more Batman fights Bane, but this time, with the help of the Flash, he makes the Caribbean crusher depower himself before retiring back to Gothamn City. A little bit later, Jaina entertains the return of the White Rabbit, who happens to be a part of the socialite.
A few days later Batman is called in by Gordon to investigate a bloody subway train massacre; a close inspection of the scene reveals that the passengers killed each other for no apparent reason. Meanwhile, Forbes informs Gordon that he’s been required to see the department psychologist for an evaluation and that he’s likely to be suspended indefinitely; Gordon goes to see the doctor, and does talk about his feelings but doesn’t want to reveal too much. Back at the Batcave, Batman determines that two escapees of the recent Arkham breakout—Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum—are part of something going on and tracks them down, only to discover that the Mad Hatter is back in action as well. After a brief fight with the three on a rooftop, Batman bests the trio and signals to Gordon that all is okay. Soon after, Batman fights one of the Talons who is after a mayoral candidate and takes him out easily, but cannot save the candidate.
Following the Court of Owls, Batman and Gordon work hard in their investigation of kidnapped children being returned in a very emotionally-altered state, all done by the machinations of the Scarecrow. The situation has hit both of them hard, and they think about their own children while trying to solve the case before more children are taken. The Scarecrow gases Gordon in his own home, making him live out a nightmare concerning his children, and is then accosted by the masked man.
Calling For Help: I really like the fact that Batman knew when to put his pride aside and call for help from the other superheroes. He’s never been one for team playing, as he has such a hard time trusting anyone but himself and his “bat” family—and even then it’s a struggle to connect with him—so to have him reach out to the Justice League members to back up him means he’s able to actually look at the big picture (something he usually excels at).
Relationship with Gordon: It seems as though Bruce’s relationship with Gordon is at a very low patch, even though Batman’s relationship with him is still pretty strong. From what I’ve read in the past, Bruce has always considered Gordon to be something of a father figure to him, so to manipulate him like this just breaks me up. Let’s face it, Batman can’t seem to get along well with anyone but himself—and even then he’s got some serious self-loathing issues—but I was really disappointed to see Bruce not calling the commissioner back when he flat out asked for help.
Relationship with Jaina: I’m not especially surprised that Bruce would get into a relationship with a Gotham socialite, but I am rather taken aback that he could find himself caring so much for Jaina in such a short amount of time. I’m not positive of exactly how long time has passed within the comic, but it can’t be more than a couple of weeks at the extreme most, and yet he’s come right out and said that he feels he finally has someone he can trust with his secret. He’s moving just a teensy bit fast in my opinion.
Relationship with Gordon: Will Bruce be able to repair his relationship with Gordon before the commissioner is ousted from his position, or is he just going to let it pass into oblivion like so many of his meaningful relationships with people?
Relationship with Jaina: Since he seems to trust her so much, what is he willing to tell her about his real life? Will she be one of the few women to actually see the Batcave from the mansion side, and what’s her deal with the White Rabbit?
The White Rabbit: Now that we’ve discovered that there’s some sort of power or relationship existing between the White Rabbit and Jaina, what is going to become of the trouble-making duo? Will they make a play for Bruce’s heart, and do they know Bruce’s secrets?