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"Pushback, Book Five": In Star City, Green Arrow leads a SWAT team on a raid on the motel that Hush was staying in. Green Arrow breaks down the door with an explosive arrow. SWAT and Green Arrow enter the room where they find medical equipment that was used for Prometheus' surgery but neither Pr



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Synopsis for "Pushback, Book Five"

In Star City, Green Arrow leads a SWAT team on a raid on the motel that Hush was staying in. Green Arrow breaks down the door with an explosive arrow. SWAT and Green Arrow enter the room where they find medical equipment that was used for Prometheus' surgery but neither Prometheus or Hush were present in the room. Green Arrow reports what he found during the raid to Batman. Green Arrow suspects that Hush was able to save Prometheus despite the amount of blood loss. Tim Drake arrives on the scene and informs Batman that he can't find any trace of Riddler or Joker. Tim Drake becomes unnerved because he notices for the first time during his tour as Robin that Batman is actually afraid of what Hush may do next. Tim reassures Batman that he isn't alone in this fight and they will be ready when Hush reemerges in Gotham. In Gotham, the Riddler demands to see the Joker, but the henchmen protecting him refuse to answer to Nygma's demands until the Joker says otherwise. Eventually, the Riddler is given an audience with the Joker and Nygma presents Joker a scrap of paper with the name Oliver Hammet etched on the paper. Riddler exclaims that Officer Oliver Hammet is responsible for the murder of Joker's wife Jeannie. Penguin cackles that anyone would be married to the Joker but the Joker explains that he was married to Jeannie long before he fell into the vat of chemicals which transformed him. The cops who approached Joker before he became the Clown Prince of Crime, said that Jeannie had died from a boiler blowing up in their apartment. However, Joker always had a feeling that it was payback for the botched Ace Chemical Plant heist. Joker had told the criminals who were in on the heist that he was having second thoughts about their big scheme but they refused to let him walk out on them.

Twelve years ago, when Joker was an average man named Jack, he made a fire for Jeannie and showed her a baseball mitt that he bought for his unborn son. Jack fills Jeannie with hope by saying that they will be moving out of their apartment and into a new place in Brigadoon Acres. Jeannie asks Jack how he intends to make these dreams a reality because she fears he may do something dangerous or illegal to get what they want. Jack admits that he has do one thing for two mobsters and then they will be set for life. Jeannie talks some sense into Jack by saying something could go wrong or he could end up arrested then where would they be. Jeannie tells Jack that they will get out of the slump they are in for the right reasons and the right way. Jack promises Jeannie that he will get himself out of this agreement.

The criminals tell Jack that he can't walk out on the operation but the heavy set gangster says to Jack that if he isn't willing to be the Red Hood for their big scheme then he is free to walk. The heavy set gangster then makes a call to Oliver Hammet and orders him to abduct Jack's wife. Jack comes back to his apartment with a bouquet of flowers for Jeannie but finds the place has been torn apart. The phone rings, Jack picks up and he hears the voice of one of the criminals who exclaims that if Jack follows through with the heist then no harm will come to her. During the botched heist, Batman surprises the two gangsters and chases Jack who was wearing the Red Hood costume. Jack falls into the vat of chemicals and emerges as the Joker. Jack has a few lingering memories after his transformation and goes back to his apartment to see if Jeannie has been returned safely. Instead, Jack finds the entire apartment building ablaze and the fire department trying to put it out. Jack looks on as the fire consumes the last shred of his humanity not noticing the Riddler walking past him.

Penguin asks how the Riddler came to know all the events that took place. Nygma explains that he had acquired a studio apartment across from Joker's apartment building because he wanted to observe his intended target...Gotham First National Bank. Riddler then notices Officer Hammet carrying an unconscious Jeannie on the fire escape and opens the window to her apartment. Hammet places Jeannie on the floor of her kitchen then he causes a gas leak from the boiler and pre- sets the stove. Hammet makes his way down the fire escape and within moments the apartment explodes. The aftershock knocked out the windows of Riddler's studio apartment and a few shards of glass cut his face. When Nygma had regained consciousness, he went down to the crowd who were observing the fire department trying to put out the fire. Nygma notices Hammet performing crowd control while the firemen fight the fire. Hammet told Nygma to move along then Nygma sees Jack's pale complexion as the Joker. Two days later, Nygma goes to Jeannie's burial service and sees the Joker paying his last respects but with a grin instead of a frown. Joker vows to find and talk to Hammet before killing him.



Notes

  • This book was first published on June 16, 2004.
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