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"Batman: Lost": Trapped in the Dark Multiverse, Batman is lost inside a neverending nightmare.


Quote1 The truth is, you are nothing without me. You are plain. Less than plain. This place, my realm, it is full of worlds created from fears and failings, and you... You have more than any other hero, my son. Whole galaxies of worlds built by the unspoken terrors in your heart. I showed you three, but there are thousands. Look around you. People think you are a great hero of humanity. Maybe the greatest. They strive to be like you, all because I willed it. So, when your true nature was revealed, they would shrink back to the dark. Now look! LOOK! Because this is who you are without my help. They are the real you, Bruce. I picked the ones I needed... the darkest ones... and I brought them through the window. Look at them! Quote2
-- Barbatos



Appearing in "Batman: Lost"

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Synopsis for "Batman: Lost"

Trapped in the Dark Multiverse, Batman is lost inside a neverending nightmare.

It begins with a 78-years-old Bruce Wayne who accepts to read to his grand-daughter Janet a story about his past between the many he wrote down when he aged. She picks the book labeled "The Case of the Chemical Syndicate", Bruce's first ever adventure as the Batman and Janet's favorite. As he opens the book, he's surprised that it starts with a window (representing the portal that let Barbatos into Prime Earth), but as he's reassured about it by Janet, he starts reading.

During the narration, though, some discrepancies with the original tale occur. When arriving at the Lambert mansion, he reassures Lambert, Jr. that he knows he's innocent, but notices that a window is covered in blood. Jr. explains that he saw a shadow out that window, but it's always drenched in blood because birds crash against it all the time.

Suddenly, Bruce finds himself in a totally different setting: in a pre-civilization context, probably the one hinted to at the beginning of "Dark Nights: Metal" #1, a war is waging between men dressed as bats and men dressed as hawks. A mysterious figure in a black robe tells him that is the beginning of his story. She introduces the leader of the bats as the one who will take the name of Hath-Set: Bruce seems to remember the name, but can't quite say where it comes from. The leaders of the hawks are "the ones who will return over many lives as Hawkman and Hawkgirl". This moment sets a war between two symbols, the bat and the bird, that will span all of human history. Bruce keeps rejecting the story, saying it is entirely different from his. The woman answers back: "The two stories are one". Barbatos will decide here that his vessel would be Bruce, because he's the one "he saw at the beginning".

Another flash: as a group of young savages cheers the return of their hero in a desert location, Batman comes to his senses and reminds himself he's trapped inside the Dark Multiverse and needs to find a way out. Suddenly, the savages are gunned down by a Hawk Patrol, led by none other than a Dark Multiverse version of Damian Wayne, Bruce's son. Damian tells Bruce that he made the bat the symbol of doom, and orders to open fire on him.

Janet urges Bruce to wake up, getting him back to the first story: The Case of the Chemical Syndicate. Batman is trapped in a bell jar, as he has discovered that Stryker, Lambert's partner, had framed Lambert Jr. so he would seem the murderer and Stryker himself would've gained control of their company. Batman wants to find a window to escape, but Janet convinces him to follow Stryker down a ladder, which takes him...

...to a satanic ritual. Bruce is identified as Thomas Wayne by his associates and is urged to sacrifice a girl to complete the Ceremony of the Bat. The earth shakes, as Barbatos's arrival is announced. Bruce gets near the woman, to save her. She wakes up and tells him she'll die in that cript, and over her grave they'll build the great city of Gotham. She's just a pawn in the plan to make Batman who he is supposed to become so he may be the vessel for Barbatos.

Once again, the setting changes in unpredictable ways: Batman finds himself in a Gotham where Joker has become mayor and has dictated only one rule: that there are no rules. Beside him stand a man dressed as Green Arrow and a kid dressed as Batgirl: they are being hunted by psychopaths dressed as the main rogues in Batman's rogue gallery. Bruce is tired to play, so he says he won't run anymore, to the astonishment of Janet.

Back to the Case of the Chemical Syndicate, Batman follows Stryker in a chemical factory, ordering Stryker to tell him who he is. Stryker turns around, with a big smile on his face, says "Heh. You know. You've always known", then jumps into a tank of acid.

Through owl-shaped binoculars, Bruce sees inside the steel Wayne Industries produce to build most of the buildings in Gotham "something terrible", inferring that the Tribe of the Bat is still operating. Suddenly, a Talon from the Court of Owls attacks him (refferring to Alan Wayne) and says that the Court has bigger plans than he thinks. Bruce/Alan is now in the middle of the street, in daylight, raving about bats, owls and being Bruce Wayne, to the bewilderment of local policemen. The scene closely resembles the opening of "Batman" #3. Similarly, after seeing a vision of Wonder Woman, Bruce/Alan falls into a manhole, disappearing.

Now he finds himself in a space fight. In his spaceship, he finds himself ally with Harley Quinn, who tells him she followed him to avoid the Justice Wars on Earth. Bruce breaks the window of the spaceship, flying out and with no intention to keep Janet's story straight anymore.

At the end of The Case of the Chemical Syndicate, Batman refuses to follow the normal course of events, saying that this is THE story: the one of bats and birds. He realizes the birds keep crashing against the window because they are attracted by metal vibrations, thus helping him remember what is going on: he is Batman, he's trapped in the Dark Multiverse and he needs to find a window to get out.

Janet is upset by the changes in the story, so she transforms into a demonic version of herself, crawling up the ceiling, as old Bruce, now aware of Barbatos's deceit, tells him to come out and face him. Barbatos answers, putting Bruce against the harsh reality: his every movement, since his first case, was shaped by the actions of birds and bats, working in the shadows to make him what he needed to become. Barbatos has always been present, making Batman's story since he saw him when he fell through time and chose the bat as a symbol of hope. Barbatos is the bat, the father, the very reason Bruce solved every case he was faced with in his career. Old Bruce can't stand the speech any longer, so he throws himself at the window, breaking it.

Bruce is now at the presence of the Dark Multiverse. A gigantic Barbatos with his own face stands in the middle, surrounded by countless corrupted versions of Batman and of negative worlds. These represent all of Bruce's fears and failings, everything that could've happened if not for Barbatos's help. He has picked from the Dark Multiverse what he calls the "true versions" of Bruce as now they are subduing his friends of the Justice League. Bruce is overwhelmed by all this, admitting he doesn't want to know the truth anymore. He gives up, as he goes back to reading stories to Janet from the beginning.

This one starts with a window, and a scream lost to the dark...



Notes

  • This book was first published on November 8, 2017.
  • No special notes.

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