"Fatal Wish": Tim Conrad walks the streets of Gotham City, without paying any attention to the environment around him. He walks past people he knows and goes inside a building, where he takes the elevator to the rooftop. Once there, Conrad unloads a sniper rifle and perches on the ledge of t
- Why? Over the years, I've often asked myself the same question. The man has almost a maniacal drive to save innocent lives and punish criminals. I've no real idea what drives him so. But I have my suspicions... no proof... only speculations... But I'll tell you one thing. I'm sure glad he's on our side.
Appearing in "Fatal Wish"
- Tim Conrad (Sniper) (Only appearance; dies)
- Joe Chill (Flashback only)
Synopsis for "Fatal Wish"
Tim Conrad walks the streets of Gotham City, without paying any attention to the environment around him. He walks past people he knows and goes inside a building, where he takes the elevator to the rooftop. Once there, Conrad unloads a sniper rifle and perches on the ledge of the rooftop to get a clear view of the victims down on the streets. Conrad starts killing people at random and soon the area descends into chaos.
Minutes later, Commissioner Gordon and the Gotham City Police Department have surrounded the place and shortly afterwards, Batman appears. Gordon brings Batman up to date about the situation. Tim Conrad has been recently fired from the office building from which he is shooting and the police can't get near the building without risking more lives. One of the most likely victims of the sniper is an injured woman in the middle of the street and Batman tells Gordon to be ready to rescue the woman when he makes his move. Before Batman goes into action, Gordon asks him if Robin is coming, but Batman simply replies "no".
Batman starts moving towards the building and the sniper tries to shoot the Dark Knight without success, giving the police a distraction that lasts long enough for them to take the woman to safety. The Batman goes into the building amidst a storm of bullets and this feat doesn't go unnoticed by the GCPD. Some of the police officers wonder how and why Batman does what he does and Commissioner Gordon explains what he understands about the Batman's psyche.
Meanwhile, Batman climbs his way through the evacuated building to the rooftop, but the shooter keeps the rooftop door closely guarded, shooting at the slightest sight of movement. Conrad's anger bursts out when he notices Batman approaching and he tells Batman that he has no more reason to live, but he is taking with him as many people as he can, because he "wishes all of them dead".
Batman knows he has to find another way to reach the rooftop and he climbs through a window and into the side of the building. However, Conrad's words have triggered a painful memory of Batman's past. As he slowly climbs the building towards the rooftop, Batman recalls his childhood days, when he was happy with his parents Thomas and Martha Wayne. He recalls one night in which his father, Thomas was utterly busy and worried about finances, but as a kid, Bruce didn't understand and he tried to cheer his father by summoning him to play some games. In a burst of anger, Thomas slapped Bruce, but regretted the incident immediately. Martha tried to console the hurt Bruce, but the kid wouldn't listen and he screamed as loud as he could "I wish he was dead!" Of course, Thomas later apologized to his son and to fix the mistake, the family went to watch a movie that Bruce had been wanting to see for a long time. Unfortunately, on their way out of the movie theater, the Waynes were mugged by Joe Chill and Bruce was left an orphan.
As the painful memories come to an end, Batman has reached the rooftop, where he engages in a violent confrontation with Conrad. The sniper has the advantage of using a firearm, but Batman has the skills and the gadgets. Using some smoke pellets from the Utility Belt, Batman creates a distraction, but he is still distracted by his memories. Conrad gets a lucky shot that dazes Batman, although it doesn't hurt him. When the smoke dissipates, the GCPD notice that Conrad is now on sight and Batman tries to warn him about the danger, but the warning comes too late as the police down below shoot Conrad through the chest and he then collapses from the rooftop of the building to his ultimate death, as Batman screams in anguish and impotence.
The police soon surrounds Conrad's dead body, but James Gordon is more concerned about Batman, knowing very well that the Dark Knight tried to save a killer's life, as he always does. Something Gordon will never understand. Meanwhile Batman, standing still on the rooftop, lurks in the shadows, still hearing the killer's words in his mind and an echoed reply from a little boy inside his deep subconscious replies "I'm sorry daddy! I didn't mean it!".
- This issue acts as an aftermath to the Batman: A Death in the Family storyline as well as a farewell to writer Jim Starlin, who ends his two-year run in Batman.
- This story is reprinted in Batman: The Caped Crudader, Vol. 1.
- One of the offices of the building in which the killer is hiding belongs to "O'Neil and Raspler - Creative Consultants". This is an inside reference to editor Dennis O'Neil and assistant editor Dan Raspler.
- The "Bat-Signals" letter page of this issue features a number of letters in reaction to the death of Jason Todd (Robin) in the previous storyline and the chosen letters reflect the final cast of the votes with half of the fans glad to have gotten rid of Robin, while the other half think the opposite. However, a small group of people who voted to kill Robin show regret about having played part in the killing of a hero.
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