"Batman Impossible": Batman is surprised when he discovers that the person inside a suit of armour which caused a fire in Gotham City turns out to be a teenage boy, who begs him not to tell his father. Grumpily, Batman warns him to tell the police everything, or
- If Damian's next surprise is anywhere near as personal as the first, I might want to be alone. Wouldn't want you to see the dark harbinger of justice burst into tears.
- -- Bruce Wayne
Appearing in "Batman Impossible"
- Detective Pierce (First appearance)
- Commissioner Gordon
- Clinton Barrington
- Thomas Wayne (In a photograph only)
- Martha Wayne (In a photograph only)
Synopsis for "Batman Impossible"
Batman is surprised when he discovers that the person inside a suit of armour which caused a fire in Gotham City turns out to be a teenage boy, who begs him not to tell his father. Grumpily, Batman warns him to tell the police everything, or he will come back for him.
That afternoon, Bruce wakes in his bed thanks to Alfred Pennyworth's prodding. His caretaker explains that it is now lunch time - breakfast for Bruce - and that they have some travelling to do today.
Bruce's son Damian had gone ahead to London, telling only Alfred, and laid out an elaborate sort of treasure hunt for his father to follow. He would always be one step ahead, laying the next set of clues. Annoyed to be deterred from his nightly patrolling, Bruce begrudgingly accepts that he has no public obligations, and can afford to take some time to acknowledge that his son is trying to reach out to him.
Despite appearances, though, Damian is not in London. Thanks to a green screen, he created the appearance of being in London, when in fact he was still in Wayne Manor. Conspiring with his dog Titus, Damian dons his own version of the Batsuit and makes relishes his father's absence while making his own patrol, alone.
After intercepting a police call, he comes upon GCPD Detective Pierce, who is investigating a gasoline theft from a local gas station. The unusual thing about the theft is that the pump was chewed through, prompting questions about who would both chew through a gas pump and need the gas. As Pierce leaves with the evidence, Damian surprises her in her car, and causes her to crash. In her confusion, he steals the evidence, leaving Pierce bewildered and bitter.
In London, Bruce and Alfred are welcomed to the Lanesborough Hotel, where their host Clinton Barrington welcomes Mr. Wayne back, as though Bruce had been there before. He also recognizes Alfred as an old friend from their days as actors at the Globe Theatre. After catching up with Alfred, Clinton explains that long ago, Thomas and Martha Wayne stayed at the Lanesborough with their young son Bruce.
Leading them to a painting hanging in the hotel's hallway, Clifton adds that Ms. Wayne spent an afternoon painting, dreaming of being an artist. Bruce, though, had left his own mark on the painting, by leaving his infant hand print in the middle of it. Rather than be discouraged, Martha had considered the painting complete, then. Before leaving, Thomas had paid the hotel's owners a large sum in exchange for their keeping the painting hung forever. Though the deal was eventually forgotten when the hotel's ownership changed hands, a message from Damian led them to retrieve it.
Later that night, after his first night as Batman, Damian sends Bruce another video encouraging him to go to Barcelona for his next target. Afterwards, Damian muses that perhaps his father will let him wear his new costume for good, when he gets home. Bruce, meanwhile urges Alfred to stay behind in London and reunite with his old Globe friends - perhaps even Catherine, his old flame, would be there.
As night falls on Wayne Manor, Damian waits impatiently for sundown. Thanks to some productive REM sleep, he has pieced together some important clues in his case. Based on the bite marks on the gas hose, he believes that the culprit is something big and violent. This still doesn't explain why chewing through the hose would be better than simply siphoning it.
When the sun finally goes down, Damian goes out as Batman and beats his way through a gang of thugs until he finds someone who can give him answers. He is distracted, though, by the Bat-Signal in the sky. At Gotham City Police Headquarters, he spots Commissioner Gordon and Detective Pierce waiting to question him as to why he stole evidence. He tosses them the thug he caught, explaining that there is definitely a creature on the streets of Gotham, which can be confirmed by the man tied up at their feet. Despite being seen hanging around parking lots and gas stations, there is no apparent reason why. When Gordon recognizes the voice as Robin's, and not Batman's, Damian decides to make his exit.
In Barcelona, Bruce follows clues to a place where he finds some children playing soccer. A girl among them spots him and recognizes by his accent that he is American and by his shoes that he is rich. She has apparently met Damian, and passes him a note and a photograph. The note directs Bruce to a statue of a dragon that appeared in the background of Damian's video. It directs him to take the photo and hold it up in front of the statue. The photo is of Thomas and Martha Wayne celebrating their honeymoon, posing for a photo in that very spot. Moved, Bruce decides to take a moment to play with the children.
Damian's next video message shows him in front of a column in Greece, promising to meet up with Bruce after that stop. Though an unexpected bark from Titus threatens to give away the ruse, Damian plays it off and prepares for his next stint as Batman.
He rescues a young boy after spotting another fire, but this fire is unusual. It involves a tanker truck, but tanker trucks don't typically self-immolate, which means there must be some evidence of arson. Thanks to his night-vision lenses, he spots a body, and upon investigation, confirms that this must be the man who chewed through the gas hose, thanks to some abnormally sharp teeth. Fortunately, he still lives, though he is weak. Still, this man could not have transported the gas by himself, which means he must have had a partner.
Damian soon meets that partner, as a man wearing a massive suit of mechanical armour blasts him with a column of flame. Angrily, the man inside complains of how his son was beaten up by one of the Batmen recently. He had stolen a prototype that his father was working on, and gone out by himself to prove himself. Unfortunately, Damian notes, that involved burning up half a city block. Employing the same method that Batman had used earlier that week, Damian uses freeze technology to quench the flames and reveal the man inside the suit. In tears, the man begs for Batman not to tell his wife. Damian responds that he should tell the police everything, or else he will come back for him. Detective Pierce arrives soon after, and takes the man away.
In Greece, at the foot of the column which stood behind Damian in his last video, Bruce finds a stone with a faint inscription. Using a pencil and paper, he makes a rubbing, and discovers that the stone once said "Martha, will you marry me? Thomas." Though he is offered the chance to take the stone with him, Bruce decides that if his parents had left his father's proposal there, then that is where it belongs.
Later, by phone, Damian agrees to meet Bruce at the Lanesborough the next day, quickly packing away his green screen, and claiming to be in London already. Bruce, of course, uses his GPS tracker to determine that Damian is, in fact, still in Gotham City.
Even so, Bruce waits for Damian at the Lanesborough. Upon the boy's arrival, he explains that despite the deception, he has grown to trust his son enough to understand that Damian knows what he's doing. And, regardless of the fact that Damian used his father's absence to go out on his own, the arrangements he made for Bruce were appreciated and thoughtful. All of it was worth the price of being duped by his ten-year-old son.
That night, outside the Globe Theatre, Damian's complaints about how Two Gentlemen of Verona had bored him are interrupted by Alfred's angrily storming out of the backstage entrance, still in costume. As it turns out, he has been disillusioned by Catherine's overbearing and controlling nature, and as such would like to return to Gotham as soon as possible - and he will be keeping his costume.
- This issue was reprinted in Robin, The Boy Wonder: A Celebration of 75 Years.
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