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Appearing in "I Am the Batman!"
- Dr. Hugo Strange (Apparent Death)
Synopsis for "I Am the Batman!"
After learning the secret identity of Batman, Professor Hugo Strange has taken control of the Wayne Foundation, posing as Bruce Wayne and he also uses the Batsuit for his own amusement. Strange has captured Afred and has taken him to the Graytowers building, where Alfred is locked in the same cell as Bruce, who is kept alive, but drugged to prevent complications.
Strange's ultimate plan is to bankrupt the Wayne Foundation and escape with all of Wayne's fortune, reason why he has taken over Bruce's office at the building. At that moment, Silver St. Cloud enters the room using the spare key that Bruce gave her. Silver tries to resume her relation with Bruce, but Strange is unable to recognize her and he dismisses her, pretending to break up with her. Silver leaves the building, hurt about the events, but she is determined to find out the reason behind Bruce's sudden change.
Silver goes to Graytowers, where Magda, Strange's accomplice, denies her any information about Bruce. Her efforts put the criminals under alert and they prepare something to eliminate her. Meanwhile, Silver calls Dick Grayson to ask him about Bruce's unexpected change. Dick tells Silver to forget the situation and move on, but he knows that something is amiss. After a quick change, Robin is ready for action and using his motorcycle he travels towards Gotham. Unfortunately, after her conversation with Dick, Silver is immediately attacked by some of Strange's Monster Men.
That night, Hugo Strange comes up with the magnificent idea of selling Batman's secret to the highest bidder in an underground auction. During the ceremony, three mysterious criminals give away their first bid of the night and Strange informs them that the auction would continue the next night, taking the money with him. However, as Strange leaves the building, he is attacked by one of the criminal's henchmen. The crime lord is Rupert Thorne, who wants to get Batman's secret from Strange, using violence.
At that same moment, Robin has finally found the cell where Bruce and Alfred are being held prisoners, thanks to the information provided by Silver. Robin breaks into Graytowers and defeats some of the Monster Men who are acting as guardians of the place. Magda realizes that their whole operation is in danger and she goes to Bruce's cell to inject him with monster serum, but Alfred confronts the evil woman and causes her to inject herself with the chemical, transforming her into one of Strange's monsters. Robin knocks her unconscious and he finally rescues Alfred and Bruce.
Moments later, at the basement of Gotham City Hall, Rupert Thorne has his henchmen torture and beat Hugo Strange to a pulp until he gives them the secret identity of Batman. However, Strange is not willing to give away such precious information and his determination is stronger than the pain inflicted upon him. After long hours and several beatings, Hugo is unable to keep going and he is apparently killed, but he takes the secret of Batman with him, saying that in order to learn such secret, one has to take it away from Batman himself, as he did.
The loyalty to his enemy is something Thorne did not expect from Strange, making him think that perhaps Strange himself was Batman.
- This book was first published on June 30, 1977.
- "I Am The Batman!" is also reprinted in Shadow of the Batman #2, Batman: Strange Apparitions and Legends of the Dark Knight: Marshall Rogers.
- The other two mysterious "buyers" that Strange offers to sell Batman's secret identity to are later revealed to be the Joker and Penguin.
- The idea of Hugo Strange trying to auction Batman's secret identity to some of Batman's greatest enemies was adapted years later in the episode The Strange Secret of Bruce Wayne from Batman: The Animated Series in 1992. In the adaptation, Rupert Thorne was replaced with Two-Face.
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