"Stone Killer": A mysterious cloaked figure communes with the earth after committing a ritualistic sacrifice. His hands coated with a dead man's blood from painting a Caduceus sigil on the large rock beneath the corpse.
- Feel! The stain spreads. The stones groan. I am C'th. My years span the ages. I tasted godhood... and then I fell. I ruled -- and then I suffered. Blood will make me strong again. Blood... and my rod.
- -- C'th
Appearing in "Stone Killer"
- Commissioner Gordon
- Harv Lichas
- Alfred Pennyworth
- Tim Drake
- Miss Wojec (Flashback and main story)
- Sly Mason (Flashback and main story) (Dies)
- Nicky (Dies)
- Petra Lichas
- Dragon Lines
Synopsis for "Stone Killer"
A mysterious cloaked figure communes with the earth after committing a ritualistic sacrifice. His hands coated with a dead man's blood from painting a Caduceus sigil on the large rock beneath the corpse.
- Miss Wojec and her partner, Sly Mason, were exiting a pizza restaurant when they were forced to run for safety from the Penguin's savage bird attacks. Fleeing into nearby St. Michael's Square, they were surprised when the crazed birds wouldn't pursue them. Their relief was short lived as they spied a lone, ominous figure standing in front of "The Wishing Stone." The imposing figure saw them also, and approached the two lovers, both too terrified to move. Striking the woman unconscious, the robed figure wrapped his hands around the boyfriend's throat.
After listening to Miss Wojec's account of the incident from the hospital, Batman and Commissioner Gordon confer with each other about the case, and whether it's related to any of the many recent problems afflicting Gotham. While Batman recognises the ritualistic significance of the murder, he has no other leads to work with. Gordon puts out an A.P.B. while Batman continues to patrol the night, reflecting on the horrific toll Penguin's latest scheme has wrought on the city.
In a Ghetto at the North End of Gotham, two muggers take advantage of the chaos with another easy score. Running inside to the dilapidated apartment where their stash is kept, they find a cold, menacing figure instead. While Art bolts immediately, Nicky pulls a blade, only to be dispatched easily by his opponent. As Art runs down the stairs, he comes face to face with the man he robbed, who fingers the thief to Batman. More afraid of the thing upstairs, Art implores someone help his accomplice before he continues to escape. Batman knocks the criminal out with a well aimed batarang before hurrying up to the room, only to find Nicky dead in the corner, another bloody sigil on the wall.
With no sign of the assailant, Batman wonders if the ancient symbol has any connection to the prehistoric site nearby. As he passes over the rooftops he pauses, overhearing a news report from an open window regarding the recent string of crimes perpetrated by an unknown "red-hooded" gunman. He has the horrible gut feeling that his worse foe survived the helicopter crash. From the Batmobile, Batman calls Alfred with instructions.
At the unearthed prehistoric site, Harv Lichas follows his dowsing rod which is picking up very bad energy. Entering the ancient tomb he finds Batman investigating. The man introduces himself as the archaeologist who has been excavating the site, informing him about the history of the serpent mound and it's significant placement on a "dragon line" that runs through the city. Harv shows the detective the invisible path of the ley line on a map, which crosses through St. Michael's Square and the Ghetto. Harv accompanies Batman to the next potential crime scene at the War Vets' Hospital.
At Wayne Manor, Alfred wakes Tim and packs a suitcase for him. Tim tries to get an explanation from Alfred but he can offer none, as Bruce was just as vague in his urgent request. They drive away, uncertain of their destination.
Upon arrival at the hospital there is already a deceased doctor slumped on the memorial statue, a sigil smeared on the plaque. Harv points out line now leaves city limits, the next significant location being Wayne Manor.
The murderous figure slays a deer on the grounds of the Wayne Estate. It grows stronger with every life if takes.
Batman speeds past the road to Wayne Manor, knowing the property is empty, and heads to the furtherest point on the line, the Lichas house. From the car, Harv calls his wife, Petra. She answers the phone and dismisses her husband's ridiculous pleas to leave the house when the front door is smashed in. Petra gasps at the stranger entering her home. He brushes her aside like a insect, and is drawn to the dark power emanating from the mantel above the fireplace. Reaching through the solid stone, the figure removes the object of his desire, his Rod of Power. With his power rod in hand, he attempts to feed it by taking the life of Petra Lichas, only to be tackled by Batman from behind. Though he catches his serial killer of guard, his opponent is strong, and the dark aura surrounding it strikes fear in even the Dark Knight. Unveiling the culprit in the battle, he uncovers an inhuman monster. The reptilian sorcerer throws Batman across the room with a blast from his power rod and turns to seal the rituals with a sacrifice of male and female, the Lichas couple. Too powerful to take him head on, Batman removes his utility belt and whips it around the magic rod, ripping it from the creatures hand and tossing it through the window in one motion. Distraught, the ancient mage dives after his power rod, plummeting over the cliff the house overlooks. The rod smashes on a rocky outcrop, as does its master, before the malevolent creature tumbles into the ocean below.
With the Lichas couple safe, Batman descends the cliff to reclaim his belt. But while this ordeal may be over, his instincts tell him worse is to come. He knows in his heart that the Joker is still alive.
- C'th is resurrected by Klarion in Demon (Volume 3) #11.
- The flashback scene about the helicopter crash is a reference to the events of Batman #429, where Joker was apparently killed in the accident at the end of "A Death in the Family".
- Graffiti on wall in the Ghetto building reads, "Peter Roche lived here. I liked it!"
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- Discuss Detective Comics Vol 1 616 on the forums
- Cover gallery for the Detective Comics series
- Images from Detective Comics Vol 1 616
- C'th continued reading:
- Batman (Volume 1)
- Batman (Volume 2)
- Batman (Volume 3)
- All-Star Batman
- Batman and Robin (Volume 1)
- Batman and Robin (Volume 2)
- Batman Confidential
- Batman: Gotham Knights
- Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight
- Batman: Shadow of the Bat
- Batman: Streets of Gotham
- Batman Incorporated (Volume 1)
- Batman Incorporated (Volume 2)
- Batman: The Dark Knight (Volume 1)
- Batman: The Dark Knight (Volume 2)
- Detective Comics (Volume 1)
- Detective Comics (Volume 2)
- Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
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