"The Secret of the Waiting Graves": This story is reprinted from Detective Comics #395.
Appearing in "The Secret of the Waiting Graves"
- Juan Muerto (Only appearance; dies)
- Dolores Muerto (Only appearance; dies)
- Manuel (Single appearance)
- Pedro Valdes (a government agent) (Single appearance)
Synopsis for "The Secret of the Waiting Graves"
This story is reprinted from Detective Comics #395.
A party has been organized in a graveyard of Central Mexico. The organizers are the Muertos, a wealthy and eccentric couple who have invited people from other countries as well. During the party, some of the guests are taken on a ride on hot air balloons, but the balloon in which Pedro Valdes has taken off is suddenly attacked by trained falcons, causing him to drop to a certain death. Batman appears from the shadows and manages to save Valdes by directing his fall to a river beneath. As soon as Valdes recovers, he recognizes Batman, but before he realizes, Batman is gone.
Moments later, Bruce Wayne arrives at the party, as he had been invited as well, and he is introduced to Juan and Dolores Muerto. Bruce notices there is something odd about the couple, but he is distracted by the arrival of Valdes, who has recovered after the apparent accident. At that precise moment, someone shoots at Valdes from the wilderness around them and Bruce realizes that someone is definitely trying to murder Valdes. Changing again to Batman, he goes to the place where the bullet came from and finds a group of hired killers hiding behind some rocks. Batman gets the upper hand in the fight, forcing the thugs to call their wolves. Batman is then forced to retreat by jumping off a cliff and hanging from a very well concealed Batrope.
Waiting a few moments until his attackers are gone, Batman starts hearing some voices that belong to the Muertos and Valdes. Batman finally deduces that the Muertos are behind the murder attempts of Valdes and he starts following them as the Muertos take Valdes to a nearby abandoned monastery.
Once inside the building, the Muertos show Valdes a large orchard of Sybil flowers, which are said to grant immortality at the cost of one's sanity. Valdes then reveals himself as a government agent out to capture the Muertos, but the mysterious couple use the strange flowers against Valdes to knock him unconscious. At that moment, Batman breaks inside the place and confronts the Muertos, who also use the flowers to dose Batman and force him to have nightmarish visions. Before they leave, Batman learns that the Muertos plan to spread these flowers across the world, creating madness and chaos on their way.
The Muertos leave the monastery, with Batman and Valdes tied and helpless, and once outside, they prepare their trained falcons to attack and kill their victims. Batman tries to fight off the hallucinations and using Valdes' badge, he breaks the ropes binding him. Batman frees himself in time to defend himself from the trained falcons and takes Valdes away from the strange flowers. Once outisde, Batman uses a torch left behind by the Muertos to burn all the flowers in the monastery. The Muertos notice the fire from far away and they realize that the source of their immortality is being destroyed. The couple try to reach the monastery before the plants are all burned, but with the source of their power burning, they begin to age at an increased speed and before they could reach the place, they become living corpses and collapse in the graves designated for each other. Finally, Batman approaches the tombstone of the Muertos and includes the year of their deaths, almost 130 years from their birth years.
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