This week from DC Comics Gotham faces its worst nightmare, and no it does not come from a supervillain. This time it comes from a Superhero. In Detective Comics 1042, we see what happens when The Batman takes a trip to the dark side. In the last issue, Batman became injected with Mr. Vile’s virus and now looks like tentacle-faced demon from Dungeons and Dragons with an insatiable appetite to kill. Does Batman wipe out Gotham, or is the will of The Bat unbreakable?

The story of Detective Comics 1042 is a simple, straightforward tale. A battle of wills begins between Batman and Vile. Vile’s will to kill and slaughter must now override the one rule Batman has always refused to break – no killing. To make matters worse for Batman, the one person who’s dogged his every step with the one goal of destroying both Bruce Wayne and Batman stands before him. Mr. Worth. With Vile pouring feelings of rage and death into his mind, Batman proceeds to pummel the crap out of Mr. Worth. From the edge of a four-story building, Batman proceeds to drop Mr. Worth.

Huntress to the Rescue

Batman has faced countless villains. He has been drugged by Scarecrow countless times. Joker killed his partner, Jason Todd. Bane broke his back, and he’s faced down death more times than almost anyone. It takes more than a simple parasite to break Batman. Worth falls to his apparent death, but before he hits the ground a bat-cable wraps itself around his wrist. Mr. Worth still hits the ground, but he survives.

Meanwhile, Huntress races to the rescue. She can feel Batman’s rage in her mind thanks to her former infection from Vile. His will may be unbreakable for now, but for how long? She intercepts Batman, but it turns out she didn’t need to. Batman channels the rage and blood lust into an attack, not on Huntress, but Vile himself. I find it funny that even a parasite the size of a banana slug knows when it’s screwed. The parasite flees Vile and attempts to escape, but Huntress stands ready. With a quick trigger finger, she shoots the parasite with her crossbow. Without the little bug, Vile also crumbles to his death. One villain down.

Helena and Bruce share a quiet moment at the grave of Sarah Worth. Even then, Bruce remains distant and aloof. Somethings never change, but at least the threat from Vile’s parasite is over…or is it? Of course, things can never be that easy. We get one last scene from the morgue. Not only is Vile’s body loaded with what appear to be parasite eggs, but a couple rolls down the drain. It ain’t over yet….

Unbreakable – Red Hood and the Walking Dead

In the second half of Detective Comics 1042, Deb Donovan continues to investigate the mystery of the missing corpse. Astrid Arkham, aka – Arkham Knight, is dead, but her body is missing. Was her death a fake, or is her body simply missing? She returns home to find Red Hood standing in her living room. Now, they share a meal at a diner as Red Hood fills her in on circumstances. Red Hood seems to play off her ‘reporter’s curiosity’ to get her to investigate where he cannot. That and pay for his rather large meal.

Deb performs a crude, rookie stakeout at the Gotham Medical Examiners, and again Red Hood crashes the party. These two seem to be a C-team-level copy of Superman and Lois. Neither is truly exceptional at what they do, and they keep getting in way over their heads. They spy a group of masked thugs emerging with bodies, and Red Hood throws caution to the wind as usual. He never had much patience. He seems to be having fun, but Deb, being new to all this, tries to call the police. Before she can tell 911 what is happening, a bat smashes against the back of her head.

I do not know where this is going, but it keeps getting more and more interesting. It seems this hidden plot revolves around the missing body of Astrid Arkham. I remember a superhuman female back in Future State, a female version of Bane. I did not recognize her, but could Astrid’s destiny be this new super-human female? We may see if Batman’s body is as unbreakable as his will. Guess we have to wait and see where the dots connect.