Though Batman and his allies always seek to protect the people of Gotham, sometimes their efforts cause more harm than good. Batman never kills (well, most of the time), but that doesn't mean his actions as a vigilante don't have lasting effects on those who come in contact with him. So what happens when a group of Batman's former "victims" come back to haunt him?
That's the core idea behind a new story arc beginning in Detective Comics after DC's "Night of the Monster Men" event, and it kicks off in spectacular fashion with Detective Comics #943.
Spoilers for Detective Comics #943 below!
It all begins with a mysterious attack on Wayne Enterprises. A group of costumed villains barge into the lobby of Wayne tower to deliver a message, killing three police officers responding to the scene. The group leaves behind a graffiti tag that reads "No More" and tells those in the lobby that they would like to file a former complaint.
The issue starts with introducing the new team of villains, but much of this issue deals with recent events. Gotham City is calming down a bit after Night of the Monster Men, while Batman and his various allies are now having to emotionally overcome the death of Tim Drake several issues prior. Hardest hit is Drake's girlfriend Stephanie, the hero known as Spoiler. She muses over whether or not her time as a hero has done more harm than good.
Drake's death leaves Batman's team in a far weaker position than before. Not only was Red Robin a skilled fighter, but he was also a technical genius. Much of Drake's work went unfinished, and now the team is looking for somebody to take over and complete Drake's various tech projects.
That's where Luke Fox, the hero known as Batwing comes in. He lives a playboy lifestyle that Batwoman isn't fond of, but Bruce insists he might be the man for the job. So it is that all of Batman's team find themselves dressed in formal attire and attending an event in which Luke is showing off a new, nonlethal type of weapon created for the Gotham Police Department.
It's then that a bomb goes off, and a group of five villains calling themselves The Victim Syndicate emerge. They call Batman the greatest villain Gotham City has ever seen, before accusing him of ruining all there lives. Now they have arrived to return the favor.
In many ways Batman is defined by his tragic villains. In each great villain, whether it be Joker, Two-Face or Poison Ivy, there is a tragic backstory that makes each character all the more interesting. We don't yet know what caused each member of The Victim Syndicate to dedicate their lives to destroying Batman, but the potential is there for writer James Tynion IV to explore the negative repercussions of Batman's occasionally bombastic actions in a way that we haven't seen before.
It certainly helps that each member of The Victim Syndicate looks like a classic Batman villain that readers have simply never met before. The First Victim invokes the Red Hood, while Madame Crow has obvious Scarecrow themes going on. Mudface could have some previously unknown connection to Clayface. The Mute looks to have had his throat slit at some point, while Mr. Noxious has the style of Two-Face and the poisonous powers of Poison Ivy.
Who these fantastically creepy new villains really are, and their possible connections to Batman's, won't be revealed until future issues, but I'm already excited about the possibilities.