You know what Batman’s in a good head spot to handle right now? A hostage crisis.

Batman #493

Written by Doug Moench
Art by Norm Breyfogle
Colors by Adrienne Roy
Lettering by Tim Harkins
Edited by Jordan B. Gorfinkel & Denny O’Neil

Batman is racing for the Bates School for Women, with a pronounced sense of dread.

At the school, Zsasz is menacing his hostages in the library.

Outside Lieutenant Kisch is leading the police response. They have some intel – 15 hostages, all who have been herded into the library. One guy, Axton, had been sent in, but hasn’t reported back. Also, he wasn’t sent in with a radio. So, someone who does have a radio volunteers to go in.

The SWAT guy goes in and finds Axton with his throat slit. He cries out, which alerts Zsasz, who kills the SWAT guy.

The layouts on this page really work with the scene.

Bird is monitoring the situation, and suspects that maybe Batman is ready to take down, but Bane wants to wait. The Bat is physically weakened, but not emotionally.

Montoya and Bullock show up – Gordon is stuck with Mayor Krol, who is on the brink of firing him.

They arrive just in time for Zsasz to throw the two dead police out a window and say he’s going to kill two hostages.

And with that, Batman moves in. Bullock goes to make a comment to Montoya, but she’s not there.

In the school, Batman runs into Robin, who brings him up to speed with his encounter with Bird. Batman gives him the okay to tail Bird, but to leave Bane alone.

In the library, Zsasz goes to kill two girls, when Montoya comes in, and when she can’t get a clean shot, offers to switch places with a hostage. Zsasz goes to kill her – when Interrupting Batman!

I love Breyfogle’s use of felt tipped pens.

Zsasz holds a knife to Montoya’s throat, but he keeps talking long enough that Montoya breaks free, allowing Batman to go at Zsasz and takes him down, though he nearly beats Zsasz to death. On the roof, Batman takes a breather, while Bird reports how exhausted he looks.

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