In the Detective Comics’ Issue of the Beast, sacrifice isn’t going on tonight – but hell and fire are sworn to be released.

Detective Comics #666

Written by Chuck Dixon
Pencils by Graham Nolan
Inks by Scott Hanna
Colors by Adrienne Roy
Lettered by John Costanza
Edited by Darren Vincenzo & Scott Peterson

Batman II is on patrol, alone. He wants to beat Bane, but he doesn’t want to do the legwork.

The Caped Crusader drops in on Gordon to see if they’ve learned anything from Bane’s crew, but they won’t talk. Then Gordon is shocked to see Batman II didn’t leave behind his back without him hearing.

“Who are you, and what did you do to Batman?!”

At the lockup, Bullock tries sweating Zombie without success. Zombie, Bird, and Trogg talk about whether Bane will spring them. It seems their patience is rewarded when they’re supplied with gas masks, electronic lockpicks, and a note. Shortly later, the guards are hit with a gas attack, allowing the three to break out, as Batman II looks on from a nearby rooftop.

At the Drake home, Tim eats a dinner the housekeeper, Mrs. McIlvane, prepared – alone.

Elsewhere, Bullock and Montoya bemoan the escape of Bane’s crew, as Batman makes his way across town. At Bane’s place, the three thank Bane for his plan – but he had nothing to do with it. As soon as Bird mentions that the note was signed “B” – Bane puts it together.

“Bane, who else in Gotham would have a name that starts with B… oh.”

And Batman II Strikes! Once again, he rips through Trogg, Bird, and Zombie as if they were nameless goons. Finally, Jean-Paul and Bane exchange blows, on even footing, with the System helping to provide Jean-Paul with the upper hand. So, Bane takes a hit of Venom, letting him take control. Batman II gets free, and as the issue ends, Bane has Batman dangling by his ankle from a window washer’s lift.

Is this the end of Riders in the Sky?

The letters column this issue brings up how Knightfall highlights the variety of Batman’s Rogue’s Gallery – I think it could have done with some Penguin (not sure where he was at this point), but otherwise that’s pretty valid – I think I got a better appreciation of Mad Hatter out of his appearance here. Yeah, he went down in one issue – but he immediately figured out he was being used and put a plan in motion to take on the puppet master – it’s just that he didn’t quite know who he was up against.

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