It’s time to finally finish up the Bloodlines tie-ins.

Batman: Legend of the Dark Knight Annual #3

Story by Denny O’Neil
Art by Mike Manley, Luke McDonnell, Greg Morrow, and Ricardo Villagran
Colors by Digital Chameleon
Letters by Willie Schubert
Edited by Archie Goodwin and Bill Kaplan

We open with a a hostage standoff in a cabin as a man with a shotgun threatens three children while a priest tries to talk him down. We learn that the man with the gun and the priest knew each other when they were younger, and the man with the gun is expecting a ranger to come with a vehicle.

However, the ranger is not coming, as he’s been killed by one of the aliens.

During all of this, the guy with the gun is spouting his ideology, which I’d describe as “Edgelord Atheism” – that is, using atheism to justify being an edgelord.

No such thing as the Man from Mars?
Then who the hell’s that?

However, the rant is interrupted by an alien attack, with the alien biting the Edgelord. The priest gets the kids to run away before trying to talk the alien down. It goes exactly as well as you’d expect.

After the alien leaves, the two men – the gunmen and the priest – eventually get up. The gunman (Hanes) and the priest (Father Hennison) are brothers – and we learn that their personalities appear to have flip-flopped, with Hanes being remorseful and having developed the power to heal, using it right out of the gate to heal his brother.

They walk back to town, where they encounter a police control, who goes to take the gunman into custody – except Father Hennison kills the cops, shooting one and draining the life force out of the other, before heading off (leaving the cop car).

Hanes heals the cop, but the other is beyond his power to heal. Dennison, meanwhile, flags down a car and gets a ride back to Gotham from the proprietor of a costume shop. After he learns that she has a “Satanic Priest” costume, he kills her and yoinks the costume, dubbing himself “Cardinal Sin”.

That’s… not what Cardinal’s robes look like. At all.

The cop drops Hanes off at a bus terminal, where a kid spots him and gets his mom to call the cops.

Back in Gotham, Jean-Paul, now in the Dark Angel armor, is roughing up a suspect to an excessive degree, before turning him over to Bullock, who exposits on Hanes and Dennison, just as the call comes in about Hanes. Batman and Bullock – separately – go to investigate.

Hanes runs into a couple cops at the terminal. When he doesn’t resist arrest, the cops get pissed, and because ACAB go to kill them anyway, only for Batman show up. The cops decide to go for The Bat, and are very quickly taken down.

However, more cops are there, accompanied by Bullock. They also go for Batman, and Bullock just sits back and watches as Batman easily takes them down.

At Gotham Cathedral, Cardinal Sin kills the priest, as he prepares to go for the bishop. I suspect they mean archbishop, as I’m pretty sure Gotham would be an Archdioceses.

“I realize this is the ’90s, but I’m not so sure ‘Cardinal Sin’ is really a Superhero na-aarrrgh!”

At the Batcave, Jean-Paul removes Hanes blindfold – he’d taken him to the cave, and they get some conversation as to how Cardinal Sin’s powers work and what his goals are, before Jean-Paul collapses from some injuries from his fight with the cops. Hanes heals Batman, and they go to save the Bishop and take down Cardinal Sin.

Long story short – The Archbishop is spectacularly dense when it comes to ignoring how Father Hennison has taken on a Supervillain Name and costume (c’mon, this is the DCU, even if we operate from the view that Batman is an Urban Legend barely anyone knows about him, they fucking know about Superman, Flash, and their Rogues Gallery). So he lets Cardinal Sin get close, and starts to drain him.

“That doesn’t seem like a very super-heroic thing to say at all!” “Shut up!” “You’re a baddie aren’t you?!” “Be quiet!”

Batman knocks Cardinal Sin away before he can do too much harm, and Hanes is able to heal the damage. Sin then goes for Batman, but Hanes grapples with his brother, and their powers feedback on each other, burning them out.

That’s executed much better than in The Alternative Factor.

Afterwards, Batman talks with Bullock – Hanes is in a coma, and Sin is free (since only two people saw Sin use his powers and lived – and one is in a coma), but Sin’s powers no longer work.

I’m gonna say, this is the weakest part of the Batman Bloodlines tie-ins. Razor, Geist, and Ballistic felt like characters that, at this point, Marvel would have at least done something with, even if any planned solo books failed. Razor and the Psyba-Rats would be recurring characters in the Spider-Man office, Geist would end up on the New Warriors, and maybe a later iteration of the Defenders, and Ballistic would end up with X-Factor, maybe teaming up with Heroes For Hire every now and then. However, Hanes and Cardinal Sin are characters who Denny O’Neil had one story in mind for, and once he was done he closed the door behind them.

When I return to the Bat-Books, Knightsquest begins.

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