We’re returning to AzBats, but not to continue with the Trigger Twins plot.
Batman: Shadow of the Bat #19
Written by Alan Grant
Art by Vince Giarrano
Colors by Adrienne Roy
Lettering by Todd Klein
We open on AzBats intervening in a robbery against an immigrant shopkeeper. He almost overdoes it with the goons, and angsts over the impact of The System, until he sees an ad for sensory deprivation chambers.
Elsewhere, “Big” Mike Mahoon, a gangster with dwarfism, is having a birthday party, when instead of a stripper coming out of his cake, it’s our new villain – the Tally Man – who is here to collect a debt from Mike… in blood! Against Mike, his brother Johnny, and the Batman. Then the Tally Man proceeds to gun down everyone in the party.
While this is going on, AzBats breaks into the place with the sensory deprivation tanks, and gets in one of the tanks. We start off with flashbacks to the material we’ve already covered with Jean-Paul accepting the mantle of the bat, along with the Azrael miniseries, before we get into images of Jean-Paul’s father indoctrinating him in The System as a child?
Back with the Tally Man, he interrogates Johnny Mahoon’s wife, and he learns that Johnny’s at his warehouse, before he leaves the wife comedically bound and gagged.
Back in the Iso Chamber, Jean Paul is asking himself what truly fueled the formation of the Order of St. Dumas, as Johnny and his Bodyguard go into the place, where they’ve been storing some drugs, in order to pick up some heroin to be cut.
Back in Jean Paul’s head, he discovers that The System includes measures to prevent him from further investigating his programming. As Jean-Paul emerges, Johnny and friend open fire on an empty iso tank, thinking Batman is inside. AzBats handily knocks them out off page and stuffs them in the empty tank.
The Tally Man hears the gunfire and shows up to find Johnny and bodyguard stuffed in the perforated ISO tank. They are perforated in turn.
The issue ends with the Tally Man ambushing Batman.
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