Batman #501 Recap

We’re continuing with Knightfall: The Crusade – with the continuation of Gotham’s mob power struggles.

Batman #501

Written by Doug Moench
Art by Mike Manley
Colors by Adrienne Roy
Lettering by Ken Bruzenak
Edited by Jordan B. Gorfinkel & Denny O’Neil

We open with AzBat having an hallucination of St. Dumas, telling him to reject his programming as an assassin, before going on patrol.

Elsewhere in Gotham, the city’s Mafia bosses are scrambling in the wake of Bane going down, after Bane had in turn shaken up the balance of power by taking down several bosses, with AzBats having taken down several others.

Boss Mercante is being urged to act by one of his lieutenants, warning him that another boss, Santos Verona, is gunning for them. Mercante says he’s not worried about it, as two goons lurk by the back door, with AzBat in turn watching from a rooftop.

The goons burst in and kill Mercante’s lieutenants, and are in turn brought down by AzBats, who then pressures Mercante into being an informant for him.

In the Batcave, AzBat is bemoaning having to do detective work, followed by considering the utility of carrying a gun – and then Robin comes in from the Manor entrance – which leads AzBats to talk about stepping up security, as if he’d forgotten that he’s basically house-sitting.

It’s not like I’m in a book called Detective Comics or anything.

At GCPD, Gordon is not happy about what AzBat’s gauntlet did to the gangsters, and he’s concerned about how Batman has changed.

That evening 3 of Gotham’s mob bosses, including Mercante, meet to determine how to deal with Verona and Batman. Mercante discloses that Batman tried to recruit him as a source, and he played along, but told him nothing. However, Mercante has an ace in the hole, from the partnership between the Mafia and the CIA in the ‘50s and ‘60s. Specifically, the super-assassin Mekros, who, using techniques from MK-Ultra, has brainwashed himself with the CIA’s version of The System (though they don’t call it that). Mekros will kill Batman and take out Verona as a bonus, for $1,000,000.

All this exposition is juxtaposed with a lock & load sequence.

At that price, you’d be better off hiring Golgo 13.

We then go to the Verona estate, where Mekros just annihilates the guards, and then Verona, with a level of firepower out of a Stallone or Schwarzenegger film.

He’s basically Doug Moench’s take on Nuke from Marvel, only without the Captain America connection.

Afterwards, SazBat confronts Mercante, as Mekros lines up a shot from a roof across the street. AzBat manages to anticipate the shot, causing it to kill Mercante, as the issue ends.

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