War Games: Act Two Part 7
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Pencils: Paul Gullacy
Inker: Jimmy Palmiotti
Publisher: DC Comics
This review contains spoilers.
Gotham?s The Hill area is full of abandoned buildings. One of them contains a very battered and semi-conscious Spoiler. As she drifts in and out, her left hand slips out of the handcuff that hangs over her head and slaps her in the face which awakens her from her pain-induced black out. She looks around and realized what has happened to her. Even in her weakened state, Spoiler tries valiantly to remove her other hand from the handcuff chain but to no avail.
She then recognizes that her tormentor, Black Mask, is no longer in the building with her. She tries to look out an adjacent window but can?t see anything due to the blackout. As Spoiler tries to assess her situation, she starts to blame herself for the whole War Games predicament and the death of Orpheus. She continues to struggle to free herself in order to warn Batman about Black Mask but black outs from her injuries.
Over on the East End, Catwoman is mentally chiding Batman for the current state of Gotham and her streets. Suddenly, she spots a trio of looters taking some trinkets from a pawn shop and leaps to stop them. As they make their way out of the shop, Catwoman greets the kids by using her whip to make one of them drop a TV. She informs the boys that the shop is run by a local and informs them that ?we don?t steal from our own around here anymore.? She then tells the boys that they will have to come back to the store after the madness is over and repay the owner for the broken set. They meekly agree. On her way back to the rooftop, she warns the opportunists that they should put the rest of the stolen gear back and go home as the streets are no place for children on this night.
With that minor disturbance behind her, Catwoman goes back to her search for Spoiler. As she leaps from rooftop to rooftop, she begins her mental condemnation of Batman for messing a kid up so badly that she started the whole War Games scenario. In the middle of her mental tirade, she receives a cell phone call which she hopes that it?s her friend, Holly with a lead on Spoiler?s location. To her surprise, the call is from Oracle, who is calling without Batman?s knowledge. Oracle states that she?s heard that the Cheshire?s old gang, the Ravens, are freelancing and they look to take a piece of the East End for themselves. Catwoman angrily asks Oracle why Batman didn?t want her to know this piece of intel. Oracle replies, ?He said that you?ve got more important things to take care of right now.? This reply only makes Catwoman more annoyed with Batman and she says, ?More important than my own neighborhood? I don?t think so.? Oracle asks her if she would like a location for the Ravens. Catwoman comes back with, ?I know that we don?t know each other very well, Oracle, but do you really have to ask??
In the skies above, Batman is observing the chaos below when he receives a call from Oracle who informs him that Catwoman is going to take care of the Ravens. After Batman responds positively to the news, Oracle tells him that she could?ve just told Catwoman that Batman knew of the request. Batman states, ?She fights better when she?s angry at me instead of the people she?s fighting.? Oracle doesn?t try to understand the logic and asks Batman what?s the next thing on his agenda. He asks for confirmation that the majority of the street rioting has been centralized in the areas they discussed previously. Oracle verifies the areas and states that the G.C.P.D. have been able to hold the line so far. Batman then replies, ?Good. That should make this easier.? And he presses a button on his handheld communicator.
The next thing that happens is all of Oracle?s monitors go to a Bat insignia as well as the Gotham Police monitors. Batman speaks into his handheld, ?Attention Gotham City Police. This is the Batman, and I?ve just taken over your airwaves.? The police are in shock over this takeover.
Batman continues, ?Some of you have seen me, some of you have even worked with me before. All of you know I?m good to my word. Now I?m asking you to take me at that word, and follow my orders.? Commissioner Atkins openly wonders if the Batman is breaching their security using a back-door, which is met with a stupefied affirmative.
Batman resumes, ?If we work together, if you listen to me, we can end this war tonight. We can save our city.? Somewhere in Gotham, retired Commissioner Gordon says audibly, ?You damned fool.?
As Batman is delivering his message to the cops, Oracle is becoming enraged with his actions and is yelling, ?Damn you, Bruce. Give me back my system!? as she slams the keys on her keyboard. An officer named Blake, who?s in the middle of a battle in Old Gotham, radios Batman and asks him what he needs them to do. Batman instructs every officer on the streets to do whatever they can ?to herd this scum toward Robinson Park. Use whatever you?ve got left, run them down if you have to, but push and don?t stop.?
The officer who made the call to Batman is beginning to order his men according to Batman?s instructions when another officer asks him that those orders aren?t from the commissioner. Blake answers, ?When they figure a way to stop this mess, then I?ll follow their orders. Right now, I?m just happy someone has some kind of plan.? And the police start charging into the fight with these new instructions.
On the East End, as the words of Batman?s radio message are still being delivered, Catwoman is caught up in the middle of a gun battle with the Ravens but without a gun. She sneaks up to the deadly duo and attacks them with her whip. After taking down one of the women, Catwoman sees a black and white and notices that both officers in the cab of the vehicle are hunkered down. She walks up to them and says, ?Tell you what.. Why don?t you cops follow the fearless leader?s little plan there.. And leave these two to me??
The cops don?t question and head out. Catwoman turns her attention back to the Ravens and says that she knows that they?re here to try to take a piece of the East End and that the territory is not up for grabs. One of the women responds, ?According to who? Some leather-draped dominatrix who thinks she?s the female Batman?? Enraged by this last comment, Catwoman replies as she attacks, ?And I?m always telling people blondes aren?t stupid. But you just pushed the wrong button, girl. And just so you know, it wasn?t dominatrix that I took offense to.?
Back in The Hill, Spoiler has freed her from her bonds but is lying on the ground passed out. She slows wakes up from her pain-induced stupor and tries to gather herself so she can get to Batman. After realizing that her wounds are too severe to get to Batman, she decides it would be better to get to Leslie Thompkins? clinic so she can get word back to him. Spoiler makes it to the window and tries to continue onward.
Catwoman is still battling the Ravens to a standstill. As she dodges one of the slashes of one of the women?s knife, Catwoman runs towards the side of a building. The other Raven begins to fire at the running jewel thief. As Catwoman dodges the hail of bullets and gets to the building wall, she runs up the wall and launches herself in a somersault towards to the two Ravens. The ladies, caught by surprise by the beauty of her acrobatic move, stare at the boots of Catwoman until it?s too late and they are knocked to the ground by the soles of those same boots. As Catwoman start to tell the women that she was thinking about letting them go until they made her work up a sweat, a Raven picks up her gun and fires towards a abandoned gas rig which explodes upon impact.
Catwoman becomes conscious of the tanker and its location near the row houses. She forgets the Ravens and hurries towards the houses. On her way, she radios Oracle and informs her that she needs emergency vehicles and the fire department as soon as possible. The Ravens watch as Catwoman attempts to quell the out-of-control blaze and comment that they can?t shoot her in the back because they like her moves. So they decide to just get out of the area. Catwoman soon realizes that her first transmission to Oracle was not heard and she is frantically calling Oracle for help.
Oracle finally responds to Catwoman and tells her she had a problem but she has routed fire engines to her location. Oracle then contacts Batman and starts asking why she was kept out of the loop concerning his broadcast. Batman tersely responds that he?s busy and that the outage was temporary. Oracle replies that the length was not at issue but that the fact that she has vital information working in her system. And she tries to explain herself further, Batman coldly states, ?You?re wasting my time, Barbara. Batman out.? As Batman disconnects, Oracle is exasperated and moans ?I cannot believe you, Bruce? Nothing ever changes, does it??
Batman gets to his Batmobile and tries to radio Orpheus. After several attempts with no response, Batman assumes that Orpheus still can hear his words but just can?t respond. So, Batman states that the next stage has been set in motion and that he?ll be at The Hill in ten minutes. As the last few words of Batman?s messages are ringing out in Orpheus? hideout, Black Mask, in Orpheus? robe, is recreating a scene from Shakespeare?s Hamlet using Orpheus?s helmet as Yorik. Black Mask reflects by saying, ?Alas, poor Orpheus? I knew him, Horatio? Knew him to be a two-faced spy secretly working for the Batman? But, I have to say ? I love the mask.?
It seems that Batman will be in for a long evening. He?s running towards a major confrontation with the Black Mask without anyone knowing his plan. And with Batman napalming all of his relationships on the way, it doesn?t appear that he?ll have a big support system if Gotham gets out of this nightmare. Next week, there?s only the final part of Act Two with Batman #632. See you then.