Paolo e Francesca, Mose Bianchi(1840-1904, Italian)
(L’il Gotham #21)
Damn …… Mystique
Happy Birthday, Teddy Roosevelt
Batman found Bane tied in restraints&hooked to a pump that was draining his Venom. He was the mysterious “Patient X” mentioned in the videos about Dr. Young’s Titan project. Joker triggered the pump, replacing Bane’s Venom, which enabled him to break free to attack Batman, hurling him through a wall into the Boiler Room. After a fierce fight, Batman fled by means of his grappling gun as the ceiling collapsed on Bane, burying him under a pile of rubble. Bane rose, however, to face the Dark Knight again, only to have the latter summon the Batmobile to the scene, ramming directly into Bane to knock him into the murky waters of Gotham Bay. Bruce took Jim to the docks, where an emergency launch was waiting to take the commissioner back to the mainland. After heading through a locked-up cave, Batman glided down to a secret Arkham-based sector of the Batcave (I almost forgot ‘bout this), which he installed beneath the island’s surface years ago. Using the computer, he learned that Young was researching Venom&managed to develop Titan, a similar, yet more powerful drug based, ostensibly intended to help inmates withstand more strenuous therapies. Realizing Joker planned to use Titan for something sinister, Batman headed over to Arkham Mansion to reach Young’s notes before Joker got there first. Batman made his way to the doctor’s office to find that she already retrieved the notes. He tracked a trail of her finger prints to the library, where she hid ‘em. He destroyed the notes but Joker kidnapped Young&intended to torture the Titan formula out of her. While venturing through the mansion to rescue Young, Batman was drugged by Scarecrow again, this time being forced to relive his parents’ deaths. After emerging unharmed, he found Zsasz holding Young hostage in Sharp’s office but easily took him down with a Batarang. The harrowed doctor revealed that Joker knew the formula. She talked of a lab but when she went over to Sharp’s safe to retrieve the security codes, she found that Joker got there first&rigged the safe with explosives; the blast killed Young while Harley taunted a barely-conscious Batman with Sharp, who she was still holding hostage. Bats chased Quinn through the Penitentiary; after freeing Sharp, Quinn released Poison Ivy, whose cell Wayne passed earlier after she pleaded for help. To make matters worse, Joker liberated the rest’a the crazed inmates. After apprehending Quinn, Batman learned Joker had a secret production facility inside the Botanical Gardens. In possession of the knowledge that Joker planned to build an army of mutants, Batman headed over to stop him, as he decimated the facility while beginning to search for an antidote. Since Titan was produced by genetically-engineered plants, Batman believe Ivy could help him. At first, she refused to assist him ‘til he warned her that every plant on Arkham would suffer unless she cooperated. She informed him the only way to create a cure was to use some rare spores that can only be found in the sewers inside the lair of Killer Croc. Scarecrow dangled his toxins over the river in the pipeline, threatening to drop ‘em in if Batman came closer, which would affect the entire city. As Scarecrow stood on the edge, Croc jumped out of the water&was about to eat him but Batman hit his shock collar, forcing him to recoil. Batman ventured into the “belly of the beast” to gathers the required ingredients. As he prepared to exit, Croc chased him through a tunnel but Batman destroyed a weak part of the floor, sending Croc plummeting into the river below. He returned to where Ivy was but she stated that while she originally thought Titan was hurting her plants, it actually made ‘em stronger. With that, she summoned a colossal plant through the floor to battle Batman. Emerging victorious, Batman rushed over to Joker’s “party.” Inside the Visitor Center, Batman was weakened when Joker detonated a bomb on the other side of a thin glass window. He woke up to find Joker sitting on a throne of mannequins with Scarface sitting on his knee. Joker sent some’a his men along with two Titan-fueled cops to attack Batman&when they failed, he revealed Gordon tied up. Joker whipped out a gun filled with Titan pellets&takes a shot at Gordon but Batman dived in the way. When he resisted the change, Joker declared hewas ruining his fun, shooting himself through the lower jaw. Ten minutes later, news choppers were flying all around, cameras fixed on the roof of the Center. A horribly-mutated Joker climbed up from inside, gripping Batman in his hands. Unlike other victims, Joker kept his mind&taunted Batsy to give in. In retaliation, Batman injected himself with the panacea in order to prevent the Titan from taking control. While the maniac showed off to the reporters, Batman yanked him down into an electrical circuit. He climbed out, barely harmed at all, but as he bragged ‘bout how he was victorious, Batman sprayed Explosive Gel over his heavily-armored knuckles. Stating he’d never let Joker win, he punched him in the face, launching Joker backwards&knocking him unconscious. Outside the Center, Gordon told Batman the effects of Titan were starting to wear off. At that moment, Batman was informed that Two-Face was raiding Gotham&flew away into the night via the Batwing. Meanwhile, a crate marked “Titan” was seen floating through the sea outside Arkham. Bane, Scarecrow, and Croc emerged to grab ahold of it, showing that the three villains were still at large…
Arkham Asylum Concept Art, by Carlos D’anda.