Prelude: The Final Trials of Captain Marvel

Prelude: The Final Trials of Captain Marvel

Kahndaq: It begins with the roll of thunder over a land that rarely sees a storm.

^Sire! Come quickly.^

People do not summon a King, they are summoned. Such is the first thought to enter the mind of Adam. Who’s sleeping form roused long before the servant broke through the curtains surrounding his sea of pillows. The women who litter his chambers also rouse, but none speak. Their place is known and the silence is assured, except at times when they’re encouraged to break it. That fight or flight instinct was in play in the man before his servant’s voice rang out, but it is squarely in the corner of ‘fight’ once he’s heard the man’s tone.

^What madness drives you to…

^Quickly, Sire! They’re …^

That is when the first explosion rocks the palace. Debris crashes in from all angles. Instantly the serenity that was Adam’s chambers is thrown in to complete chaos. A second explosion sends his chamber maidens scrambling as the danger overtakes their senses. That second explosion is followed by a third, a fourth, then the number is endless. Completely lost in the brutality of the assault.

In the ensuing madness of of napalm bathed flames, keen eyes might find the sight of Adam. Swathed only in silken robe, crouched over the fallen form of the man who had come only moments before to summon him. The body lays crumbled amidst the rubble of the bedroom’s entry way. Blood stains Adam’s hand for only a moment, before a single word slips from his lips.


^^ – Translated from an ancient dialect of Egyptian.


“…Freddy wake up…”

The voice in Freeman’s head is as real as anything he’s ever head. The voice is the same as one he’s heard a hundred times before. It was last heard when he stood in the presence of the Wizard. Though it sounds the same as ever, it is also different. Softer. Less strained. Yet there’s is that foreboding sense of danger that lingers upon whether Freddy does as he is told.

When his open finally, the television that was not on when he went to bed is on. The local news is playing footage labeled as ‘Breaking World News.’ A man at some news desk, somewhere, is talking about footage that is playing over his shoulder. It could be a scene out of any old War movie you might have seen as a kid. Tanks rolling through the desert. Bullets and rockets that look more like lasers on the low quality cameras they’re being filmed on.

“… and in a stunning move Bialya that has shaken the United Nations and most of the world. The Sovereign Country of Bialya declared a state of War on their neighbor Kahndaq. What’s most shocking, is that this declaration was made after a suprising air raid on the Kahndaqian governments Palace….”

The anchor’s telecast is interrupted then by the scene over his shoulder changing once more. Whomever was the cameraman, he was trying in vein to keep up with the action happening right in front of him. Even the shaky hand of a novice is able to see the Lightning bolt that crashes down upon a tank division. The explosion kicks up sand in all all directions. Abruptly ending the footage.

“…Kahndaq’s self-appointed ruler, Theo Adam, was quick to respond to the attack. Reports are slim, but we’ve been able to show you only brief footage. President Luthor is expected to make an official statement, but in the name of World Peace, the United Nations has implored the President to act swiftly in the face of the likely super-human war-fare that …”

“…the final trials have started Freddy…”

“…is expected. Given the nature of Kahndaq’s ruler, analysts are calling this failed assassination of Black Adam a grave miscalculation on behalf of Bialya. Those same analysts expect that the attack itself may have been aimed specifically at drawing that very response…”


Since the events, that had Freddy crisscrossing the nation had passed to put an end to an out of control goddess who nearly unleashed a power hungry god Freddy spent time getting acquainted with his new colleagues, but he could not spend as much time as he would have liked learning more about them, because there was work to do. No, there was no threat to steel himself against and fight, no there was healing to be done and none of it could be expedited with wishes or words of power. The healing that Freddy participated in was much like what he did in Metropolis when he, Cassie and Wally went about cleaning up the disaster that the museum had become.

However, for Freddy it went further than clearing debris and rubble and planting flowers. There were people to console, people to meet and speeches to give about the fallen, the dead. People whose lives had been lost in what had been horrible tragedies. Tragedies that could have been avoided, should have been. Life was far from back to normal. While some had to deal with the horrors of humanity the people of Fawcett City had to deal with so much more.

He knew that NOWHERE had come through to deal with the events of the bank and he knew what had been reported about what happened at the school with the explosion of the boiler that killed so many, he knew the truth. He also knew the truth of how many fine offices of the FCPD lost their lives.

There were memorials and funerals, periods of mourning that were going on to this day. There were people coming together and those that withdrew from the world. To be frank Fawcett City had lost some of its pep. A dark cloud hung over the city one that was draped in lies, but lies that were necessary if such a thing existed.

Despite everything that was to come home is where Freddy needed to be, not only to help protect Fawcett City, but to help it move past one of the darkest days. How many more dark days would it have to endure. It lost its favorite son already and now they had lost so many more. It lost the future with the population of children being decimated. They had their lives torn from them. All Freddy could think was it was better for their families to think that it was an accident than for them to know the truth that they had been turned into living horrors to do the biding of biding of a goddess that had gone mad.

One step a time. It’s how they did it, one state a time. The people of Fawcett City got knocked down a lot, but they always got up and they did it together. This was not something they could get through alone, so Freddy did what he could, which wasn’t easy, because even if he appeared as Shazam, there was the difficult question of, “Where were you?” followed by. “Why weren’t you here?”

Freddy was pushed into a room, protected by Chief Callahan. A move the deposited him into the Metropolis Library. He had to face them and accept their anger, pain and resentment at failing to protect that which was most precious. He could not divulge what happened without creating additional pain. Complicating matters was not what he wanted to do

They did not want his platitudes or excuses. Some did not want to hear he would do better or that he was merely one person. That didn’t want to hear it, they couldn’t hear it. No one wants to hear that. Still he stood there and took it as Shazam, because it was the right thing to do. They were due their pain, their anger, their outrage. They were entitled to it. They needed someone to be the target then he would be that too, because only then could the path to healing begin.

They were difficult days, with difficult weeks ahead, but they could only move forward, not back. Memorials would be erected for the fallen. Including a statue for the mystery hero that allowed for their to be survivors. It was that opening that allowed Shazam to let people know that there will always be people who rise to help.

He considered divulging the identity of the individual, but rather than create an international incident he simply called him a ‘friend’. Someone who was here when he couldn’t be. Someone who acted when he couldn’t. Friend of Fawcett, that is how he referred to him. It was the best he could offer, because to saying they had a complicated relationship was an understatement. He was an arrogant ass, but an honorable one. His alter ego was more amenable. Either way Freddy found him to be like anyone else that walked the earth a complicated, complex individual that he admired on some level, but also knew he had to be watched.

Where Adam challenged and pushed Freddy. Freddy sought to retrain him. To encourage his more noble traits. He was certain Adriana was better suited at that, but there’s was a shared history. Literally given all that Freddy had experienced. It was these thoughts that sent considered along all that he learned upon passing the Trials of Courage and Strength.

Every night it was the same dream the one where he saw the little boy that told him to call forth his name. To take it for himself. Every night he replayed the conversation, remembering the warning, but this night it was different. This night there was a whisper, one that grew louder until Freddy’s eye shot open.

Throwing off his covers his hand moved to his forehead which throbbed a bit. The whisper he heard in his mind was not that of Solomon but another, one that had been missed. “Wizard?”

Padding over towards the glow and sound of the television which he distinctly remembered turning off he cleared the sleep from his eyes until what the newscaster said and the crawl of words along the bottom of the screen register.

Bialya. Kahndaq. Attack. Palace. Explosion.

Theo. “Theo.” He said softly as the whisper returned. As the newscast continued he knew exactly what happened. He didn’t need to see he didn’t need speculation. If they were attacking Kahndaq then it’s defender would respond.

The final trials had begun. There was only one trial left and it in the balance were lives too numerous to count, but even as that sunk in another fact sunk in. The United Nations wanted Luthor to act. Not that Freddy knew the inner workings of administration completely, but it involved a superhuman. One that could easily subdue all others. He was on par with the Wizard’s previous champion.

“Conner.” Conner equals Cassie. Either way it could quickly involved the two of them one way or another. “Cassie.” Modern Day Adam and Isis. He couldn’t let his mind go there, not yet.

He needed to intervene. He had to. Did he know what he was getting into. No. What if it was similar to with what happened with Hercules. Why would Bialya attack Kahndaq? It should matter, but did he have time? That was the question. However, there was only one way he could star to answer that question and more. It begin with a word.


“Today, a reporter from the Gotham Observer has produced the first images of the aftermath from last night’s air-raid on Shiruta, Kahndaq…”

News across the World have taken up the story. As the cover of night’s darkness descended upon the desert City of Shiruta, Capital City of Kahndaq. A daring plan was put into action by the neighboring country Bialya. It was roughly midnight when the first bomb dropped from the bay doors of an airborne destroyer. The payload was targeting the capital Palace; known to be the home of the country’s leader Theo Adam and the late Adrianna Tomaz.

Less than hour after the attack began, which is being called reminiscent of a modern day Pearl Harbor, Kahndaq’s Capital City was almost entirely razed to the ground. With the death toll reportedly in the tens of thousands. Kahndaq’s Champion, known the world over as Black Adam, was quick to respond. He took to the air to defend the country but the fighters and bombers were swarming like an angry beehive. For every fighter that Adam took down two more slipped past him long enough to deal yet more damage to the city. The Bialyan air force taking an almost kamikaze approach that left most of the world’s analysts stunned and speechless.

By two o’clock, Kahndaqian, the ground assault had begun. This was a more formal invasion, that seemed aimed at penetrating deep into the country. Once more the Country’s Champion would respond, but he was fighting a battle of numbers. Images shown by the Gotham Observer, demonstrate Adam’s brutality, but also the Bialyan strategy of taking ground by any means. Losing a tank to Adam’s fury, but gaining another mile with two others. Forcing Adam to protect the innocent, instead of pushing back at every front.

At nearly three o’clock, Kahndaqian, the first shots were fired from a Bialyan destroyer off the coast of Kahndaq from the Mediterranean Sea. To this Adam had little response. He was but a single person, fighting against the proverbial swarm of Bialyan bees.

It was not quite four o’clock when WGBS reported that Theo Adam had managed to finally make contact with the outside world. Humbling himself to ask the Leader of the Free World, President for Life Lex Luthor. for help.


Today, while standing on the White House Lawn, President Lex Luthor announced a joint task force of several major powers within the United Nation’s Security council would be answering the urgent call from war torn Kahndaq. This comes nearly 24 hours after the initial, unannounced, surge of attack made by Bialya on their neighbors. Hailing the attack on Kahndaq as heinous and uncalled for, President Luthor clarified that this would be a joint task force of Peace Keepers. His clarification was made when pressed for what his authority was to send troops, without an official Declaration of War approved by Congressional vote.

“We are not sending soldiers. We’re not deploying the armed forces. We are taking part in a special task force, sanctioned by the United Nations, aimed solely at restoring peace to the area and putting a stop the senseless loss of life.”

Less than four hours after the announcement news crews were finally able to report in real time. Videos began to make the local, national and world news. Images depicting the Canadian hero known to his people as ‘Freight Train,’ and the French born Firehawk and a woman of Italian descent, mostly known outside of Italy for her amazing operatic talents Alessandra Fermi, the Diva, are shown to the world arriving. Unsurprisingly it is the arrival of the blue and red sigil of Superman that is most touted though. Reporters would suggest that many others can be counted among this vaunted task force, each with their own special ability to render assistance.

Soon after that the ‘Humanitarian Aid’ begins with the Red Cross being covered by the task force. Medical assistance and recovery crews are the first to be brought in and kept safe by those heroes. It isn’t long before the task force is tested in it’s resolve to assist, by new attacks from the Mediterranean Sea based naval vessels of Bialya. Camera crews are able to get amazingly clear shots of the team taking to the field, but only to employ non-lethal force in disarming both troops and entire vessels themselves.

On the third day of the attack on Kahndaq, the Capital City of Shiruta experiences the first full hour without the sound of exploding bombs tolling the new noon-time hour. By this point the City is in ruins. The Red Cross tent-hospitals are overflowing with injured. At least three time that number lay dead in the street or beneath tons of rubble. With only seeming handful of people avoiding both injury or death. The sheer numbers rolling in to the major media sources are staggering.

One news clip begins to make it’s rounds on the news outlet, a small but poignant exchange between the Superman and Kahndaq’s failed champion.

“They run, it is time for us to press back,” in spite of the terrible losses he’s face, Black Adam sounds confident and almost shockingly superior.

“We will, but first we need to make sure the people here are safe from reprisals.”

“They will safe when every man with a gun, is driven from our land…” it is almost as if Adam realizes in the middle of his own words, that he is taking the wrong tact and adjusts.”.. if we allow them time to dig in it will take twice the effort to dig them out later…”

“I agree, but we’re here to restore peace my friend. Listen. You hear that? That silence is the sound of peace.”

“Peace?! All that I hear is fear. They run now. Afraid of fighting against those who might fight back. Now is the time to pursue them. To remove them from Kahndaq.” His impassioned plea ends with a very pointed message, as he spreads his hands wide to the toppled city before him. “…to avenge the dead”

“Adam,” the Canadian born Freight Train, with his larger than life personality matched only by his sheer size, finally speaks. “Before you avenge the dead, let’s help the living stay that way, man…”

It is clear, even before Adam’s hand swiftly takes hold of the camera he’s only just noticed, that he is bridling from the ‘Task Force’s’ response. But whatever the response he makes, is hidden beneath the crumbling of the camera’s lense. Shortly there after, the sound of silence is once more broken.

This time it is Kahndaq that attacks. The fury of Black Adam unleashed upon soldiers that were seemingly retreating. This time there are cameras to capture the destruction in living color.

For years people feared that a War in the eastern peninsula of Egypt would rise from the ashes of an overthrown Dictator in the tiny little country of Kahndaq. Such a infinitesimally small blip on the World’s Map, yet it was taken from the hands of an inadequate madman. Taken by the hands of another madman, this one far more than simply adequate. Black Adam had usurped the previous Leader of the tiny nation without much fanfare. His efforts amounting to walking up to the pathetic creature that kept Kahndaq’s people in a constant state of poverty and quite simply murdering him where he stood. News Medias across the globe needed very little else as justification to point at any nation ran by a Meta-Human as the poster child for all that could and would go wrong if they were left unchecked.

Much to the surprise of the international community and the chagrin of those very same News Outlets, Black Adam made no moves to expand. Other than proclaiming his country ‘off limits’ to the meta-human hunters of various foreign powers, opening the doors to Kahndaq being labeled meta-terrorist sympathizers, the new King of Kahndaq had made very little waves in the world around his country. Instead he had focused upon bettering his people. Restoring them to the glory they once knew thousands of years prior.

No one. Not even Theo Adam and the Wisdom of the Gods. Thought for an instant that the violence would come from outside. That it would be waged against this tiny, insignificant country, who’s only true worth could be measured in Black Adam’s power? Seemed almost an absurd impossibility but a week ago.

Yet now in the aftermath of a sneak attack the likes of Pearl Harbor, the world has begun to re-evaluate what it thinks of impossible. As well as taking a very hard look at the possibility of what this world might look like if ever those ‘Mystery Men’ of ages past were to put their power towards ruling their homelands, instead of simply protecting them. For while the combined might of the Allied Nations had pushed away the fight from the innocent of Shiruta, they had truly only afforded Kahndaq’s ruler a chance to finally push back. And push back, he has.

Not more than twenty five miles from the outer edge of the safety camp erected by the United Nation’s Peace-Keeping Task Force? The War still rages. Bialya’s forces have retreated only as far as it took to get those from the outside world to stop pushing back. Once that line was decided? They dug in. Fortifying their positions. Creating supply lines to their troops, in ways that most military analysts would say they intended to fight for every inch of Kahndaq they could get. Those same analysts would also pose the notion that it was ultimately futile in their efforts to do so.

Black Adam does not sleep and he does not eat. He certainly does not take a break. The magic from the Rock of Eternity burns eternal and so to does it’s Champion. What’s more is that the task he has set about is not one waged against other, similar supermen. It is against a people as frail as those Adam would protect. He lights from camp to camp, eradicating each that he encounters. Littering his own country in the wreckage of the instruments of War.

All of which he does without stopping. Thus is the headway he makes. Yet so too does it make for an incomplete picture that he sees. Why dig in? Why fight for land you have no true hope of holding? In his rage, Adam renders Bialya’s assault moot more and more with each passing hour. It is however taking hours. Which in turn stretch in to days. We are even now reaching a week that his country has been under siege.

Killing Joke: Demon Daughter; Part III

“Helloooooo, Gotham. It’s me. Everyone’s favorite Clown Prince of Chaos. Bringing you another installment of ‘Gotham: This is your Life.'”

As it has been each time that the Joker’s image has appeared on televisions across Gotham, the scene is a grim one. Certain television shows will of course censor what is seen, but even still they’ll give their warnings of it being ‘Not for the Faint of Heart.’ With their little television ratings suggesting not to let children remain in the room. They’re right to do so of course. Keeping the children from being scarred for life by what is becoming an increasingly grisly view.

Talia al Ghul is beautiful by nearly any reckoning. Her features are that of genetic perfection. One might never look upon her and guess her age. At one time her skin was a state of perfection. Such that one would never guess at her real life-style. A testament of her ability, that her skill a fighter would allow her to navigate her life with hardly a single blemish to mark failure. Such is no longer the case. Her dress is now that of tatters. Leaving very little to the imagination if one were wondering about Talia’s figure. Those curves are easily made out now, what with her having been moved from a chair to being tied upright to a table. Her hands and feet splayed open in order present the woman as a target.

As the camera pans back it is all too easy to see that the surface she has been bound to is actually standing upright. With the Joker next to it. Blood mars the otherwise perfect face and body of the Princess. With each inch put upon display by the camera, it is easier and easier to see the woman’s peril. From the ball-gag preventing her from proper speech, to the cuts and scrapes lining her body from being the targetof every implement thrown at her. Of which there is plenty. Because apparently Talia has spent the time between broadcasts being the object of a game of darts.

Except that the darts range everything from actual darts, to throwing stars, daggers and that looks like an axe embedded in the wood just above her right ear. Her body on display making an excellent target as it’s been slowly exposed as her evening gown was cut away by more than a couple near misses. Those scars though.. those are from the not-so-misses.

“Christmas has come and gone. A new year has rung in. Yet still we have no answer to the one question plaguing our fair City.”


“I know, I get it. I do. It’s been a troubling quandary. Many of you didn’t even know he was gone. What with the game of pretend his sycophants play. Others of you were helpless. Sheep. Who looked to the Bat for protection. Now you’ve been left in a City of Sheep. Made all the more dangerous by the ‘Demon’ and his Goons combing the City.”

“Yes, yes. I know. I understand. I empathize with your pain. We’ve had someone taken from us. Someone dear to our hearts. Fear not, dear Gotham. I, the Joker, understand your pain and seek to find a way through this darkness for us all. But as my dear old friends at Arkham always said, true progress must begin with accepting your guilt.”

Someone in Gotham took him from us. Whether you’re the one who did it,” a hand pumps the ‘wheel’ and sends Talia’s torture rack spinning in circles. “Or you simply know who did. You can come forward. Tell us who took our Batsy away. That’s all we really want. Isn’t it? A chance to know who took him from us.”

“Which is why we’re here. Now. With the Demon’s Spawn. She did not take our Bat from us, but her Father. A man who seeks to remain in the shadows. The Demon’s Head. Not merely the rambling of a demented psychopath, but an honest to goodness, immortal in our midst. He holds the answers. He can step from the Shadows and tell us what we need to know.”

“Gotham. I do not do this to force you to huddle in your homes. Scared. Alone. Afraid of the shadows that the Demon sends out among you. No. I do this to take back what we’ve lost with the Batman’s passing. To give us a chance to find what’s been taken from us. Join me. Fight Back against the Shadows. Stand up. Raise your fists and say…

Who killed the Batman!?

“Ra’s, baby. Tick-tock. Your time is almost up. If you act now, your baby girl can sign up for a Tweety Page and join the #MeToo movement.” Stepping away, so that the Cameras can once more pan to the clown disguised thugs and the other beautiful woman with pig-tails. Each of whom are happily playing their game of Darts with Talia’s life. “Otherwise. I’m afraid our next game is going to be a little more…”

Boss! Hey, Boss. There’s a problem. Dewy tripped and dropped the flame-thrower… it’s broken.
“… what?! Rats. How are we going to play Roasted Rumpus without a flame-thrower?!”
… well there’s still the pirahna tank, Boss…
“…pirahna? I asked for sharks…”
They were all out down at the pet-store.

“Oh. Bother. Well Gotham. It looks like we’re going to have take off those advertisements for Shark Week. Instead you’re going to get to see a Demon’s Bitch, fed to Pirahna. This is your last chance, Gotham. Our next big broadcast will be the last. A season finale for the ages. Who needs sharks anyway…”

Killing Joke: Demon Daughter Edition

It all started as a Joke. ‘Who killed the Batman?’

Getting the current news in Arkham Asylum was a little tricky by even the best of standards. Unless you’re connected or crazy or both. In my case it’s surely all of the above. A guard thought it was funny. His laughter was curious, confusing. Was someone other than me making them laugh? Unthinkable. How wrong I was. How terribly wrong. The orderlies were only to happy to share the dish, after all how often were they ever going to get the opportunity to torment the Clown Prince of Crime? That’s not the natural order of things.

Batman is Dead. Someone killed the Bat. He’s gone. No one has seen him for months.

It was all a cruel joke right? How could he be dead? How could be gone? Unthinkable. No one else was his equal. No one else challenged him the way I did. Took him to the brink as often as I. How could anyone do what I’d not done? Mind you, I’d chosen not too. So how could someone have done it, without my permission? Don’t they know? Don’t they understand.

They would. Oh, they would all understand soon enough. I started with Manny. The orderly on Mondays. He likes to bring my fruit cup open and missing some slices. We don’t talk about Manny the Orderly. No one does. They talk about the Black Mask. He’s where I went next. His breakout of the Asylum was opportune. For me. Less so for him. I’d tell you to ask him, but you’d have to get him to stop screaming after I peeled the skin off of his face and dribbled acid on his balls, while he dangled from them in the Gotham Cathedral.

From there I started with the Mobs. The Russians were an easy target. Oh, I knew right away they didn’t know anything. How could they? The tracksuit jerks barely know their own name, but they had connections. Fingers in the Pie that is Gotham’s Underworld. They lead me to who was next. Now the Irish? They knew a little. Not because they knew who killed the Batman, but because they knew who didn’t. Those poor schmucks knew who lacked the balls to put their heads out. I think we left one or two of them alive, ol Punch-Face and I. Hey! Team-Up with the Red Hood wasn’t bad. It lasted about a week.

By the time I’d moved on to the Italians? Well. You might say that the Mobsters were scared. My old Buddy, Carmine. He was really the first to even try to answer the question. Who killed the Batman? ‘Who cares ya dumb clown? All that matters is that he’s gone! We can run this town again, ya mook. Oh, Carmy. That’s kind of what your Mother said. ‘I dunno where Carmine is, that bum, at least he’s gone.’ Okay. I’m lying. I think she would have said that. If I’d let her speak before I cut her throat. I didn’t need her to talk, I needed to pose. Dead and Naked. So that Carmine could see the photos of his dear old Mum. Because -then- he’d try to answer the question. The real question. Because these guys are chumps, they couldn’t kill the Batman. They can barely tie their own shoes. No, no. I’m not tearing through them because I think they have any real information about who actually killed the Batman.

I’m doing this because they’re all Happy he’s gone. Because they each have a crumb, on their dirty lips from sampling the Pie. A pie they had no right to touch because Batman should be here denying them. One by one the Gangs of Gotham answer my questions. Little by little I make my way up the latter. Until I finally start to get the attention of the people who matter…


The fat little son of a bitch tries to fake looking happy to see me. Greeting me to his Iceberg Lounge, while silently signalling for his troops to setup in hopes of stopping whatever insanity they think I’m up too. None of them even know. Not one of the bystanders. None of the Goons working for Penguin. Maybe not even Cobblepot himself has a clue. I’m not here for them.

I’m here for Her. The beautiful long legged woman, with the furs and the pearls. Eyes that are as deep as the emerald pools of Ireland. She seems as if she is draped across the booth, like a stolen fur. So many of the customers that this little Casino welcomes look upon her and think ‘What I wouldn’t give for ten minutes.’ How many of them believe they’re looking upon the Penguin’s highest paid callgirl. Not one of them understand the pecking order here.

You see. My War upon Gotham? It began with Black Mask. It spanned the racial divide. They were simply stepping stones. Putting my House in Order, because anyone. Anyone who thinks Gotham is anything but my House, in the absence of the Bat, is just plain stupid. It doesn’t belong to the Bat’s pidgeons. Not to GCPD. Nor the Waynes and Elites. This City was the Bat’s. It was the Bat’s and mine. Mine to torment, to tease, to tinker with. Mine to test and harden. To bring to the brink, to the very edge of Chaos….

Ahhh. Joker. Why the long face? Have you lost your smile? Well, you’ve come to the right place to get it… -squawck!-

If I were aiming at killing the Penguin. He’d already be dead. They’d all be dead. I’m not here for him. I’m not here for the money. I’m not even here for the people. I’m here for her. The ‘High Priced Callgirl’ that everyone lays eyes on, but no one even has the cajones to ask for a moment of her time. Oh, I’m sure she’s good. Hell, she is probably the best there is. If only she knew, that I knew. If only she understood the pieces of the puzzle, that I’d put together in no particular order. She’d know that she was in danger and she’d react. The truth? Even with the Tweedles and Harley, the whole gang and a host of Venom. I’d have to be lucky to get a minute of her time before -she- killed me.

If only she knew, that Carmine Falcone’s last words to me before I beat him nearly to death with his own mother’s Walker. ‘Talk to Talia al Ghul, she knows! For the first time since hearing the joke that made the Orderlies laugh. I smiled. The Daughter of the Demon surely knew the Joke and if she didn’t she’d lead me to who does. If only she’d known, I wasn’t there for Cobblepot. I was there for her. She’d surely have put up a bigger fight than she manages when my joy-buzzer electrifies the whole booth she’d sitting in.

That’s why I smiled. I like my Demon Daughters a little southern fried.



“Wakey wakey little Demon.”

The room is dark, except for the light. A spotlight no less. Shining down from on high. Framing Talia al Ghul upon stage. She is still in her night gown from the Iceberg Lounge. It is difficult to mar her beauty. But you have to ask yourself. Why would you? She is as naturally beautiful as she is gifted. She has also been out cold for several hours. Such is the effects of being electrocuted unceremoniously. One needn’t take the chance. You understand, of course? Getting in to a fight with the Daughter of the Demon is risky business. She’s as well trained as anyone in the world. Possibly better. Few are her equal. I am certainly not.

Not in a fair fight, I should say. Life and I share in common that simple lack of fairness though.

….oookuurr…. ahhhh wulll…. kuuul… uuuu..

“What was that? Wait. Wait just a minute Talia. Hold on. I’m sure one of the Tweedles speaks ballgag-ese. Probably the Fat one. He’s a pervert.”

There’s nothing elaborate about Talia’s situation. Only Batman was worthy of my ‘Best Stuff.’ The gags, the frills. Death Traps. Mmm. How I am going to miss those! Alas, I have only Talia. While perhaps more deadly than ol’ Bateye. She’s missing a certain panache. You know what I mean? She’s all glamour on the outside, but on the inside what do I have to work with? Really, when you get right down to it, Talia is only a stand-in because of one simple, undeniable fact: While she may be the Demon’s daughter, she was the Bat’s bitch.

Don’t believe me? It says so. Right there. On the sign hanging behind her on the stage. In very glittery letters. Which all of Gotham is seeing. Right about Now. Given that I made sure to send the film to every major news station in New Jersey. Home of Gotham City. The Biggest Harbor in the Continental United States.

Show Time!

“Ladies and Gentlemen. Boys and Girls. Children of all Ages. Wait. Don’t turn that dial. We’ve got a whacky show in store for you today. It’s a little something called… Gotham: This is Your Life. Starring your’s truly. The Joker. With a capital T. You know the networks. Oh, you’re probably thinking… another terrible pilot episode. Damn those big networks. But today we’ve got a gen-u-ine hum-dinger of a show for you. My special guest tonight is none other than the Daughter of the Demon. Oooooooh. Scaryyy.”

Pulling back Talia’s lulling head, with a fist full of her hair one of the Tweedles is sure to get a good camera shot of the way I’m playing a knife along her throat. It’s easier to see once I let it bite in enough to draw a line of blood.

“Daughter of the Demon you say? Why yes. Her name is Talia al Ghoul. Daughter of Rhas al Ghul. The most terrible, deplorable, dispicable… actually I kinda like the guy. I’m getting all wet in the pants, just talking about him. It’s a shame. A SHAME. That I’m going to gut his daughter like a goddamned fish.”

“… a fish…”

“That’s right. Boys and Girls. You stay tuned right here. To good Old Gotham Central. For round the clock updates. Because you see? Demon Boy You have until the end of the week. THE END OF THE WEEK. To tell me. To exchange your daughter. For the one or ones who killed my best friend. My Batsy-baby. My Bellfry-bouncing bungalo. Oh. ooohh… or I’m going to start with Talia. Then I’m going to move on to the rest of your little Boys Club for Shadows.. until I’m skull-fucking you, yourself, Demon.”

“Bring me. Batman’s Killer. Or the whole world Burns.”

My hand covers the Camera, pushing it and the holder to the ground, so that you can see the dagger in my hand sliding down and in to Talia’s nightgown, slicing it away from perfect olive skin. “Na na na na naaa will Talia al Ghul live to see tomorrow? Will the League of Shadows tear Gotham apart to find her? Will I suckle from the teet of the Batman’s bimbo? …. tune in tomorrow. Same bat-time. Same bat-channel.”

“Cut! Print. Send to production…”