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The first ever Detective Comics Annual is also the first part of a three annual crossover, Fables.  The issue is written by Denny O’Neil, with art by Klaus Janson and Tony deZuniga.

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The linking factor to the three issues is an aging sensei, who heads to the US to seek out three heroes, for whom he has tales.  Lady Shiva accompanies him on his quest.

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At the same time, Ra’sAl Ghul sends his daughter, Talia, to Gotham to seek out the Penguin, who has stolen a deadly virus that Al Ghul was having prepared.  This story references events in Batman – Son of the Demon, which is generally considered non-canonical.  In that story, Batman and Talia had a child, but Talia lead Batman to believe that she had miscarried.  This marks their first meeting since those events.  Just to confuse issues even more, that conception is not the one that would spawn Damian Wayne – that occurred in a DC Special in the late 70s.

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But back to this story. After a brief meeting with the Question in order to contact Batman, Lady Shiva brings the sensei to him.  He relates a story about how monkeys are captured, and how they could escape if only they were willing to release the bait and walk away.  Batman finds no relevance in the tale.

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Batman is much more interested in tracking down the Penguin and preventing him from releasing the bird-derived plague.

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Talia shows up as the two men battle, and the Penguin injects her with the virus.  Batman stops his fight with the Penguin, rushing Talia to the hospital instead.

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Talia recuperates, and offers to stay with Batman if he will give up his crusade and stay with her.  He refuses, and realizes that he is the monkey caught in the trap.  He sends a message to the sensei that he is in his debt.

The story continues in the Green Arrow Annual, and concludes with Batman and Green Arrow joining the Question in his own Annual.

As for the Penguin, he never does release the virus.  I expect Al Ghul’s men caught up to him eventually.

 

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