There are three stories in Detective Annual 12 (2011), two of which deal with a new hero, the Night Runner, who will become part of Batman Incorporated.
So it’s appropriate that the Night Runner opens this book, in the first story, by David Hine and Agustin Padilla. He is heading across the Paris rooftops, though we do not yet know why, and finds himself pursued by Batman. His attempts to get away are futile, and he understands why when he sees that he is facing two Batmen, not just one.
The rest of this story is a flashback, taking us full-circle back to the opening. Bruce Wayne comes to Paris to try to see his Batman, Incorporated plan, but finds no interest among the French in importing an American hero.
But a hero is desperately needed. An organization called the Golden Door, lead by a woman called Korrigan, has been behind a number of assassinations, of people across the political spectrum, which has caused tensions and reprisals. Renee Montoya comes to join the cult, though it’s a safe bet she is doing this undercover for Batman.
The next planned assassination is of a popular rap singer. Night Runner has figured this out, and was heading there when he ran into Bruce and Dick. They determine that he is not part of the Golden Door, and has the same goal they do, of preventing the murder.
The story continues in this years Batman Annual.
The Question heads to Nanda Parbat, in a story, by Brad Desnoyer, Lee Ferguson and Ryan Winn, that follows up the Mark of Cain element from her earlier series.
She consults with Richard Dragon, who takes her down to a secret city hidden below the secret, hidden city of Nanda Parbat. There Renee encounters an ancient immortal, a creature of misery and torment, living out an endless punishment. He tries to con Renee into taking his place, telling her she is damned. But Renee refuses to feel any shame about her life or her choices, and the mark begins to vanish on its own.
It is made clear that the mark is not gone, it’s simply hidden.
Not a bad story, and the Mark of Cain could have been developed interestingly, but I believe this is Renee Montoya’s last appearance before Flashpoint, and the New 52 will see a completely different version of the Question.
The final story in the issue, by Kyle Higgins and Trevor McCarthy, details the origin of the Night Runner.
He is a young Muslim boy in Paris, living amongst constant racism and hassles. He and his friends are targeted by everyone, from the police to total strangers. When his best friend is killed, and then labelled a terrorist, his grief leads him to running across the rooftops.
He gets a different perspective from up there, and decides to become a masked hero.
It’s not the greatest origin story, so far, but it does continue in this year’s Batman Annual.