Martinborough and Mitchell rejoin Rucka as a two-part adventure begins, bringing back an old villain with a new twist, in Detective 758 (July 2001).
Sasha Bordeaux spends the night tailing Batman, trying to figure out how she can possibly function as his bodyguard. Batman stops a couple of masked hold-up men, who turn out to be Gotham police. They claim to remember nothing about the thefts, or even being caught by Batman.
Sasha can barely get up, and yet Bruce is wide awake, to her consternation. The day does not improve as she is forced to be his caddy as he golfs with another multi-millionaire, subtly encouraging him to build in Gotham.
The police are puzzled, and cannot figure out if the officers who pulled the crime are just lying, or if something more is going on. Crispus Allen and Renee Montoya discuss the case in while getting coffee from the nearby vendor, the ever-friendly Fez, who reminds them to bring back a cup for Bullock.
As evening falls, Bruce tells Sasha to go to bed for the evening, in a way that makes clear he was aware of the previous night’s activities. He knows she knows, and she knows it.
And Fez disrobes, revealing himself to be the Mad Hatter. He places a phone call to Renee and Allen, which activates them as his pawns.
Akins, the new Commissioner since Gordon’s retirement, uses the Bat-Signal for the first time. He has discovered a pattern of thefts by police, and is not sure if this is widespread corruption, or someone manipulating things. Sasha goes home, but passes Renee and Crispus as they don masks, and follows them.
The story continues next issue.
Oracle has dinner with Renee Montoya, as they discuss Commissioner Akins in this one-shot tale, by Ed Brubaker and Steven Lieber.
Montoya relates a story Akins told her, of his early days, and a neighbourhood vigilante, the Watchdog, who gained the trust of the community, to the detriment of the police. A series of child kidnappings went unreported until the fourth case, simply because everyone relied on the Watchdog.
And the Watchdog wound up dying, killing the kidnappers, but the child was not there, nor was anyone left alive who could tell them where she was.
Which all circles back to why Akins does not want the police, or the community, to rely on Batman.
It’s a good tale, but there is one problem to it. It’s Akins use the Bat-Signal which prompts this discussion, and we see it in the distance. But it’s this same use that happens in the first story, and Renee is with Crispus Allen, under the Mad Hatter’s control, not having dinner with Barbara Gordon!
I credit this as an Oracle story, simply because she is the narrator. But really, it stars Commissioner Akins.