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Note from Gail: Heya, everyone!


Each year, Rolling Stone Magazine does a survey to
find the best unsigned bands in the country, and many
of these bands go on to major record contracts. I’m
hoping for similar success for my special guest this
week, Brendan “Nightwing” Hockenberry, undoubtedly one
of the finest fan writers out there.


I first became aware of Brendan’s dark visionary take
on traditional superheroes through a conversation with
his girlfriend Fern, who was raving about this young
man’s talent in a Birds of Prey chat room. It’s my
special honor to present a sample of his work here in
my column, so that you too may experience the
razor-sharp insight he has into the Batman family.
Let’s hope that this is the LAST “fan” fiction this gifted
junior college student has to write. Those who hate
fanfic are in for a real treat!


And now, I give it over to Brendan.


Thank you, Gail. Before we begin my tale, a few notes
seem to be in order.

NOTE TO DC COMICS:


Dear fellow creators.


I write this story not for money or “fame”. I write this story becauseI believe in the Batman. And I believe in the man “INSIDE” the Batman. You see, I write because, as writers must, I feel I have something to share with “pros” and “fans” alike. I write Batman because I believe in him. Maybe YOU did, too…Once upon a time.


Maybe you look at this story as just the work of a “fan.” Or maybe, just maybe, you’re willing to look beyond that and just enjoy my vision. You may not like my “take” on Batman, but you can’t ignore it. If you’re reading this, and you like what you see, well, then, you know how to find me. If you see a glimmer of truth in my words–if you see a ray of hope for the Batman in my ideas…maybe it’s not too late.


For EITHER of us.


Thank you for listening.


NOTE TO READERS:


Dear friends,


It is for you, ultimately, that I set these words down on paper. Not for the “suits” or for the toy manufacturers or for Joel Schumacher. For you, the “fan.” I dedicate this story to you, since it’s YOUR opinion that ultimately matters most. Even if I “make it” and become one of those names you see in the credit box…I promise you this: I won’t sell out. I’ll tell the kind of tough stories you’re about to read here. This I vow. I feel I “owe” it to you.


For you see, I’m just like you.


I’m a “comics” “fan.”


Batrman and the Dark Outsiders

LEGENDS OF THE BATMAN AND THE DARK OUTSIDERS: EPISODE ONE
By Brendan “Nightwing” Hockenberry (BHnightwing@Yahoo.com)

ACT ONE: A NEW HOPE


“The world is now a darker place.


“The old heroes will no longer do.”


These were the bleak thoughts that swirled like ashen
snow behind the stern, stencilled-on eyebrows and
arched white eyes of The Batman as he stood upon
the high rooftop surveying the angry, hellish streets
of Gotham City, the very city he so long ago swore an
oath over his slain parents’ dead interred bodies to
protect, his cape billowing and ears erect (LOL!)
against a really large full moon.


“The world needs… new heroes,” concluded the more
dynamic half of the Dynamic Duo. “Yes, new heroes
indeed.”


But what would Clark say about this? Or Diana? Or
Kyle? Or Wally? Or J’Onn? Or Arthur? Or Eel? How
would they react?


It wouldn’t matter, thought The Dark Knight. They
would not get the chance to react.


The Batman wouldn’t give it to them.

***


Blood dripped/seeped slowly from the flesh wound on
The Batman’s skull as he dangled his athletic frame
one-handed from a gargoyle on the corner of the
roof of the Museum of Gemstones. “Ignore the pain”, he
thought grimly to himself, and wished, not for the
first time, that his parents were alive to see his
dedication. He wished the way he did everything. Hard.
He wished really hard.


A “gangsta” named “Paco” had gotten off a lucky shot.
Instinct had saved him. Instinct and years of
training. Instinct, years of training, and a Kevlar
hat. He had put the “homey” and his “posse” away,
but now the pain was catching up to him.


He was all right, but right now, all he wanted was one
of his faithful manservant Alfred’s quiches and his
own comfortable bed. He could feel his arm start to
throb and he could feel the blood coagulate on his
scalp. The pain was blinding, but his vision was
clear.


But he couldn’t leave–tonight was the big gala
charity exhibit. The Museum of Gemstones was having a
grand party to announce the arrival, for one night
only, of the TWIN CAT BIRD diamonds. Call it a
“hunch,” call it guesswork, or call it the
finely-honed thinking of a truly brilliant mind…but the Gotham
Guardian expected
trouble–something was about to “go down”. But WHAT?
And HOW?


His injury was taking its toll. “I’m not like
Superman or Wonder Woman,” the Dark Knight thought to
himself, “Bullets can piece my skin. Bullets can kill
me.”


It was time to call in his new team. They were wild
cards. Not the kinds of people you brought to a JLA
meeting or a meeting of the JSA or a meeting of
the ORIGINAL Outsiders or even a meeting of the Teen
Titans. But they could get the job done. Because if
there was one thing the world needed, it was new
heroes.


Using both hands, he reached for his signal device.
He felt the warm electrical vibration against his
trunks that meant his invisible signal was flying
through the carbon monoxide-stenched air, between the
fat blood moon and the gridded mean streets. “The call is going out : ) ” thought The Batman as the vibration intensified. It felt good — — until an old man’s scream exploded the Dark
Knight’s reverie to little tiny pieces.

LEGENDS OF THE BATMAN AND THE DARK OUTSIDERS: EPISODE ONE

ACT TWO: THE FALLING OF A HERO


Glass exploded inward, showering the Vincenzo Exhibit
Hall of the Museum of Gemstones with a shower of
sharp, jagged, glittering window-stuff. “It’s
beautiful, like a cleansing shower,” the Batman would
have thought had he seen it, but see it he did not, for his cape was
thrust protectively over his eyes as he leapt through
the window into Vincenzo Hall. He landed, bat-like,
his cape outstretched like sinewy wings, at the
feet of a prone form of a familiar old man. A
precious gemstone, the O’Neill Sapphire, jutted from
the old man’s blood-spitting throat.


The Batman knelt beside the dying man and grimly
pulled the razor-sharp gemstone from the tragic
fountain that used to be his neck. “How dark the
world has become,” thought the masked man, “that an
object of such rare
preciousness could be used so heinously, that
lifeblood could spurt under such pressure from the
throat of a man even as charity revellers laugh and
eat ‘Or Durves’ just a few chambers away.”


The dying man tried to speak. “I (gurgle)…”


“Save. Your. Strength.” commanded the Leathern
Lawman. But the death-filled old man would have none
of it. He had something to say. Something he couldn’t
hold back. Something important that had to be
said. This the Caped Crime-buster could sense.


The Darknight Detective held his pointy ear close to the old man’s mouth, listening to the faint voice and the words it strove to say.


“I…”


“Yes?” intoned the Gotham Goliath.


“I… always…”


“You always…?” questioned the Darknight Detective.


“I… always… knew.. it was you… Bruce.”


And with that, Commissioner Gordon died.


“NOOOOOOOOOO!” shrieked the Batman at the ceiling,
and beyond it the sky, and beyond it whatever Gods had
abandoned him, his fists balled in horror, his
nosepiece casting a triangular shadow over his
tightly-stretched lips and clenched, white, seamless
teeth as he leaned over the emptied earthly vessel
of the one man on the Gotham City Police Department he
would trust with his very life, and who trusted him
also. This night was supposed to be a beginning…
a beginning of a new kind of hero. Instead it was
the end of an old kind of hero. The gore-filled end
of the good, honest, brave, single-handed cop the
Batman called, when of him he spoke, “friend.”


Whatever “perp” perpetrated this made a big mistake, thought the Caped Crook-catcher. *This made it PERSONAL.*


As personal as losing his parents on that hellish
long-agone night, which was traumatic enough without
this. Tears stung his eyeslits as he wondered, what
would he tell brave Barbara, the dead man’s daughter,
who once dared the perilous rooftops in the shapely
guise of Batgirl before the Joker crippled
and undressed her and took pictures of her leading her
to now seek a new kind of justice on the mean streets
of the Information Superhighway as a contemporary hero
for an up-to-date world? But Fate (or Providence,
if you wish) would give him no more time to dwell upon
this loss. The Batman heard a sound. The sound of
something beautiful but deadly tip-toeing terribly
toward him in the twilight.


Springing limberly to his agile feet, The Batman saw a
shapely, pulchritudinous figure in the doorway,
backlit, filled in with black. He immediately
“pegged” the statuesque newcomer as a female. With
catlike grace, the well-developed “hottie” extended
an arm lit by a glint of moonlight that ricocheted off
of the razor-sharp gemstone she pointed at him as one
would wield a deadly dagger.


The Batman pointed a long, accusing finger at the
magnificently proportioned intruder and exclaimed,
“YOU! You did this! You slayed Jim Gordon!”


The curvaceous Selena Kyle purred evilly and aimed the
Idelson Ruby at the Caped Crusader’s throat…”I
wouldn’t reach for your fantastic gadgets, if I were
you, Batman. Unless it’s one that ISN’T in your
utility belt!” Her green eyes flashed.


The subtle innuendo was lost on the grieving side of
The Batman. The side that was still human. “Selina,
but why are you…”, The Batman paused,” Of course!
The Twin *CAT* Bird diamonds!”


Selina laughed, causing her skin to ripple in her
tight-fitting purple costume, “That’s right, Batman.
I could never resist…”, she looked him over slowly,
“big stones.”


The Batman sneered through his cowl. “You’re like an M&M, Selina. A hard shell on the outside, soft and dark on the inside. You won’t shoot me. You CAN’T. We have too much…history.”


The Felonious Feline quavered, then seemed to melt as
she moved towards him with her arms extended, the heat
of her passion overcoming her lust for greed. “Oh. Oh,
BATMAN.”, she said as she swooned towards the Urban
Warrior.


Suddenly, a dark whispering voice rang out, “Well,
well, well. Ain’t this a pretty picture. Don’t let me
interrupt. I’m just here for the TWIN Cat Bird
diamonds! Course, I wouldn’t mind shooting you TWO,
since my crimes are based on twos!” and from out of
the liquid shadows of the darkened museum came a dark
figure, like a man standing in front of half of a
funhouse mirror. He had twin “45s” aimed at the heart
of the homicidal feline, and also The Batman’s heart
as well. There was an implied threat in those guns.


“Harvey Dent, aka Two-Face, once my former friend and now one of my deadliest foes…” muttered The Dark Knight loudly to himself. Two-Face held the two at bay with his guns and pulled a coin, scarred like his own twisted visage, on one side, from his pocket and began flipping it carelessly, the coin catching the light like some kind of great big metal disk flipping in the sun.


“What do you think, Batman? Should I see how many
lives the pussycat has? Maybe I’ll let the COIN
decide…?”, Harvey “Two-Face” Dent said, still
flipping.


Flip.


Flip.


Each flip could spell D.E.A.T.H. for Selina, and even
though she had just killed The Batman’s best friend
except for his trusted manservant, he couldn’t allow
that to happen.


Flip.


Flip.


The Batman’s brilliant mind was moving quickly,
leaping from one idea to the next like a skilled
decathlete. There seemed to be no way out of this,
with two of his deadliest foes fighting each other and
him. THINK, Bruce, he thought.


Flip.


Flip.


Flexing his clockwork mind, The Batman knew he was
running out of time. Where was his TEAM?! If he had
to, he knew he could nimbly leap the twenty feet to
where “Two-Face” stood darkly, but the danger to
Selina’s sultry form was too great. “The REAL WORLD
isn’t like it is in the comics”, Batman thought.
“Here, life or death can hang on my every move…”


Flip.


Flip.


“Time for my final flip, Batman. You might want to say
goodbye to the pussy, just in case.”, grinned the
malevolent half of “Two-Faces” bifurcated head. The
coin arched gracefully in a up and down motion as
the crescent moon shone down through the skylight and
Batman watched on helplessly, painfully aware of the
beating of Selina’s ample heart as she leaned in close
to him for protection. The coin was rotating
crazily as the “Two-Face” snatched it violently out of
the air and slapped it on the fleshy part of his
wrist, making a sound like a snapping turtle might
make if it was hit with a hammer or another big heavy
object.


It was the scarred side up. “Two-Face” raised his guns and aimed at the heaving, generous chest of Selina Kyle…

END PART ONE!

Note from gail: Woah! You can almost FEEL the
excitement! Unfortunately, Brendan’s parents made him
try out for a sport of his own choosing or they’d sell
his POKEMON CCG collection, and he was unable
to finish the story in time for this column. So, he’s
asked me to ask you dear readers to participate! Who
do YOU feel should be in Batman’s new team? Remember,
it’s a DARK team of heroes…heroes for TODAY! I’m
nominating Blue Devil and Looker, but you can send
your OWN faves, and we’ll tally them up and Brendan
will include them in the conlusion to this
thrill-stuffed story! Mail your suggestions to
gail@comicbookresources.com and DON’T DELAY! Gotham
NEEDS YOUR HELP!




You’ll All Be Sorry! is a satire published by Comic Book Resources, and is not intended maliciously. CBR has invented all names and situations in its stories, except in cases when public figures are being satirized. Any other use of real names is accidental and coincidental, or used as a fictional depiction or personality parody (permitted under Hustler Magazine v. Fallwell, 485 US 46, 108 S.Ct 876, 99 L.Ed.2d 41 (1988)). CBR makes no representation as to the truth or accuracy of the following information.