[NOTE FROM JONAH: Gail is ill with the flu, and was unable to complete Yabs this week (and it was going to be a really GOOD one, too, with dancing and comedy and a bit about Chris Claremont writing the Brady Bunch and then she was going to take some more cheap shots at Todd McFarlane).

However, fortunately for us, we were able to get the brilliant young undiscovered writer Brendan "Nightwing" Hockenberry to finish the Batman fanfiction piece (part one of which ran November 15th, 1999) that left us all hanging since November. Since then, readers have been requesting that we run the conclusion of Brendan's dark vision for DC's Dark Knight. Thanks to all who sent in votes for members of the new Dark Outsiders team. All the suggestions were great, making it really hard to ignore them. And now, on with our tale!


By Brendan "Nightwing" Hockenberry (BHnightwing@Yahoo.com)


THE LEGEND THUS FAR: Keeping his own counsel, The Batman's mutely self-monitored thoughts opine that the world is now a darker place and the old heroes will no longer do. As if to imbue meaningfulness to the Cowled Crime-hater's reverie, a "gangsta" named "Paco" gets off a lucky shot, searing a leaden flesh wound into The Batman's Kevlar-armored forehead. After putting the "homey" and his "posse" away, The Leathern Lawman serves as a silent, solitary sentry outside Gotham City's posh Museum of Gemstones, intuitioning that its exhibit of the Twin Cat Bird Diamonds might attract denizens of Gotham's colorfully attired criminal elite which may owe (or so it oft seems in The Batman's darkest moods) its very existence to the existence of The Batman, as if his own shadowy presence provokes -- dares, even -- the shadows of the underworld to slither into the overworld, there to menace those very same innocents whom The Batman solemnly vowed to serve and protect with his own life's-blood and gadgetry over the graves of his prematurely slain parents on that moonlit night so very, very long ago, but still so fresh in his nimble, tortured mind.

Then Commissioner Gordon is killed by Catwoman, whose incredibly hot frame is in turn menaced by Two-Face, who aims two guns at the twin halves of her heaving chest whilst The Batman watches witfully.

Also, they're inside the museum.

And now, Act One of Part Two. Enjoy. -- B."N" H.


Two-Face's twin index fingers began to apply their grim, unyielding pressure to two triggers, until they were interrupted by a sound from the shadows... the sound of a cryptish laugh echoing off the faceted faces of the gemstones festooning The Museum of Gemstones. It sounded like:







"J-Joker? Is th-th-th-th-that y-you?" muttered the worried, cloven mouth of Two-Face as his two dissimilar eyes darted around the shadows. For, you see, the dread cackle of the Clown Prince of Lawlessness fills all with terror and fear, whether the person or people in question be law-abiding or law-scoffing, sane or messed up.

The laugher laughed another, longer laugh:










"Thanks for the distraction, Joker-baby!" exulted Catwoman as she disarmed her dual-visaged tormentor with a mighty kick where it really, REALLY hurts. Which was his crotch area.

The Batman leapt with tornado-reminiscent force, enwrapping Catwoman's thin, bird-like, twiggish wrists in a gleaming pair of Bat-cuffs with a loud SNIKT! "That's no Joker, Selena! Your perception that it's him is -- bottom line -- as deluded as the pathetic, beclouded values which belie your magnificent form! That laugh you heard belonged to the loose cannon, if you will, of my new team, a fighter who, in contrast to the Joker, has dedicated his madness to justice --

"-- The vigilante called...

"...The Creeper!"

And, as if in answer, from the shadows silently stepped the aforementioned Creeper, backed up by the REST of Batman's new breed of heroic team:

PREACHER, man of the cloth -- with attitude!

ALPHA CENTURION, ill-starred Superman of a parallel hyper-reality!

LUKE SKYWALKER, skilled and confident Jedi master who fights for justice but yearns only to return to his sister, The Princess, and their long, long ago and far, far away Rebellion!

ENEMY ACE, fearless German flying ace with tormented soul a'plenty!

And on the distaff side: SATURN GIRL , ABBY CABLE, and a dynamically debuting New Heroine for This, The New Millennium: MS. TERRIFIC, super-talented scientist/gymnast/rapper grandniece of the original Mr. Terrific!

The Batman smiled. It was going to be a good era.

But his smile was cut short by another laugh. A different laugh. A loud laugh. A piercing laugh. A mirthless laugh. A bird-like laugh. An umbrella-ish laugh. A familiar laugh. An unwelcome laugh. A dangerous laugh.


And along with that multi-faceted laugh the air was stabbed repeatedly by the sickly toxicity of inappropriate cigarette smoke.

"This," quickly thought the man behind The Batman's mask, "harbingers calamity!"


"Let me guess…" spake the grim man/hero named after a small mammal of the order Chiroptera (that means bats), "since the NAME of the diamonds are the Twin Cat BIRD Diamonds, then that can only mean ONE thing. That "wakking" sound is coming from… THE PENGUIN!"

The short bird-y man stepped loudly out of the quiet shadows…"Deuced clever, Batpest! I see that your razor-keened intellect is as keen as ever! Now, won't you do me the honor of allowing me to shoot you in the face? Or we could do this the HARD way…?" said the cold-weather wacko as several of his "goons" stepped grimfully quietly out of the loud shadows!

Jessie Custer, the Baptist Avenger, who was from Texas, stepped forward, lit a cigarette, and said, "Y'all are almost as ugly as ol' split face over there. Now, Batman leads this h'yar team, and we ain't a'gonna let no sawed-off little freak like you muss his cape none. I reckon if we're gonna fight, cowpoke, let's get to 'er! OUTSIDERS ORGANIZE!"

The fearsomely deadly Penguin sputtered and spat, "Oh, you'll pay for that indignity, my fine one-eyed fink! KILL THEM ALL, GOONS!"

Saturn Girl, the powerful mental telepathic mind maid, in her new pink bikini battle-suit, said, "I sense that they are hostile and planning to attack, Batman!" Not for the first time, she noticed that she was wearing a Legion Flight Ring, and thought sadly of her beloved alien teammates in that wonderful time to come in the future, not yet to be lived again, perhaps never!

Suddenly the "goons" bursted forward in attack formation--Batman, momentarily distracted, was pushed out of the window…twelve stories up! "This would be a good day to die, "thought Batman, even though it was at night.

Luke Skywalker, Knight of the Jedi and stranger to this world, still understood the implied danger of gravity…"Batman! Use the Force to save yourself!" he yelled grimly to the darkly-falling Dark Knight Detective.

Batman, still falling, replied, "Although I respect your religious beliefs, Skywalker, I order to you not to worry about me, but INSTEAD go back into battle…Our team needs you and your fantastic Jedi powers, so go back and help them. That's an order, mister! I'll be all right, this sort of thing happens to me all the time. And don't forget, I'm BATMAN. There's no place on my team for disobedience, Skywalker! It's MY way or NO way!"

Back at the battle, Saturn Girl said to Ms. Terrific as she punched a goon, "My new suit is WORKING! The enemies are distracted by all the voluptuous skin I'm showing, which allows me to attack them, and THAT'S why I'm wearing this bikini body armor, as I've stated previously!"

"You GO, Girlfriend!" said the "foxy" Ms. Terrific, displaying her urban roots and athletic prowess.

The Creeper, summoning all the crazed nimbleness of his insanity, leaped at the Catwoman, knocking the still Bat-cuffed feline felon down, "I hear cats always land on their FEET! Well, how about ME landing on a CAT with MY feet? GET it? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"

Luke Skywalker was making short work of several of the Penguin's goons with his trusty Lightsaber, it's powerful humming noise sharply cutting through the silence of the grim battle. Alpha Centurion, using his powers of elasticity, stretched his arms across the room and valiantly struggled with Two-Face, who fought back with surprising guns. Enemy Ace, his German pistol in hand, shot at one of the remaining goons, stoically reflecting on the unnecessary pain of WAR, and wondering if the man he had just killed had a family and if they would miss him, such was the great nobility of the man his friends called, ENEMY ACE!

JUST AT THAT MOMENT! The Gotham Goshawk appeared at the window, his white face glowing darkly in the moonlight as the pain of years of strife suddenly came all at once upon his visage. E'er since that fateful, evil night when his life was taken away by a no-good two-bit crook named Joe Chill in a dark alley after seeing Zorro and having popcorn and his mom's pearl necklace broke. Why did he continue the fight? Perhaps this new team of heroes would be enough. Perhaps they could handle the fight from then on, and at last, the vivacious vigilante could rest and find some peace…? But such was not to be the fate of the man who at all costs would give his life, and gladly.

"BATMAN! LOOK OUT!" yelled the supermodel-like form of Saturn Girl, the telepathic temptress from the future, as the Penguin leapt up to where the exhausted Batman stood, pointing a gun at the Dark Knight's surprised chin!

"I don't care if I go to Arkham Asylum, the madhouse specially-built for Gotham's criminally insane, forever! Wakkk! No clever death traps THIS time, Batman! This time, you die for GOOD! Say goodbye, BATFINK!" said the Wakking criminal genius and bird afficianado, Oswald Cobblepot!


All of the Dark Outsiders turned their battle-weary heads to see Two-face, still holding the smoking guns he used to shoot the Penguin, holding up his "lucky coin." "See, I flipped my two-headed coin, one side of which shows a male profile in all of its handsomeness, while the other shows the same profile but with scars scratched into it. If the handsome side comes up, I am compelled to do goodness, just as when the scarred side triumphs, I am forced to commit behaviors of evil. That is part of my madness, part of my own twisted duality, which is like a warped-mirror reflection of The Batman's own. Duality, I mean. It came up unscarred. I HAD to shoot the Penguin!"

Batman stepped down tenderly and remorsefully. "I know, Harvey. You had to do it. Jessie, call my friend Commissioner Gordon and have him bring some of his boys down here to take care of all these "perps." . And tell him the Penguin won't be terrorizing Gotham with his Penguin-related crime sprees ever again."

The cowl and cape of the Batman showed no emotion as he walked towards his former friend, Harvey Dent, now the vicious killer Two-Face. "Harvey, I purposely let the Penguin get the drop on me. Call it…call it a test. This whole exhibit was staged by my wealthy bachelor friend Bruce Wayne at my request. I wanted to see if you'd do the right thing. And you did, Harvey. You passed the test beautifully. It's a new world, full of new nemesises…and the world needs a new type of hero. Harvey Dent, AKA Two-Face, will YOU be that hero? Will you join us?"

A tear silently rolled down the unscarred side of Two-face's head…"Yes, Br…I mean, yes, BATMAN. I'll join your fight for justice!"

The two good friends clasped hands with buoyed spirits-two different men, yet so very much in contrast.

A smile played frivoulously at the edge of Batman's upper lip. Harvey back on the side of Justice? It seemed almost too risky…could they ever REALLY trust him after all the murders he'd committed? And yet…it WAS a new world, and it did indeed need new heroes. He'd need to keep an eye on Harvey, his wild card, his "loose cannon." "I prefer to keep my friends close and my enemies friends," thought the Kevlared Crusader. Then he said aloud, "Jessie, give the battle cry!"

To which the Priestly Paladin responded, "OUTSIDERS ORGANIZE!"

Two-Face raised his hand in the air and said, "…AND SO SAY WE ALL!"


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