|Detective Comics #661|
|Gallery of Images · Main Discussion|
"City on Fire"Edit
The story picks up where Batman #494 left off, with Joker and Scarecrow having broken into the home of Armand Krol, Gotham's current mayor. The two, knowing the amount of power that Krol holds, intending to force him into making phone calls that would add more chaos the already out-of-control city. After a few not-so-serious suggestions, Joker comes up with a truly cruel idea - he demands that Krol call the president of the firefighters' union and tell him that he was considering docking the firefighters' payroll. Krol vehemently refuses, stating that doing so would more than likely cause the firefighters to strike, but Scarecrow threatens to spray him with fear gas again. Krol reluctantly obeys, not wanting to be put through his fear of snakes again.
Down at the Elmo's Pier amusement park, meanwhile, pyromaniac Garfield Lynns (AKA Firefly) is having the time of his life, setting the entire park on fire and watching the flames "dance". Batman and Robin arrive on the scene, Robin asking if they should leave the situation to the fire department. Batman rejects the idea, stating that the fire department, like every public service in Gotham, is overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of disasters that have sprung up from the recent Arkham breakout. He then states that he is going to take on Firefly alone; Tim, after all, is still sustaining injuries from the bout with Killer Croc . Thanks to the fatigue that Batman has already sustained battling the likes of Mad Hatter , Amygdalda , and Mr. Zsasz , however, Firefly is easily able to triumph over him and escape.
The Dark Knight is barely able to save his own life, and, after a brief debate with Robin, allows the Boy Wonder to take on Firefly instead. The story then cuts to The Ventriloquist, holding a lawyer at gunpoint with the puppets "Duckman" and "Socko". Both puppets demand to know where Scarface  is, to which the lawyer supposes is the evidence room at the precinct where The Ventriloquist had last been arrested. While he (the lawyer) is capable of acquiring the files needed to release Scarface, they need to be signed by a police officer. The Ventriloquist states (through a new police officer puppet called "Chief O' Hara" that this will be no problem.
The story then skips ahead a few hours, showing Batman recuperating inside Wayne Manor. Despite Alfred's warnings, Bruce insists that he is fine, prompting the butler to change the subject to where Robin is. Bruce replies that he is "running down some background for me". Sure enough, Tim has been looking up Garfield Lynns' background all day, but since Lynns has been locked away in Arkham for so long, there is little that any source on the computer can offer. Tim continues searching, and finally finds a lead - Lynns' legal guardian is listed as "St. Evangelina's Home For Boys" - a catholic orphanage. During the night, Tim, as Robin, visits the orphanage, but finds it abandoned. Fortunately, there is still someone there - a lone, blind nun that used to run the place. Tim asks the nun if she remembers Garfield Lynns, and is treated to a pleasant surprise: not only does the nun remember him, but also recalls that he had a sister named Amanda Lynns. Finally given something to work with, Tim turns around to thank the nun, but realizes that while he had his back turned, she had mysteriously vanished.
A brief television newscast marks the state of things around the city: several districts of Gotham have suffered power outages, while other areas continue to be plagued by fires. The anchorman then directs the audience's attention over to a talk show, depicting the host, Link Rambeau, talking with Dr. Simpson Flanders. Like before, Dr. Flanders insists that the escaped Arkham inmates are "victims of society", and that Gotham had sewn the seeds of its own demise - a theory that Rambeau responds to with incredulity. The story then cuts over to The Riddler and his gang, plotting their next crime. Riddler's henchmen are impatient and bored, and wish to carry out the crime right now, but Riddler himself insists on sending out his riddles first. Without proper flair and wit, he explains, breaking the law is no fun at all.
Over at the police station, Amygalda is being brought in by several policemen, and is pistol-whipped unconscious by Bullock. Lieutenant Kitch is furious at Bullock for not following standard procedure, but Bullock, like always, merely ignores him. Bullock then asks Officer Hendricks what he is doing, to which Hendricks responds that he is simply checking the mail that the station has received. At that moment, Lieutenant Newton informs the squad that three men are shooting up Castleland Park with rocket launchers, and that they need to get there on the double. She insists that Hendricks come along as well, prompting the officer to drop the envelope that he is holding - an envelope that The Riddler was seen working on moments earlier. Meanwhile, officers Montonya and Carberry are visiting the home of Amanda Lynns. Amanda tearfully states that she had not seen Garfield in years, even after the breakout had happened, so Montonya asks if she knows why Garfield had burned down St. Elmo's Pier last night.
Back during their childhood, Amanda explains, she and Garfield had been orphans. Several times, people would come by and consider them for adoption, and tell them of the places that they would be taken to once they were part of the family. When these potential foster parents looked into Garfield's delinquent past, however, they would go away, and she and Garfield would never see them again. According to Amanda, Garfield hated them for breaking their promises, and the burning of St. Elmo's Pier was probably him taking his vengeance. Montonya goes on to ask Amanda what other places Garfield had been promised that he could go to, and gets a multitude of answers from Amanda: the zoo, the Majestic Theater, and the Lynnwood Bowling Alley. Outside Amanda's house, Robin is eavesdropping on the conversation - after all, he was the one who had tipped off the police about Garfield's sister in the first place.
Robin relays the list of Firefly's potential targets to Batman (in a middle of a fight with the minor rogue known as The Cavalier) as soon as possible, and once the Dark Knight has beaten Cavalier into submission, he drives off in the Batmobile to follow up on Robin's list. The Lynnwood Bowling Alley is now a parking lot, which could hardly be a target for arson, so Batman heads off to the Majestic Theater (long closed, and by now a furniture warehouse). There, he does indeed find Firefly, who once again attacks him with his flamethrower and attempts to escape. Unlike before, however, Batman is able to grab onto Firefly, and the combined weight of the two men pulls them down, straight toward the blazing inferno beneath them.
The story is continued in Batman #495.