Absolute DC Part 2: Under the Hood by Red-Rum-18
The Joker has escaped from Arkham.
These words ran a cold spike down Bruce Wayne’s spine for hours upon hours now. This mad killer, the most nefarious and infamous of all of The Batman’s enemies that terrorized his home city of Pittsburgh, had escaped from the Arkham Institution almost a day ago. Haunted by what the Clown Prince of Chaos made him do, he refused to let anyone one else into his investigation of where he could possibly be, now. Bruce’s cousin Cassie Kane, also known as Batman’s partner Robin, was angry about this and wanted in to help bring down the Joker together, but Bruce refused to let her join him in order to protect her. The Joker got to Cassie once, when he was working with Hugo Strange and the Cult of Algol, and Bruce refused to let that happen again. In the meantime, Batman did assign a case to Robin that he knows he can trust to her. It was a series of deaths with the teenage victims, heavily shot up, found in the streets for anyone to find. The only connection between the victims is that they had been arrested previously for assaulting homeless people. Robin connected the dots and figured that someone in the homeless community had killed them. Cassie put together an undercover identity named “Shelly Malone”, a homeless runaway from Detroit, to infiltrate the city’s homeless community and see who could be responsible. After school one night, Cassie, as “Shelly”, went to a known homeless-populated area and asked around for locations of any shelters or hobo jungles. Barred from helping in the Joker investigation, Alfred Pennyworth decided to assist Robin’s investigation through a hidden headset and body camera. After talking to a homeless man named Billy, he and “Shelly” were accosted by two teenage punks carrying bats, intent on killing the two homeless people they cornered. Billy pulled out a gun to kill them, but she disarmed him and they ran from the thugs. He thought that he had lost “Shelly” while running, but she actually took the thugs down non-lethally while Billy wasn’t looking. “Shelly” caught up with him and asked Billy where he got the gun, which Alfred identified as military-grade. Billy led her to a large hobo jungle near the docks, which seemingly appears to Cassie as doubling as some kind of militant training base. Billy explained that their boss had armed them and gave them proper combat training so they can defend themselves. The leader of this outfit is named Ghassan Tamid, which Alfred identified as the mercenary known as The Red Hood. Red Hood was planning a bank robbery with his men, now, and “Shelly” was able to discern that much from fast glances, along with the location of the bank that was going to be hit. Unable to drop her undercover disguise, Robin had Batman contacted with the information. Later that night, Red Hood and his men mobilized at the closed bank, blasting down the doors with improvised explosives. As they began drilling into the vault, Batman descended from the rafters to fight them. The Red Hood escaped in the mayhem and retreated back to the homeless camp. As Red Hood came back, he saw that the camp was in flames and his men being killed by masked thugs. Red Hood killed them in retaliation, but was attacked from behind by The Joker himself! He saw what Red Hood had been doing and sought to recruit some of them into his gang, killing those who refused. “Shelly” escaped safely with Billy and disappeared to change into Robin. Robin fought the Joker but was not a match for him, and she was injured by the madman. Then, the Joker grabbed Red Hood, who was injured fighting the madman’s goons, and dragged him into an abandoned building. Batman arrived to help Robin, but she was determined to enter the building to save Red Hood. It was too late, as the building exploded with both inside. Robin pulled the Red Hood’s lifeless body out of the rubble as Batman searched for any sign of the Joker, but there was none. At the end of this, the Joker’s men and those who assisted Red Hood were all arrested, and Tamid’s body was brought to the morgue. Then, when the morgue was empty, the Owlman, member of the Syndicate, entered and injected Tamid’s body with Lazarus, a chemical compound used by the Cult of Algol, to revive Tamid. Owlman left with Tamid in his arms…
* The last name “Malone” for Cassie’s undercover identity came from “Matches Malone”, the undercover identity for Batman in the original comics.
* Tamid will return, but NOT as the Red Hood.