The Direct Action wiki last edited by Deadcool on 12/29/14 06:43AM View full history

Captured, drugged, his identity as Batman revealed, Bruce Wayne fights a duel of wills with the demon Biis. Meanwhile, to track Biis across Europe, an uneasy alliance is born...between Azrael and Alfred!

Continued from last issue.

Bruce and Alfred arrive at the hospital just in time to witness the un-costumed and bullet-riddled Azrael falling out of the hospital window, and immediately rush to his aid. Bruce recognizes the youngster, and leaves Alfred behind to minister to him, while he himself plans to deal with the one responsible for the gunshots. The billionaire rushes into the hospital through the window that Azrael fell through without changing into his Batman outfit, noting that there are far too many witnesses around, and also that no one around knows of Bruce Wayne's persona as an air-headed playboy anyhow.

Right as Bruce makes it into the hospital, LeHah readies himself to kill Nomoz. His weapon jams at that moment, however, and the deranged arms dealer takes it as an order from Biis for him to retreat. Bruce pursues the fleeing LeHah, despite Nomoz (who insists that this is no business of his) attempting to trip him, and eventually comes to the hospital's storage room. LeHah, standing upon a tall shelf laden with pharmaceutical drugs, attempts to ambush Bruce by throwing a large jar of sedative at him. The ploy works, and Bruce is overcome enough by the fumes from the shattered jar to be unable to react quickly enough when LeHah pushes the entire shelf at him. The billionaire is crushed beneath the shelf and its dozens of chemicals, but musters enough willpower to emerge from the wreckage and charge LeHah.

Ultimately, however, the drug-weakened Bruce proves no match for LeHah, who easily overpowers him and knocks him into semi-unconsciousness. The deranged arms dealer than drags Bruce out of the hospital and into the ambulance that he himself had arrived at the hospital in, and, as he drives away, spots Alfred and Nomoz standing over Azrael's body. Before he can react, Bruce regains consciousness and attempts to escape, but LeHah subdues him again, overpowers Alfred when the Englishman attempts to assist his master, and drives off with the once-again unconscious billionaire. LeHah does not stop driving until he and his "passenger" are miles into the countryside, upon which point he awakens Bruce, injects him with a truth serum, and gloats over just how hopeless Bruce's situation is.

In the meantime, Alfred and Nomoz (with the Azrael in tow) drive toward another of the Order's safe houses, the dwarf holding a dagger at the throat of the butler out of suspicion. Alfred's suggestion that Azrael be given medical attention is shot down, upon which point he attempts to strike up a temporary alliance with Nomoz - the Order's members, he believes, will prove to be a great help in finding his master. Seconds later, Azrael reveals that he is alive - when LeHah had shot him, the gym bag containing the Azrael costume had been directly between his body and the bullets. The bulletproof fabric, folded many times over inside the bag, had shielded him from the bullets, preventing any of them from even penetrating his skin.

LeHah, meanwhile, is busy tormenting a helpless Bruce at the same hotel where he had first donned his costume, stating that he knows who Bruce Wayne is, and has discovered his dual identity as Batman by finding the costume beneath Bruce's street clothes. LeHah explains to Bruce why he had kept the latter alive: he plans to extract every bit of information that he can from Bruce, and take control of Wayne Enterprises and all of its wealth. Many miles away, Bruce's would-be rescue party faces dissension - namely, the fact that Nomoz is still not sufficiently convinced that Alfred should not be killed for knowing too much. Azrael protests the taking of an innocent life, but Alfred has a far better bargaining chip - he, after all, is in the employment of the World's Greatest Detective, a man who would easily be able to track down LeHah.

Even as the three plan their next move, LeHah has already entered the home of another of the Order's members, whom he slays with ease. LeHah then continues his interrogation of Bruce, intending to separate him from his many secrets. Bruce, however, calls upon the dozens of mind-control techniques he had learned during his youth - techniques he had used to discipline his mind in preparation for becoming the Batman - to resist the truth serum, much to his captor's fury. An enraged LeHah informs Bruce that if the latter possesses no useful information, he will be killed sooner than later.

Alfred, Nomoz, and Azrael learn of the LeHah's latest murder, and Azrael pieces together a pattern in LeHah's killings (much to displeasure of Nomoz, who insists that Azrael is meant to avenge, not think). The deranged arms dealer is apparently moving westward across Europe - the hospital murder had taken place in Geneva, Switzerland, and the second murder in Calais, France. Nomoz informs the party that, if this pattern hold true, then the next victim will be an Order member named Harcourt who lives in the English countryside, just outside of London.

Once again, LeHah proves quicker than the three, and arrives at Harcourt's estate sooner than they do. Harcourt blithely invites LeHah into his greenhouse, unaware of his true intentions, and LeHah dons Batman's cowl with a feral grin as soon as the old man's back is turned. In the meantime, Alfred's party arrives at the gates of Harcourt's estate, but are denied access by the guards. As Alfred unsuccessfully tries to bargain with the guards, Azrael dons his full garb and savagely subdues them, finally adopting the tone and role his father once had.

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