Batman by now is an established vigilante in Gotham City. Captain Gordon has recently succeeded Loeb as Police Commissioner, and is addressing local media stations on his new stature. The media also reflects on the anniversary of the final sighting of Gotham's first vigilante, The Reaper.
Bruce Wayne, Batman's alter ego, in the meantime is visited by an old acquaintance, Leslie Thompkins, the medic who helped to raise him after his parents were murdered, and knows all too well of his double life. She is joined by Judson Caspian, and his daughter Rachel, who gradually develops a romantic infatuation with Bruce Wayne.
It soon comes to light that Judson is really The Reaper, driven to his life by the tragic death of his wife and it takes only one stroll down Gotham to remind Judson of the horrors of crime he thought he had put to rest long ago in his dual identity; he returns to his apartment and dons The Reaper costume. Immediately making an impact and leaving several criminal heavies dead, Batman and The Reaper soon come face to face, but The Reaper's experience and weaponry prove too much for Batman, and he is left bloodied, broken, and forced to flee before he is killed. Upon returning to Wayne Manor, a bandaged, injured Bruce angrilly admits that his best wasn't enough, and that perhaps the only way to confront a killer with his measure of thinking head on is to become that which he loathes the most, prompting him to now bear a firearm, the gun that took the lives of his parents.
Batman's vendetta against The Reaper leads to a falling out with Gordon, whom Batman nearly wounds or kills to prevent him from getting closer to what he considers his prey. Gordon misinterprets this action as Batman following in The Reaper's murderous footsteps, and soon deploys his forces against both Batman and The Reaper. As The Reaper lays waste to Gotham's underworld, various crimelords assemble and discuss ways of defeating him. Batman eventually intervenes in the meetings, and proposes they join forces against The Reaper. The crimelords agree, but only if Batman cooperates with a hand picked agent of their choosing; that individual is Joe Chill, the man who shot Thomas and Martha Wayne. Knowing his reason for being is working alongside him, Batman schemes to take Chill's life once The Reaper is disposed of, whilst at the same time he lays the groundwork for his life after Batman, asking Rachel not to convert to a nunnery and marry him. She accepts.
There is a battle which kills most of the underworld connections tied to Batman and Chill, as well as helping convince Gordon that Batman is not connected to The Reaper in his crimes. The Reaper is presumed dead, Batman and Chill escape separately, but meet up later at night at Batman's insistence. Batman takes Chill to a familiar alley... the alley where Chill took the lives of the Waynes. Batman reveals his identity to the shocked Chill and taunts him with the gun he used on them. Chill, stunned, remains composed, convinced that Batman will not pull the trigger; before Bruce can find out, The Reaper re-emerges and kills Chill point blank with a gunshot. Now knowing Bruce's identity, The Reaper beckons Batman to a final confrontation in the frameworks of the under-construction Wayne Foundation. There Batman and The Reaper fight to a standstill, and Batman eventually discovers The Reaper is Judson before he jumps and kills himself.
Bruce returns to Rachel, who has heard the news from television. Her path is now clear: Judson was her father, and she must atone for his sins. She produces her nun dressings and calls off the engagement. Bruce returns to prowl Gotham's streets as its sole vigilante for the present.