Batman first appears standing atop a roof overlooking Gotham, noting the silence and lack of crime. Batman notes in an internal monologue that this is the Gotham he has "Always dreamed of," but calls it a "Nightmare. A perversion." He calls the silence of the city, the "Silence of fear." He watches soldiers of the Regime march in the streets below and gazes up at the symbol of the world's new dictator: The symbol of the House of El, Superman's emblem.
Jumping back five years into the past, and Batman is in Metropolis one night, beating up some crooks when Superman appears, asking him why he's in his city. Batman replies that he's heading for S.T.A.R. Labs, and that something sensitive had been taken. Superman replies, "You could have called." The Man of Steel flies to a rooftop, beckoning Batman to follow when he's done with the crooks.
Later, with Superman flying in the air while Batman crouches on a rooftop, Clark tries to tell Bruce his good news but Batman easily figures it out and interrupts him: "Lois is pregnant." Superman is shocked and Batman explains he figured it out by monitoring his physical reactions, and says the last time he was like this, "You were facing Doomsday. And I doubt it's Doomsday-You're grinning like an idiot."
Superman does manage to get the drop on Batman by asking him to be the godfather, successfully surprising the Dark Knight. The two friends share a moment with Bruce smiling when he hears Clark going on about how he heard his child's heartbeat.
The next morning Batman is investigating the crime scene in S.T.A.R, Labs, questioning the scientists about what was stolen. They reply that only a small amount of equipment was stolen, and that it was 'Nothing significant." Batman however interjects that they were working with kryptonite. When the scientists try to justify their reasons, and insist they're "not monsters", Batman looks towards several bodies of scientists, each bearing a twisted grin on their pale faces and that the kryptonite is in the hands of monsters now.
Batman begins to order the lab to be locked down and that no one leaves when Superman suddenly rushes in. Superman is in a panic, saying he "Can't see her. I can't see Lois!" Batman calmly reminds him they are not alone and starts to suggest that they leave when Superman hands him a bloody joker playing card and that "He has her." Batman realizes how serious the situation has become and immediately sends a priority call to all members of the Justice League, calling as many heroes as possible to Metropolis. While some members of the League are confused as to why they have to look for one woman, the rest of them know who Lois is and instantly head for the city.
Batman next calls the Flash and has him search every inch of the city Superman couldn't see from above. The Flash does so in an instant and when he returns he quickly takes Bruce and himself back to Star Labs and shows him the body of the Scarecrow, his face also twisted into a grin. Batman was then contacted by Wonder Woman who has found a lead and the location of the Joker and Harley Quinn. The insane duo had hijacked a nuclear submarine and taken Lois aboard it.
Superman quickly scuttles the sub onto dry land and enters it, but suddenly and seemingly tackles Doomsday into the sky. The Joker and Harley attempt to escape but are subdued by Green Lantern and Wonder Woman. Batman and Flash arrive a second later, with the Joker excited at the sight of his long time nemesis and amused by the fact the Flash carried him there, mocking Batman for it. Batman investigates the sub, noting it is filled with Scarecrow's fear toxin.
When he can't find Lois, he demands her location from the Joker and advises Wonder Woman against using her Lasso of Truth on the Joker. The Clown Prince of Crime continues to mock the Dark Knight, saying he knows what's going and that he just doesn't "want to look at it too hard." When Batman demands to know what he did to her, with the Joker responding that he operated on her, and that Lois is 'the trigger.' Batman orders Flash to check the sub for its warhead but the Joker tells him not to bother and that when Lois' heart stops, Metropolis stops too.
Batman is momentarily confused but soon puts the entire situation together, realizing the Joker stole the kryptonite and laced the Scarecrow's fear toxin with it so it would infect Superman. Understanding the truth of the Joker's plan, Batman contacts Superman and tells him to stop as what he's seeing isn't real. The Joker then asks Batman if he knew Lois was pregnant, prompting the Dark Knight to punch the Joker across the jaw in a fury. Batman screams at Clark: "It's Lois!"
But it is too late and Metropolis is destroyed.
Later, Batman has Joker in an interrogation room in Gotham, demanding to know why Joker went so far as to kill Lois, her and Superman's child, and destroy his city. The Joker only replies that he didn't need a reason and compares it to when he beat a puppy to death with a kitten. Batman throttles Joker, saying, "This has always been about us. Why did you do this to him?"
The Joker's only response is that he was tired of losing to Batman and that he wanted to try it "On easy." The Joker then asks Batman if someone had taken it all from him once and that's why he became what he is today. He goes on to ask what he thinks Superman will become after this tragedy. Batman firmly replies, "There are some things even you can't corrupt, Joker."
Joker only laughs and asks Batman if he thinks his friend will be the same after. Batman is firm in his belief and calls Superman "One of the best men I know." Joker is still unconvinced. Suddenly, Superman bursts in and shoves Batman away from the Joker. Batman watches on in horror as Superman impales a laughing Joker through the chest with his entire arm.
Insurgency Batman is largely absent for several days and a few chapters, and ignores Wonder Woman's summons to the Justice League's Watchtower to find Superman's parents after they were kidnapped by Mirror Master under secret orders from the U.S Government. The Dark Knight directly confronts the President himself, calling his plan "Incredibly stupid." He tells the President not to touch a man's parents and not to call out. The President says he thought it couldn't be traced back to him. Batman reveals he was right, but he was acting on a hunch and that his hunch was just confirmed.
The President asks if Batman will tell the League, which the Dark Knight says he will not, but begins to warn the president that his fellow heroes may work it out like he did. The President is convinced that even if they did, they wouldn't dare try anything but Batman heatedly calls the President naive and that he would just disappear. "The police wouldn't think to look for your body on Saturn!"
Batman goes on to say that the President's plan failed and only served to strengthen Superman's resolve and unite several superheroes to his side. The President notes Batman's use of the term "Them, and not we." The President guesses Batman understands the true depth of the situation and what Superman is capable of doing to the world with all his power. Batman replies, "He is trying to bring about peace." The President asks how Superman will keep that peace, and reminds Batman that power corrupts. Batman vanishes, leaving the President to contemplate.
Batman is next seen confronted by Superman in the Batcave. The Man of Steel demands to know why Batman wasn't there to help the heroes find his parents. Batman replies that he was "Doing what needed to be done." This shocks Superman, who knows Bruce understands this more than anyone. Bruce tells Clark he has to stop what he's doing. Superman is shocked, rationalizing his actions by saying he's saved lives and prevented the deaths of millions of innocents. Batman's only response is, "You're scaring them."
Superman screams, "GOOD!" and rips of Bruce's mask and rants about how he is glad they are too scared to keep killing each other. He says Batman is the one who taught him this. Bruce tries to get a word in, but Superman goes on, saying Batman would do exactly what he's doing if he had experienced what Clark had and had his powers. Batman's only response is, "You killed a man, Clark."
Superman justifies his actions and condemns Batman for having allowed him to live, asking him if he felt guilty and responsible for allowing the Joker to live. Bruce lowers his head and responds, "Every time." He goes on to say that superhumans don't get to decide who lives and dies. Superman continues to justify that his action saved millions of lives at the cost of one.
Batman replies that, "That's how justification works. But once you justify something once, you can do it again and again. It becomes easier." Superman suddenly accuses Batman of not mourning the destruction of Metropolis, but for the Joker, and dares to suggest that he is angry with Superman for having "taken" the Joker from him. Batman responds, "You know that's not true." Clark becomes angrier, roaring at Batman for allowing the Joker to live and destroy millions of lives, and vents his sorrows over losing Lois and their child.
Superman suddenly switches gears, accusing Batman of neglecting Dick and Damian and not consoling them for friends lost in Metropolis. When Superman demands to know what Bruce's excuse is for not being a father to them, Batman loses his cool and punches Clark across the jaw, only serving to injure himself. After Superman checks the injury and tells him not to punch anything for a few weeks, the Batcomputer suddenly gives off an alarm, and Batman fills Superman on the situation in the Pacific Ocean, specifically the battle between Atlantis and the Justice League.
Superman begins to leave, but Bruce asks Clark to wait. He tells him, "You can't put yourself above us, Clark. You're right. I'm not saying I'd act differently if I had your abilities. I'm not saying I wouldn't try to impose peace. But you...You're a better man than I am." Clark makes one last offer to Bruce to come with him, but Batman declines and apologizes. Superman simply leaves without a word.
Batman quickly syncs with the Justice League's communications and hacks into Atlantis' channel to contact Aquaman, warning him of Superman's approach and current emotional state. He advises Arthur to stop, as there is no telling what Superman may do in response to his attack on the League. Batman monitors Superman and Aquaman's confrontation, only telling Arthur to agree to Superman's demand of calling off the Kraken. Batman becomes panicked however, when he listens to Aquaman's provoking ultimatum and show of power by having his armies appear at several ports and bridges around the world. Bruce calls Arthur an idiot, telling him Superman will not respond to such demands. Indeed, Superman's response to Arthur's challenge is to lift Atlantis from the bottom of the sea and place it in the Sahara.
Batman attempts to reason with Superman, contacting him over communicator, but Superman cuts him off and reveals he could hear Batman as he spoke to Aquaman, and then has Cyborg remove Batman from their communications. Bruce only has time for one last protest before he is cut off from the Justice League, officially ousted by Superman.
Though removed from the League and his communication access revoked, Batman having created the communications, un-revokes it to contact the Flash after the Scarlet Speedster witnesses Galaxor's brutal defeat in Australia after he attempted to force Superman and Wonder Woman to leave as they broke up a civilian protest. Though Barry had left the scene to find Galaxor an ambulance, Bruce informs him one is on its way and instead directs him to the Advanced Sciences and Genetic Testing Laboratory in Canberra.
When Flash asks why, Batman doesn't answer, only replying, "By the time I get done convincing you -And I will convince you- you could already be there." Indeed, Barry had arrived at the lab just as Batman had given him directions and when he asks why he is there, Bruce only responds, "Because you're on the wrong side of this and I haven't given up on you."
At the lab, Barry learns Galaxor was a huge fan of the Justice League and had even been in a picture with Barry himself. Bruce then asks Barry, "How do you think he felt in that moment, Barry? When his idols broke him?" Batman never receives an answer as the Flash had ditched his communicator and fled.
Some time later, Batman is seen standing over a bloody body, his expression one of total shock and horror, the memories of the night his parents died echoing in his mind. Bruce can only think, "He's gone. I'm abandoned again. My son is dead."
Hours earlier, Batman, Nightwing and Robin are watching a news broadcast in the Batcave when Two-Face interrupts, though the madman is quickly and easily subdued by Superman's sudden arrival. However the Man of Steel suddenly announces his intentions to remove the criminally dangerous maniacs from Arkham Asylum so that they may no longer harm the people of Gotham. Batman orders the Bat-Plane to be ready, but as he and his proteges dash for it, his son Damian suddenly refuses to help his father unless they agree to help Superman destroy Arkham and its patients.
Deciding he doesn't have time to argue with his rebellious son, Bruce and Dick leave in the plane leaving Damian fuming in the cave. As Batman and Nightwing fly to Arkham, Dick asks if Bruce understands Damian's point. Batman is silent, which annoys his oldest partner, though he finally admits that Dick was never as stubborn as Damian and asking him if he understands why they can't allow Superman and the Justice League to do this. Dick understands and wants to help Bruce protect the criminals from the heroes.
At the Asylum, Batman and Nightwing appear before Cyborg, Wonder Woman and Superman, the Dark Knight proclaiming that they don't get to decide the fates of Arkham's patients. But to Bruce's horror, he sees his son Damian standing between Superman and Wonder Woman, having chosen them over his father.
Batman is silent, only watching as Nightwing argues with Robin, who justifies his actions while pointing out that both Batman and Nightwing are standing by the criminals. When Superman makes it clear he will not be stopped, Batman only says that he should not be here at all. This prompts a disturbing response from the killer Zsasz, and Batman furiously demands Wonder Woman not to open his cell, only for Zsasz to disappear. Batman quickly realizes the Flash is the one who did this and after Mad Hatter vanishes as well, he demands to know where Superman is having the League take them.
Superman only replies that it is a secure facility where the villains will never be able to harm anyone again. When Cyborg attempts to open the Riddler's cell next, Batman gives him a single warning before activating a button on his belt that causes Cyborg to begin malfunctioning. As Cyborg writhes on the ground in pain, the League all demand Batman to stop, though he makes no move to deactivate the attack on Cyborg. Nightwing instead does and attempts to calm everyone down. As Cyborg recovers, he realizes that the virus that attacked his systems was implanted on the day he met Batman. Cyborg moves to attack the Dark Knight but is stopped by an arrow from Green Arrow.
When Batman asks if Arrow is with the League, he replies that he is here to admit someone. Just then Harley Quinn's voice can be heard over the Asylum's loudspeakers as the inmates are released, prompted by Quinn to attack the League. As the Asylum begins to rumble ominously, Batman realizes she has deactivated the dampeners in the basement, just as Killer Croc suddenly tackles him and Solomon Grundy bursts from the floor and grabs Robin, dragging him back under. Batman can do nothing to save his son but watch in horror as he dragged under the floor.
Batman is held down by Killer Croc and Calendar Man as the Riddler looms over him with a large rock, Croc urging him to cave the Dark Knight's skull in. Riddler hesitates because he wants to think of an appropriate riddle, allowing Green Arrow to hit him with a boxing glove arrow, giving Batman the opening to headbutt Croc and break free from his grasp, calling Robin's name as he does. Batman follows after his son and ward just as Superman dispatches Grundy. When he asks Damian if he is okay, Nightwing assures him Robin had it under control.
Batman orders the two to go back up and return the inmates to their cells. Though Robin tries to protest, Batman snaps at him not to argue. When Nightwing asks what he is going to do, Batman pulls out two small explosives and replies that he's taking Grundy down before he brings the entire Asylum down. Though Nightwing thinks Grundy is taken care of, the Dark Knight knows otherwise as the zombie rises back up, missing his hand and bearing a gaping hole in his chest but still very much un-alive.
Batman orders the two to go before charging Grundy and jumping over him, attaching the explosives to his head and detonating them, decapitating Grundy and finally defeating him. Superman compliments his work though Batman insists they return Grundy to his cell and reactivate the dampeners that subdue him. Batman is next seen rising out of the hole Grundy made alongside Wonder Woman, Superman and the Flash. As the Man of Steel orders the inmates to cease and return to their cells, Batman spots Robin hunched over Nightwing. Robin looks to his father with a tear stained face and pleads for forgiveness.
Batman's eyes widen in horror as he demands to know what Robin has done, and the Dark Knight loses his composure for the first time as he again demands, "What did you do?!" before shoving his own son away from Nightwing's body. Batman can only helplessly reach out to Dick's still form as he becomes overwhelmed by his memories of his parents' death. With both heroes and even the inmates of Arkham looking on solemnly, Batman carries Nightwing's body out of Arkham and into the rainy night, his expression numb as he thinks, "He's gone. I'm abandoned again. My son is dead."
Batman is seen furiously beating a training post to the point of his knuckles bleeding. Selina Kyle arrives to comfort him and let him grieve in her arms.
Batman spends a week recovering from Dick's death before he is contacted via the Bat signal. He and Catwoman head for the Gotham police station, with Bruce telling a hesitant Selina, "If he has a problem with you, it's his problem." The two zip-line to the station, with Batman greeting who he thinks is Commissioner Gordon, but is in fact the President of the United States and several secret service agents.
Batman makes it clear he doesn't like surprises and the President apologizes, knowing no other way to reach him. The President wishes to speak to Batman in private but Batman makes it clear he will only speak if Catwoman stays and defends her criminal status while questioning the President's own ethics when he points out her criminal status.
The President leads Batman to a more secure location and offers his condolences for Batman's recent loss. The Dark Knight only glares ahead and refuses to respond. Once the three are in the secured meeting room, the President explains what Superman has done along with the League, ranging from forced peace between Israel and Palistani to the other heroes defending other nations. Though Catwoman questions how this is bad, the President asks Batman if he understands the true depth of Superman's goals.
Batman does indeed understand. "You can't just stop war. The reason for the fighting is still there. The religion, the land disputes, the ancient feuds. The peace needs to be enforced. And someone needs to enforce it."
Batman understands why the President came to him: "You think Superman will take over the world and you want me to help you stop him." The President asks if he can do it, and while Batman thinks he can, he only will if it comes to that. Catwoman then makes it clear what all the President must do to help people feel the need to stop supporting Superman's actions, revealing they knew he would contact them and only acted surprised.
Batman also reveals he voted for him, which makes the President attempt a joke, though Batman is less than amused. After Catwoman explains what the President must do and clarifies that she and Batman are asking him, not telling him unlike Superman, the President gives Catwoman a folder of files on heroes who have yet to side with Superman for various reasons.
Batman reveals, "I have my own files," which doesn't surprise the President. Batman and Catwoman then split up to recruit each hero in the folder.
While Catwoman is in Starling City, Batman meets with Black Lightning in Washington, learns of his part in finding new homes for Metropolis's survivors and after promising to help him in his endeavor, tells him, "I need Black Lightning."
Later, Batman converses with a shadowed individual who he thanks for his support but asks to remain hidden for the time being. The figure agrees and Batman is next seen greeting the recruited heroes: Aquaman, Batwoman, Black Canary, Black Lightning, Captain Atom, Green Arrow and Huntress. He thanks them for joining, though Ollie makes it clear he's agreed to nothing, and only come to listen.
As they all sit down to discuss, Batman asks if they know why he called them there, with Captain Atom asking what their plan of attack is against Superman's growing regime.
Batman is briefly seen discussing with his unknown recruit of Bruce's correct deduction of the source of the distress signal from Metropolis's ruins as Luthor's survival thanks to a speedster he had on his payroll. When Batman asks what happened to the speedster, he learns she died attempting to save lives but wasn't fast enough. When the shadowed figure points out Wonder Woman almost noticed him, Batman warns the figure of Diana's strange behavior before asking for Luthor's location and learns he is on the Watchtower.
Batman watches Hawkgirl attempt to kidnap a world leader, confirming to someone over his radio that they were right. Catwoman then asks him if he's ready and Batman gives the word to go. His team then strikes, with Captain Atom saving the world leader and Black Lightning and Huntress then working together to knock out Hawkgirl, allowing them to capture her.
Later, Batman and Catwoman observe Hawkgirl, with Catwoman telling Bruce his intelligence was correct. Batman only responds, "So it seems." When Catwoman asks him how he knew what Hawkgirl was going to do, he replies, "I can't say."
Catwoman tries to press the issue but Batman ignores her, so she asks him if he's going to keep Hawkgirl forever, calling it unheroic. Batman explains that he only needs Hawkgirl for a week. When Catwoman reminds him that the League will look for her, Batman disagrees and explains they don't even know she's missing.
Batman sees Luthor's press conference from Paris through the Batcomputer, with Selina and Alfred by his side.
Batman is the first to realize the Parademons are launching a full planetary invasion, and realizing Kalibak's forces are attacking the most populated cities across the planet, with Gotham next. He orders his gathered Insurgents to follow him into the city, ignoring Catwoman's complaints but pauses to listen to Black Canary's concerns and reasoning that they will need Superman and the Justice League's help.
Batman fights with Batwoman against the invading Parademons in Gotham, but he has taken and beating and more are coming. Batwoman cries out to him but Bruce urges her to keep fighting. Batman is shocked when the Parademons are suddenly destroyed, reduced to ash that rains down on the city. Batman realizes it was Superman and utters a horrified, "No..."
Sometime after the invasion, Catwoman informs Batman that people all over the world are chanting Superman's name and hailing him as a savior. Bruce can only focus on the fact that Clark resorted to killing the entire invasion force. Batman later calls a meeting between all his Insurgents and informs them that there is now no coming back for Superman.
Huntress argues against this, saying Superman saved lives though Batman reminds her he slaughtered thousands of Parademons to do so. Huntress is angered by this, reminding him that Superman is a hero in the eyes of everyone else and that he even saved Green Arrow and Black Canary's lives. Huntress inadvertently reveals Batman's identity when she blurts out his real name in front of everyone.
This further angers her and she attempts to leave, but Catwoman calls her back and convinces Bruce to tell her Superman's plan. Batman reveals to his team that Lex Luthor and Superman are working together to create a personal super-powered army. When Black Lightning questions him on how he knows this, Bruce refuses to say, which again prompts Huntress to ask how they can trust him if he refuses to trust them.
Agreeing with her, Batman takes off his cowl, revealing his identity as Bruce Wayne to his team, but Batwoman suddenly shouts that they have trouble. Batman realizes the Superman cultists are acting up again. Batman orders his team to head out, telling Captain Atom to go ahead of them.
Along the way, Batman explains that the cult worships Superman due to his recent crusade against crime, the cult has followed his lead and has been murdering small time criminals and that now because of Apokolips, they have grown in number. When the Insurgents arrive, Batman and his team battle the cultists after they refuse to listen to them and leave, though the battle ends as quickly as it begun when Superman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern arrive.
As Wonder Woman orders the cultists to disperse and Batman's team to leave, the Dark Knight and Man of Steel glare each other down, with Catwoman ultimately convincing him to leave.
Batman returns to the Batcave in the Batmobile and is surprised to see his son with Alfred, quickly demanding to know why he's there. Damian starts to leave and Bruce is content with letting him go, but after some forced encouragement from Alfred, Batman calls Damian back and tells him he wants to talk.
When his son demands to know why he just left him at Arkham, Batman's only reply is that "You chose to stand against me." Damian insists his father is in the wrong and that Superman is right this time, calling Batman too full of himself to see that, with the Dark Knight calmly saying that this is not about him.
Damian then goes on a tirade about how it's always been about him and his personal pain and tragedy, as well as the impossible standards he sets. Batman doesn't respond to his son's rage but is horrified when Damian strikes Alfred away from him after trying to calm the boy. Enraged, Bruce moves towards his son but is shoved into the giant penny in the cave, knocking it over and threatening to crush him, though he is saved by Hawkgirl.
Hawkgirl attempts to leave with Damian but Batman orders her to stay. This confuses Damian but allows him to deduce Hawkgirl's true identity as Batman's spy and secret collaborator in the League, the Martian Manhunter, and Damian exposes the martian with an incendiary grenade. Batman quickly checks on J'onn before chasing after his son, only to curse as he realizes he has escaped and will soon warn the League.
Batman sees Superman's broadcast to the world on the Batcomputer revealing to them his actions involving Hawkgirl's kidnapping and replacement with Martian Manhunter and so Superman declares in response he will now take Batman's anonymity. Whispering, "Damn you, Clark." Batman activates the Icarus Protocol on the Batcomputer, instantly shutting down the transmission and knocking the Justice League's Watchtower out of orbit. Batman attempts to head off an instigate an emergency plan to protect his identity but is unable to prevent Cyborg from placing his identity out on the internet, exposing him.
Alfred later arrives down in the cave to inform him of the news copters circling the mansion above. Batman apologizes to Alfred for the coming hardships but Alfred is unfazed, having prepared for the day and gives Bruce a list of items to take in the event he had to leave the mansion in a hurry. Bruce urges Alfred to distance himself from him but Alfred writes this off and reminds him that his name at the top of the list.
Sometime later, Bruce releases Hawkgirl allowing her to return to the Justice League and switches places with Martian Manhunter before Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and Flash arrive outside his cave. Observing from a rooftop in Gotham, Batman then sees Superman execute Martian Manhunter with his heat vision after Manhunter attempts to kill Diana and watches the League leave.
Batman calls the President of the United States in the dead of night on the man's private cell, informing him of a 'situation' and requesting a distraction.
Afterwards, he calls all members of his Insurgency to a meeting. Black Lightning is upset over finding out that Hawkgirl had been kidnapped and replaced by the Martian Manhunter to spy on the League, with several others likewise in agreement and uncomfortable that Bruce never told them J'onn was part of the team. Batman then informs them of J'onn's death at Superman's hand, shocking all present. Batman then reveals that he received an encrypted message from someone in the League the previous night.
When Catwoman asks what the message was, the Dark Knight reveals that Superman and Luthor have completed their super-soldier technology and that the pills are being manufactured in Superman's Fortress of Solitude. Though Green Arrow is skeptical, Batman firmly believes that obtaining the pills is the only way to tip the balance of power in their favor and may be the only way to secure the future of Earth.
Batman receives a message and learns his 'distraction' has begun- U.S. Warships invading Korean waters to keep the League occupied. Batman calls Captain Atom, Catwoman and Black Canary to follow him to the teleporter to the North Pole, but Green Arrow argues with him, insisting he come along. Reluctantly, Batman decides to take him along.
Once at the North Pole, Batman sends Captain Atom to fly ahead with Catwoman to reach the Fortress first so she can unlock the main entrance. Catwoman succeeds and Atom pulls the door open, staying outside on Batman's orders in case Superman arrives. Batman is shocked however when he sees Clark's parents inside the Fortress. Jonathan Kent advises him to leave and Batman agrees, understanding that Superman's psychological state is too delicate for this. Unfortunately, Batman's distraction fails and Superman arrives in short order before he can warn Captain Atom, the Man of Steel enraged as he grips Atom by the neck.
Batman stands his ground between Superman and his allies, though Captain Atom is able to recover and engage the Man of Steel in battle. Their fight causes the entrance to the Fortress to collapse, trapping Green Arrow inside with Superman's parents. When Dinah prepares to unleash her Canary Cry, Batman orders her not too, saying the structure could further collapse.
The Dark Knight then informs Green Arrow of a tracker he hid in his hood and urges him to keep safe and look for another exit before promising to return once Superman has left.
Batman waits by the teleporter alongside Catwoman and Black Canary as they wait for Ollie. Batman's tracer picks up the signal of Ollie's tracker and they rush to the location. But all they find is a single arrow with the tracker and one of the nanotech pills. Dinah hands Bruce the pill, telling him Ollie saved the day. Batman can only agree, and suggests waiting longer, but Dinah walks away, understanding Ollie will not be coming back.
Batman, Catwoman and Black Canary return to their base, with a silent and solemn Dark Knight placing the recovered pill on the table after Batwoman asks if they managed to recover the tech. After Huntress asks about Captain Atom and Green Arrow, upsetting Dinah, Black Lightning looks to Batman and asks what happened.
Picking up the pill, the Dark Knight explains grimly, "Superman is no longer the man we knew. He's gone." Declaring they're out of time, he tells the gathered Insurgents to find a place to hide, believing the Man of Steel to soon be coming for them all. Batman moves towards the teleporter and Batwoman asks him where he is going.
Batman replies "The Cave." He knows his computer is their best chance of analyzing the pill and discovering what its made of to allow them to synthesize it, believing the pill is their only chance of standing against Superman and his followers. A horrified Catwoman chases after him, telling him Superman will be coming for him and that the Cave will be the first place he looks. A resigned Batman can only respond with, "I know."
Bruce tries to explain to Selina he just needs to buy time for the computer to complete the analysis, though Catwoman uses this to argue that his team and her could buy him all the time he needs. The Dark Knight is silent as Selina tells him he would be out of his mind to think she would let him go alone. Batman looks away, rationalizing that he would stand a better chance against Superman if he didn't have to worry about them, but Selina tells him to shut before passionately pleading with him to let her help him.
Moved, and knowing he may never see her again, Bruce suddenly kisses Selina before apologizing to her and knocking her out with a gas from an aerosol can. Catching her limp body, he hands her over to Huntress, who reminds him that Selina will most likely not forgive him for this. He knows but rationalizes "She can be pissed off and alive." Going back to the teleporter, Batman urges his allies to hide and wait for him to contact them, if his plan works.
Batman places the pill on a scanner on the Batcomputer, which begins the slow process of analyzing its chemical makeup, when he is contacted by an unknown individual who hacked into the Batcomputer. Shocked, Batman demands to know who it is but the unknown person only warns him that Superman is coming and that he needs to leave. The Dark Knight looks towards the scanning bar, and seeing that it is no where near ready, tells the person he can't.
The person screams "HE'S COMING!" Batman disagrees, "No. He's not." The transmission cuts as Superman appears behind him, with Bruce murmuring, "He's here." Superman rants at his former friend about how he believed he had removed all of Gotham's madmen but now realizes he left the original and that he's like all his 'insane reflections' in that he would watch the world burn.
Turning his back on the Man of Steel, Batman tells him, "You're delusional, Clark." This enrages Superman, who snatches Batman by his cape and lifts him into the air, warning him to watch his words. Bruce asks Clark why he's here and Superman tells him he's come to put an end to their feud.
Bruce disagrees. "If you wanted to kill me, I'd be dead. You didn't have to face me. You could have used your heat vision and lobotomized me from space." Batman suddenly asks if the blood Clark is covered in is Ollie's. Superman hesitates and the Dark Knight reminds him that Ollie was their most ethical and compassionate friend, before daring him to try and justify his death to Dinah.
Bruce then tells Clark, "I know why you're here, Clark. I've seen this before. You think I can stop you. And somewhere, deep down, you want me to." The enraged and unstable Superman throws Batman across the cave, screaming at him to stop talking. Injured, but refusing to stay down, the Dark Knight rises back up, asking his old friend if it would be easier if he stopped talking.
Going on, Bruce tells him, "If I put on a giant metal suit and hit you over an over again. If I exposed you to some Kryptonite, so that you could feel pain." Bruce apologizes to Clark with this 'anti-climax' but he refuses to fight him. "I don't think I can beat you without killing you," Bruce explains as he walks up to the Batcomputer, pressing a switch as he tells him, "And I'm not like you. I'm not a murderer."
The Batcomputer begins playing a recording of Clark and Lois's wedding that distracts Superman, allowing Batman to hide in the rafters of the cave, with Bruce lecturing Clark that he failed to protect Lois before asking him if he believes he's honoring her through his actions over the last year. Clark snaps back that it was Bruce who failed before looking to the ceiling and telling his old friend he is done with being lectured and tells him to stop hiding.
Looking to the Batcomputer, Batman sees the scan is almost complete and he agrees. Pulling out a sonic emitter, Bruce tells Clark, "It's time to give you what you want." Activating the device, Batman drops down into the cave as a swarm of bats swarm around him, the sonic waves attracting them and greatly paining Superman. The Dark Knight races towards the pill as Superman burns the bats with his heat vision.
Batman lunges out, fingers mere inches from the pill-
Only for his wrist to be grabbed by the Man of Steel.
Bruce is shocked as Clark rips off his cowl, telling him that he hasn't come to kill him, but he can't allow him to be in a position to hurt him or the world anymore. Superman then easily lifts a struggling Bruce into the air with both hands, with Bruce pleading, "Clark, don't!" Bruce tries to choke out his best friend's name as Superman suddenly brings him down-
Bruce screams in agony as his back breaks under the Man of Steel's knee.
Batman is then dropped onto the floor of his cave, with Superman walking away while apologizing, explaining that he is too dangerous. Bruce looks up at the Batcomputer readout and sees the analysis of the pill is complete and struggles to rise back up. Superman tells him not to try before explaining that he is going to put him away with the rest of Gotham's madmen. Bruce still struggles and so the Man of Steel forces him back down by putting his boot on his back.
Superman tells his former friend that it's over and to stop fighting him. Grimacing, Bruce manages to say, "Wasn't...trying to fight you...was trying to distract you..." Shocked, Superman looks towards the pill and finally sees that it was lying on a scanner the whole time. Grinning in a Pyrrhic triumph, Bruce explains, "I gave us a chance. We can synthesize it now. We can stand up to you."
Infuriated, Superman demands to know where the information was uploaded and who has it, and when Batman refuses to respond, Superman applies pressure to his shattered back, demanding the information. In agony but refusing to submit, Batman whispers, "No matter what you tell yourself in the future, I want you to remember this moment. When you resorted to torture for the 'greater good'."
The stunned Superman pulls back, trying to explain, but Batman won't let him, telling Superman that he makes it easier on himself by justifying that his actions are never his fault, just someone's. Batman tells his former friend, "You're not a hero. You're just another thug!" The stunned Superman steps back, and is suddenly confronted by Alfred...and the Man of Steel fails to notice the missing super pill.
Alfred then delivers a sudden headbutt, smashing Superman's nose and proceeds to pummel him into the ground, enraged at the grievous harm to Bruce. When he finally stops, he collects his master, apologizing for the momentary pain he will cause by lifting him up and the two head for the transporter. Bruce asks, "What about-?" but he is cut off as Alfred explains, "There's nothing worth saving here." The two teleport away, leaving the bloody Superman to stagger back up.
Bruce awakens later in an unknown location, still crippled but safe, calling for Alfred. His faithful friend is by his side in a moment, and after Bruce asks where they are, Alfred explains he called a 'friend' to help them. That friend is revealed to be Zatanna, who tells Bruce she has hidden him and Alfred far beyond Superman's reach: In the Tower of Fate.
Bruce tries to get up, determined to keep fighting despite his broken body hindering him, but Zatanna uses her magic to put him back to sleep.
Later, a conscious Bruce hears his cellphone ringing on his utility belt placed on a nearby table, and he sees it is a call from the President. He asks Doctor Fate, "The Tower of Fate gets cell phone reception?" The Doctor's reply is a cryptic, "We are in all places and none." before leaving. Zatanna jokingly explains that's Fate's way of saying the tower does get cell reception.
Alfred forbids Bruce from answering the phone, despite knowing it is from the President, and the butler explains the call will be diverted. Bruce asks, "Where?" and Alfred only tells him that he already knows where.
After a seven-month time skip, the Dark Knight returns in chapter sixteen of the series. Still in the Tower of Fate, Batman is back in his suit and cowl, and is painfully having a device applied to his spine that Alfred claims will aid in his rehabilitation, though stresses he still won't be leaving the tower as his spine is still very fragile. Selina sarcastically brings up how Bruce would never do anything that could lead to injury, and Batman asks her how long she is going to hold the fact he didn't want Superman to harm her against him.
When Selina reminds him that he drugged her and knocked her unconscious and Zatanna cheekily says she gets to hold that against him forever. Using a nearby rail to support himself, Batman confirms with Black Canary that the Green Lantern Corps will arrive tomorrow, before asking Zatanna if she could heal his spine any faster. Though Zatanna says she could, she also reveals that if something were to happen to her, he would find himself 'Bat-floored' if the spell was broken.
Alfred tells his master that he will have to heal like the rest of them with time, though Batman says they're out of time as he sits down. The Dark Knight contacts Oracle and asks to speak to the entire resistance. Oracle complies and opens a channel to all of them.
Batman informs his allies of the impending war and apologizes that it had to come to this. He apologizes for involving them before reminding them of Superman's declining morality as well as the fact he is willing to work with the likes of the Sinestro Corps and apologizes for not being able to fight beside them. Batman then apologizes that some of them will not be coming home tomorrow before asking them to say their goodbyes to their loved ones, family, friends, partners, children, husbands and wives.
Batman declares that Superman's tyranny will be ended by them tomorrow and that he is sorry he can't fight alongside them. With that, he shares one last kiss with Selina before Alfred asks Zatanna to teleport him, Selina and Dinah to the Batcave. Batman is surprised but Alfred smiles and asks him if he really believed he would sit back while their friends went to war. Batman admits, "No...I guess not."
Zatanna then teleports the three to the Batcave, and Batman tells her that if the 'unthinkable happens' not to get involved, saying she will be needed for 'plan B' and then tells her to send him to Oracle. Though Zatanna tells him their friends think he will be in the Tower of Fate where he will be safe, Batman declares, "I don't care how broken I am. I will make sure Superman goes down."
Batman is in Oracle's hideout, and the two are discussing the meaning of Guy Gardner's message "When the sky turns green", with Oracle explaining that's when they're to begin their ground assault, assuring Batman that there's no way they'll miss it. After Oracle explains their access to the Justice League's communication systems, Batman asks if their people are in place and Oracle gives the locations of all their forces.
When Batman learns Harley Quinn is part of their ground assault, he expresses his distrust of her due to her status as a criminal, believing her to be a liability. Oracle tells him that Black Canary has said she can fight at their side, and that Bruce is there to offer his tactical knowledge, not judge others. When Oracle trails off, Batman asks what is it and she reveals the entire world has suddenly been covered in darkness before revealing the Green Lantern Corps have arrived alongside their largest member yet, Mogo.
Shortly after, the sky does indeed turn green as Mogo fires a beam that wipes out a quarter of the Sinestro Corps. Batman then contacts Black Canary in the Batcave, telling her that they have received the signal. Though Dinah questions why he is isn't in the Tower of Fate, Batman only asks if she has the weapon, a custom handgun designed to fire a Kryptonite tipped bullet.
Dinah confirms she does and Batman contemplates his mask as he tells her, "I know you're angry. I know what he took from you. But when the chance comes to take him down... try not to kill him. Remember who Clark was." Black Canary tells him she does but makes no promise, reminding the Dark Knight that "the guy with the best aim is dead."
Batman silently observes the battle between the Corps and the attack on the Hall of Justice.
Batman listens in on Catwoman's report to Oracle after the resistance seizes the Hall, and when Selina informs Barbara that Gordon left with Luthor on one of the Hall of Justice's teleporters to the Watchtower, Bruce whispers to Barbara after they share a look, "Jim will have a reason. We have to trust your father."
Soon, a frustrated Batman realizes that Superman and the Sinestro Corps are deliberately stretching the Green Lantern's numbers too thin and luring them into battling in populated areas, forcing the Lanterns to worry about collateral damage as well. The Dark Knight notices Oracle's sudden tension, and when he asks what's wrong, Barbara reveals that someone is tracing them. Batman orders her to shut down the servers but it's too late. Batman realizes Cyborg is about to find them.
But just as soon as the trace begins, it suddenly disappears. Batman asks if the Regime found them, but Oracle reveals they only got as far as Gotham. When Commissioner Gordon contacts the two, requesting to speak on a private channel, and tells the two that Superman can't be allowed to control the world, Batman reassures his old friend that they won't let him. When Gordon tells him it's good to hear his voice, Batman tells him his name is Bruce, but Gordon disagrees, saying it never was.
Batman agrees, and tells him, "It's been an honor to serve Gotham with you." Gordon asks him to keep serving the city. After Gordon says his last words to his daughter and gives Batman a final goodbye, Bruce is left calling his old ally's name as the channel goes dead and Gordon can no longer respond.
Batman offers to a grieving Barbara to take over her duties but Oracle pulls herself together and contacts Black Canary. The Dark Knight requests to speak with Canary and warns her that his plane is lead-lined, meaning Superman won't be able to see into it. When Dinah asks why that would be a problem, Bruce grimly tells her," He might think you're me."
The Dark Knight is silent as he watches the stream of Superman, now empowered by a Qwardian Power Ring, broadcast around the world.
Batman is still watching the broadcast of Black Canary's images of Superman when he gasps, "My god." Bruce then orders Oracle to shut down the feed for the images. Barbara attempts to argue but Batman reiterates his order and says he needs to talk to their people in the field.
Batman begins by saying, "I am ordering a full retreat. The Green Lanterns are falling. Guy Gardner is down. Black Canary...Black Canary has fallen. It's over. We can't win this."
Oracle tries to tell him that Ganthet may still be able to defeat Superman, but Batman reveals the horrifying truth: "Superman is wearing a ring powered by fear. We just streamed images of him murdering someone all over the globe. He'll be fueled by the fear of a billion people. He'll be unstoppable."
Batman's words come to pass and Ganthet and Mogo are killed by the fear empowered Superman.
The Dark Knight waits in a seedy alleyway in Gotham, having been contacted by John Constantine at some point earlier, who arranged the meeting. Batman contacts Zatanna to get confirmation that Constantine is even coming, admitting he's at a great risk by being out in the open and doesn't want his time wasted.
Constantine then somehow manages to sneak up on the Dark Knight himself, and when he comments on how he thought Batman's back was broken, Bruce simply responds, "I can stand." Amused, Constantine tells Batman to get in the car, which is nowhere to be seen until Batman asks, "What car?" then Constantine's accomplice Chaz drives up.
Constantine quickly introduces the two before telling Batman to get in. Batman is surprised when he sees fellow investigator Detective Chimp already sitting in the back, though the super-smart chimpanzee just curtly tells him to get in. As Chaz drives them on the opposite side of the street, with Batman commenting that Constantine couldn't find someone who knew how to drive on the right side of the road, Constantine and Chaze take a moment to laugh at the sight of Batman and Detective Chimp sitting together in the back.
"The world is going to hell. You think this is funny?" The Dark Knight asks. Detective Chimp just tells him to let the two have their fun before Constantine has Chaz pull over. Constantine leads the detectives inside of a church where he reveals he has captured and mystically bound Raven. Though Chimp is surprised, Batman is not, admitting that they needed Raven "off the board", knowing she was too dangerous. Constantine then reveals to the two that he wants revenge on Superman for ruining his daughter's childhood, successfully enlisting them to his cause.
Batman is present among the gathered Insurgency members in Jason Blood's home, standing close to the back with Catwoman close by. The Dark Knight is silent as Constantine makes his speech until the mage mentions the allies they've lost in their war against Superman. Batman steps forward to say, "But thanks to the efforts and sacrifice of some of those missing friends, the world has seen the truth."
Constantine agrees and reveals his plans to use magic against Superman as well inform the group of the powerful being that is hunting magic users and protecting Superman and his allies. Batman is present when Harvey Bullock announces his intentions to leave, the Dark Knight telling a distraught Renee, "It's okay, Montoya. Let him go." He then sees Detective Chimp try to convince Bullock otherwise and is witness to Bullock and Jason Blood's murders at the hands of the force protecting Superman.
Batman questions Constantine on what is attacking them, with Klarion the Witch Boy quickly revealing that it is the Spirit of Vengeance, the Spectre they are up against. When Zatanna's protective spell begins to fail against the Spectre's raw might, Batman quickly orders Huntress and Batwoman to look for a cellar for them to retreat to. Constantine then goes on a tangent against Batman, mocking him for thinking a cellar would protect them.
Batman tries to explain himself but Constantine refuses to let him get a word in, mocking him for trying to take control of a situation that is way over his head. After Constantine calls him useless, the Dark Knight responds with a single punch to the mage's nose, flooring him instantly. Batman then tells Zatanna to lower the spell when she feels the Spectre stop attacking and to get everyone to safely to the Tower of Fate while moving towards the broken doors.
When Zatanna asks where he is going, Batman replies outside. Catwoman tries to follow him, but Batman bluntly tells her, "You're criminal. You can't help me. That's the spirit of vengeance out there. He punishes criminals."
Heading outside, Batman admits, "He and I have something in common." The Dark Knight steps outside and calls out to the Spectre, the spirit of god's wrath acknowledging Batman and ceasing his attack. The Dark Knight tells the Spectre, "I want to talk. One man of vengeance to another."
As the Spectre lowers himself to Batman's eye level, Batman reminds the spirit that he's supposed to avenge the innocent and protect justice, then tells him, "You killed a good, innocent man in there. His name was Harvey Bullock." The Spectre rebuffs this, stating that Bullock stood beside a demon.
When the Spirit of Vengeance senses the disappearance of the Insurgency members, he realizes he has been deceived and snatches Batman in his hand, lifting an unflinching Dark Knight up and demands to know where hey have hidden. Batman is then saved by Zatanna and safely teleported away.
Later, in the Tower of Fate, Batman confronts Constantine, revealing he knows the mage purposefully pushed him back in Blood's home and demands he not lie to him. Constantine tells him that he's been in hiding for almost a year and Batman defends this choice, telling Constantine, "I was healing. Superman broke me." Constantine disagrees, saying the Man of Steel broke his back.
Constantine tells the Dark Knight that he will need him angry for the things they may have to do and that he needs the man who stared down the Spectre. Constantine tells Bruce that he needs Batman.
The Dark Knight walks in on an intense confrontation between Constantine and Doctor Fate. Batman asks if there is problem, though Constantine nonchalantly begins walking away while lightning a cigarette, denying any problem. Batman asks, "I suppose you're not going to explain that." Causing Constantine to mock his insight.
Changing the subject, Batman asks where they are and Constantine tells him with the Spectre on Superman's side their best bet is to stay in the tower until the world ends. Batman, unamused, states, "There must be a way to take him down." Constantine says the only way would be to "take a peek", as in, look into the future.
When Batman asks how, Constantine says he knows three he knows, with one who more reason to help them before telling him that he better come with him. When Batman asks why, Constantine tells him for protection, since she probably wants to kill him.
Batman and Constantine arrive outside Madame Xanadu's shop. The Dark Knight is surprised to find the door locked, saying it's never been locked before. Though Constantine tells Batman to let him do the talking, when he knocks Xanadu tells him she won't open the door.
When Constantine sites her own shop's message of all being allowed in, Xanadu opens the door a crack and hands the Dark Knight a new sign, asking him to hang it. Reading the sign, Batman is surprised to see its message before hanging it up at Xanadu's request, revealing that all but Constantine are allowed in. Batman asks Madame Xanadu to hear them out, and while she reveals she knows they want her help, she becomes confused when Constantine tells her there is something else and finally allows the two in.
Batman silently follows Constantine and Xanadu into the parlor, listening to their argument. When Constantine asks Batman to draw two cards from Xanadu's deck, the Dark Knight again complies and draws the Death and Lovers cards, revealing to Xanadu Jason Blood's death. An enraged Xanadu slaps Constantine and Batman tries to tell her how Blood died, though she reveals she knows he died for trusting Constantine.
Constantine apologizes to Xanadu before exiting, Batman follows after him and finds the mage smoking outside. Batman tells John that Nimue is angry but Constantine agrees with her words, saying he is no good. Batman disagrees, telling John, "I don't believe that. I look at you and I see a man trying to do the right thing."
Constantine retorts that's what he wants him to see and Batman replies that he is not so easily manipulated. Constantine reveals he knows Batman is a real hero compared to him before suddenly offering the Dark Knight a chance to walk away. Batman tells Constantine he doesn't walk away and Constantine reiterates to him that Xanadu is completely right about him but Batman makes it clear he's not walking away.
Constantine is hardly surprised and tells him to wait ten more minutes before Xanadu is ready. Constantine then tells Batman that one of the reasons he's good at what he does is because he lacks empathy, and while the Dark Knight disagrees, as does Constantine, who tells him he has to lack empathy or he would see himself in the criminals he puts away.
After ten minutes, Batman join Constantine in Xanadu's parlor where the mystic has collected herself. Though Nimue swears eternal hate on Constantine, Batman reminds her that it wasn't John's fault before telling her they need any information she can provide to stop the Spectre. Xanadu begins a reading when she is suddenly possessed, shocking Batman. Constantine frees her from her possessor and Xanadu reads a prophecy for coming events.
The final words of the prophecy foretell the Joker's return, something that deeply perturbs Batman, though Constantine rights it off as meaning anything before telling the Dark Knight to make some tea for the shocked Nimue. Batman's eyes linger on the Fool card from her scattered deck.