In the latest issue of Batman: Black and White, the Dark Knight’s team with a Gotham Academy student turns surprisingly dark.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for the story “The Davenport House” by Batman: Black & White # 4 by Karl Kerschl, Steve Wands and Andy Khouri, out now.
Throughout his superhero career, Batman has faced many dangerous and monstrous threats that, despite his appearance, originate at the hands of men. But every now and then, Batman has to deal with a threat beyond the usual realm of man.
During his investigation into an old house in the heart of Gotham City, Batman is reminded that sometimes he really does face supernatural threats, but that he can still use his logical mind to discover the key to resolving those conflicts.
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“The Davenport House” centers on the titular building, located in Gotham City’s wealthy Hawke Hill area. The neighborhood is over a century old and many of the houses were rebuilt at different times over the years. However, this did not extend to Davenport House, which locals always believed to be a haunted house. How Batman explains to his new Robin – Maps of Gotham academy – Lady Davenport had been a wealthy socialite who became obsessed with the occult in her later years, before she and her husband died in a murder-suicide in 1870. Initially, Batman tells Maps that there is no reason for the case be really supernatural.
But following a mysterious wail in the attic, Batman encounters what he initially suspects to be some kind of illusion: the ghostly specter of Lady Davenport. Touching the spectrum causes Batman to briefly disappear for a moment, appearing to Lady Davenport in the distant past while in the middle of a séance with his family members. Having tried to call out the “Spirit of Gotham”, Davenport believes that Batman is some kind of supernatural force that can help her uncover the truth about her missing granddaughter, Dolly. Despite not actually being the demon, she believes that he is Batman, it is revealed that she investigated the case and learned of Dolly’s disappearance over a hundred years ago, including the fact that her body was never found.
Using his deductive abilities, Batman can make an educated guess that Lord Davenport was responsible for the attack that claimed Dolly’s life. Batman confronts the group and reveals the truth, leading Lady Davenport to accuse her husband of being a monster, which in turn causes Lord Davenport to target her and then himself. Returned to the present at the end of the spell, Batman orders Maps to leave the room long enough for him to look further through the building and presumably discover Dolly’s remains hidden within the wall at the location where Lord Davenport was. committed suicide. allowing the collective spirits to rest.
It’s a grim tale of the supernatural for Batman, and the kinds of things he can generally apply his logic to to figure it out. In this case, that logic ended up being crucial to give a little peace to the restless dead, all those years away from their present time. Even if he could only ensure that justice was discovered long after the culprit died, Batman was able to ensure that justice finally prevailed, and that he truly is the spirit of Gotham, even if he is more flesh and blood than he is. Lady Davenport was once suspicious. .
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