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Two men faced the secret masters of the world.

The two who led the Silent Seven had a third on their side- Damian Wayne, Robin, claimed by Ra's and puppeted by Khan.

Batman faced Ra's and Damian in the Seven's headquarters.

The Shadow faced Khan in the latter's mind.

He fought with the power he'd realized when Khan'd had Damian take a shot at him.

Khan overpowered him, blowing holes in his self-conception.

" You were always going to die here. " he told the defeated Shadow.

" How could you possibly hope to defeat me in my own mind? "





" We..

" .. are in the Shadow's. "

" There is no way! I butchered your soul!

" No.. "

" Yes, little Khan.. by my design. "

The Shadow advanced on him.

" I saw this mission as a curse for the man that became the Shadow.

" Your crucible forced me to look where I have always feared: within. "



(Shamba-La was where both Khan and the Shadow developed their abilities.)



In the Seven's headquarters, Damian advanced on a wounded Batman, knife in hand, deaf to his father's pleas.

" Damian Wayne.

" Awake. "

The knife fell from his hand.

" Wha- what? It felt like sleepwalking. Couldn't stop..

" Am I back in control? "



" Their destruction of this world, of themselves, was stemmed!

" All but for your petty grudges. "

Ra's kicked Khan.

" You fools are only here because of him! Because a young man who thought himself old couldn't forget you, Shadow!

" I protect this world!

" You would doom it to satisfy a justice measured in lifetimes!

" My justice is measured in the rise and fall of whole civilizations!

" Untethered, humanity spoils this world beyond repair!

" It must be checked! "

The Shadow came up from behind Ra's.

" Perhaps.

" But not by you. "

Ra's turned to strike him, letting Batman pull Damian away.

" Ra's and Khan attached themselves to the global datastream.

" Even if Khan's dead men are dust, this hub controls the world's information flow.

" We can't destroy it. We have to replace it. My new system isn't ready- "

" No, father. "

Damian argued that the Seven could be defeated without being replaced, that humanity could exist without secret centralized control.

" You have to trust me.

" You must. "



(Yes, Ra's apparently gave Damian voice access to the Seven's central system.

The things you do when you have absolute confidence in your control.

The crumbling men are Khan's dead servants, no longer being animated by his will.)

" Time to set it free. "

" No, damn you! They are not ready for this!

" Without us they will- "

Batman smashed Ra's jaw with a two-handed hammerfist.

Ra's collapsed at his feet.

" Without you, Ra's al Ghul.. this world will bloom. " said the Shadow.

" Like any god, your creation has a life of its own.

" The world will survive losing you. It's already done so, down here, below your notice. "

" The world's heartbeat can't be heard from the sky, old man.. you hear it on the street. " said Batman.

" Our domain. "



(Picture-in-picture panels angled to exploit the illusion of depth: so good.)



(The things you can do in crossover continuities.)



" I killed him. I had to. "

(Wayne Manor's being rebuilt because Khan'd blown it up.

Pagecount's just under 7 and a third of 22 from The Shadow/Batman #6.

Writing's Steve Orlando, art's Giovanni Timpano, colors're Flavio Dispenza, and letters're Taylor Esposito.)
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