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(He'd been caught by surprise.)

The Joker and the Stag had him rigged up.

Before an audience of Gotham's other terrors, the Joker exposited.





" And where it finally catches up with you, Batman. "

" This isn't you, Joker. "

" And you're the expert. "

" You don't work well with others. "

" Stag and I are peak predators, prime examples of evolution. We're practically family. "

" The Stag doesn't have family. "

" Blood brothers, then. But the blood's all yours. We carve out your heart, the crowd goes wild, and we shove off for Shamba-La. "

" Good luck. People say I don't have one. "

The villains laughed.

The Joker noticed another tone in the laughter.

The villains' faded, leaving only that uncanny one to echo.

" .. oh.

" That's not me. "

The Shadow dropped in.

" I know. "

He shot Batman's ropes off.

Batman dropped to the ground.

He and the Shadow went at the villains.

Meanwhile, the GCPD - whom Alfred had put in an anonymous call to, after the Shadow'd left his custody - were rushing to where the Shadow'd gone.



(I love when a crossover's crossing over includes minor details, like obscure characters' backstories.)



Aboveground, the GCPD pulled up outside the Gotham Tobacconist's Club.

Underground, the Joker got his arm around Batman's neck and drew a scalpel.

The Shadow pointed his guns.

" Wait! "



(The Wrath's probably in that shadowed panel because of his distinct outline.)



The Stag and the Joker exited, briefly pursued by the Shadow's bullets.



" Here's where you make good. I gave you Batman's heart. So it's Shamba-La, here we-

" - come? "

The Stag and the Joker had opened the door on the aboveground exit they'd been heading up to, into the face of the GCPD's guns.



Below them, the Shadow admonished Batman's foolishness.

Batman's response was a request to cauterize his wound with one of the charcoals lying around, and an explanation of himself.

Later, the Joker received a visitor in the hospital.



(If you know one of fiction's most matter-of-fact explanations for reputed immortals who definitely died but're suddenly apparently alive, you can probably figure out what the Joker has.)



(Pagecount's 7 and a little under 3/20ths of 22 from 2017's Batman/the Shadow #4.

Writing's Scott Snyder and Steve Orlando, art's Riley Rossmo, colors're Ivan Plascencia, and letters're Clem Robins.)
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