The Red And The Black
Introduction and Teaser


I'm doing Batman. I, who spends most of his time writing Transformers and Doctor Who crossovers is focusing on Batman. Why, those who know me ask, first of all you've never wrote anything for the Dark Knight before and second you're English. Sorry he's just one of my all time favourite comic book characters, only beaten by Alan Moore's take on Swamp Thing and Judge Dredd (Rorschach, while fantastic is just a Batman clone with a twist).

While each writer has a different take and Batman sure has been through the wars (The "Batman and Robin" film anyone) he still survives. The only non super powered hero that constantly tops the board. Sure you've got Green Arrow and a few others but the Bat is still iconic.

More importantly it doesn't matter where you are from. You see Spider-Man lives in New York. Superman fights for truth, justice and the American way. Most comic book characters are based in the USA and don't really look past that. While Gotham is based on New York it's been tweaked enough to be anywhere in the world. You could pick the Dark Knight up and put him in any country and there wouldn't be that drastic a difference because he fights for every downtrodden victim of crime. Take Red Son as an example of what happens when you take Superman out of America.

Another, perhaps even more important, thing about Batman is just how dark he really is. In a world of spandex and bright colours this guy scares the crap out of people. Strip the Green Arrow of his bow, expose Superman to kryptonite and what have you got. Some guy in a costume. Batman isn't the costume, the gadgets help sure but he's a fighter. He's also the closest of the whole lot to being insane.

I do not own any version of Batman or his villains used in this story. They belong to DC comics (Batman created by Bob Kane, Batman Beyond developed by Bruce Timm and his team)


Terry McGinnis sighed as he straitened up. 'It's so good to have you home for tea.' his mother smiled at him after he did as he was told.

Terry's little brother, Matt, huffed and poked at his plate. 'Oh big deal, Terry's home. For like sixty seconds.' The little armpit was getting worse and worse. He just kept pushing it. Terry had no idea why.

'It's not that...' Terry's comm bleeped. '...bad.' The young man finished, glaring at the traitorous device. His brother just stuck out his tongue at him.

'Oh Terry.' His mother sighed. 'Can't you just ask for one night with your family?'

'I can ask. Won't do any good but I could ask.' Terry answered the incessant bleeping. 'Hello'

'Inque's back. Get out there.' The old man's voice growled.

'You know that one night a month I asked off?' Terry said for appearances stakes

He didn't have to finish, anyway the old man wouldn't let him. He just said; 'Cancel it. I'm sending the car.' and hung up.

'I'm sorry mom.' The young man grabbed the side of meat off his plate. 'I did try.' He said and left with a mouthful of dinner. Quickly Terry almost ran out of the house and dived down a back alley, already waiting for him was a low slung hover car. Even in Neo-Gotham it was rare to see them and this one was unique.

Terry was an average young man, that went to an average school with average grades that he put average effort into. Pretty much coasting through life like most people thought.

That changed when his father stumbled across a bio-weapon developed by Wayne-Powers. Derek Powers, who had merged his company with the old man's, killed Terry's father to keep the secret. He went to the one person he knew could help, the old man. Co-owner of Wayne-Powers and former Batman, Bruce Wayne.

Practically crippled with a heart condition the Dark Knight had long since been forced into retirement and Terry had stumbled onto this fact by accident. Stealing the Bat-suit he took the mantel of the bat for the night. Even against the original Batman's wishes. Still, even unable to fight back, Bruce Wayne burned with desire to keep the streets clean. Terry proved himself that night and was given the cape and cowl to protect the people of Neo-Gotham.

Pulling the mask down Terry's vision was flooded with red. 'What's the mission?' Batman asked through the inbuilt pickups in the mask.

'I was right. Inque's going after the new hyperspace probe developed by Foxtecha. She set off the alarms you set up.' Wayne told him. Even now he was sitting in front of the Bat-computer. Ever watching over the city that was once his.

'And Fox's security?'

'Knockout gas. Watch.' One of the batmobiles screens flickered to life. The old man must have hacked the surveillance. It showed an overweight guard with blue black skin walk into an office room and melt.

The liquid based shape shifter had carried the gas inside the borrowed form, the moment she left the guards were out for the count. 'I guess you can teach a new dog old tricks.' Batman growled. 'Where is she?'

The old man almost chuckled. 'Just found the safe. I'd give her fity seconds. Longer if she doesn't think to turn off the power.'

'She's good, but looks like she's in a hurry.' Batman watched the repeat of the gas attack. 'Probably hoping to get out of there before I find out she's there.'

'Don't get over confidant Terry. It can lead to mistakes, just ask Inque. Her own education is proving to be shocking.'

'To say the least.' He laughed. When the old man first read up on the new science probe he knew someone would try and sabotage or steal the prototype. Two nights ago Batman had broken in and helped boost the security. Added cameras and a few little surprises, like a silent alarm linked up to the bat-computer and hooking the safes metal housing to the mains power supply.

Inque's liquid form was great at slipping through even the smallest cracks. Shame it didn't react well with electricity.

Batman glanced at the clock. 'Gotta make a call.'

'Be fast.'

'Always.' Batman punched up the comm and speed dialled Terry's friend. The one he was supposed to be meeting after dinner. She picked up on the fourth ring. 'Hello Max.'

'Terr, I know that tone of voice. Working late?'

'Yes. I'll have to catch you guys up.' Batman growled before puling a sharp turn. 'Might drop by on the way though.'

'What do you...' Max didn't finish the sentence. 'Whoa! Sorry about that Terr, Batman just tried take our heads off.'

'He does that. Sorry I can't stay and chat.' Batman pulled another turn and pointed the Batmobile at Foxtecha, leaving Terry's friends behind.

Max shut off her comm. 'Terry has to cancel. Something about Wayne and a big meeting tomorrow.'

Dana, Terry's long suffering girlfriend was still watching the vanishing ion trail the batmobile left. 'Wow! That was so cool. Still big surprise Terry can't make it. For a retired guy that Wayne sure works a lot.'

'Got that right, but I hear he's trying to get back in charge of his company.' Max wished the other girl the best of luck. These days Terry took his "work" too seriously.

Dana shrugged. 'Terry's telling me the same, still how much can one old man do by himself.'

'I think that's why Terr's helping him.'

'What? Terry at corporate meetings?' Dana laughed. 'Sorry but he can't keep his eyes open during class. What chance has he staying awake during those?'

'Not one' Max snickered. It was a funny thing to think about. Row after row of well dressed executives and at the end Terry in his worn jacket. But something sent a shiver up her spine. His eyes. Now, even in her memories now, he had that look in his eyes. The look only Batman could have.

End teaser