Okay, forewarning, this contains spoilers for Batman: Arkham City. You don't want them, then please, stop reading now. Otherwise, please, continue. I own nothing, I mean, if I owned Batman, would I be publishing on here rather than being out at some fancy Italian restaurant which charges a grand for a pizza? I didn't think so lol.

...

Jocko Wood stood in the alley, holding his assault rifle tightly in his hands. It had been eight months. Eight months since all the stuff that had gone down in Arkham City. All the stuff with Strange, Bruce Wayne being sent into Arkham City, all the apparent professional killings and the killer who had been carving off people's faces. All those were small things compared with the main thing that had occurred; the Joker had apparently been killed.

There were at least a dozen different stories. Some claimed that he'd just succumbed to his apparent illness that there'd been rumours about for months. Others claimed that the clown prince of crime had battled Batman one final time and that the Dark Knight had killed him. The second option was much more popular. There were even a few that claimed that Joker wasn't dead at all; that he'd used Clayface to fake his death and was plotting his return.

Whatever the case, Jocko had been left out of a job when the Joker was apparently killed, and now he was stuck working for Penguin. The short bastard was a total prick to everyone who worked for him, maintaining that he had some aristocratic right to be in charge. Since Arkham City had been abolished, and the work on the old Asylum was almost finished, the shortass had been touchier than normal. Probably didn't want to go back.

Not that Jocko could blame him; last time he'd been in there, it had been during Joker's breakout. He still remembered the Joker's hulking brutes, including the one that the Joker himself had become. Some people said that the stuff Joker injected himself with was what had eventually killed him. Jocko didn't know, nor did he care.

What he did know was that there had been rumours going around recently. About someone new in Gotham, someone who had been taking what Batman did to the next level. Someone who'd been finding all the crooks and putting them in the ground over the last month.

That rumour had Jocko on edge; over the last two weeks, a dozen of the guys who had worked for the Joker had been found, viciously beaten to death. One of them was a buddy of Jocko's, Carl, a big guy who'd always been proud of the amount of working out he did. Apparently, he'd been found with the back of his skull bashed in as if through some major blunt force.

Now, it looked like whoever it was had come for him too. In the last two minutes, he'd heard commotion coming from the alley down the back of the Iceberg Lounge. Yelling proclaiming that Batman was there before calling it just some idiot in a biker outfit and a mask. Then there'd been gunshots and the sound of metal impacting walls and bodies.

As Jocko thought about it, he turned around in time to see a body being tossed to ground before a figure stepped out. As had been said, the guy, who stood around six foot tall, was wearing a leather motorcycle outfit, with a few bullet holes, revealing some kind of armour underneath. On his head, he wore what looked to be a red metal helmet with reflective lenses over his eyes. In his left hand was a metal pipe, and in his knife, a crowbar with blood dripping from it.

The figure said nothing as he spun around, throwing the pipe at Jocko's head, the impact making Jocko drop his gun. As Jocko regained his composure, the man was upon him, wrapping his empty left hand around Jocko's throat as he picked the goon up, crowbar ready to strike.

"It's been a while, Jocko." The man said, his voice cold and gravelly, like the Bat's "Helped kill any teenagers lately?"

"What the hell are you talking about?" Jocko said, his voice crackling due to lack of air "I ain't never killed no kid."

"I never said you did it. I said you helped." The man said "And I'm here to send a message. Batman may not have the balls to do what has to be done to all of you thugs, but there's a new sheriff in town."

"What?" Jocko said, genuinely fearing for his life.

"I'm going to send all the criminals in this city, and Batman, a message." The man said, coolly "And you're going to help me."

"Sure man, I'll help you." Jocko said "Just let me go, please!"

"Let you go? How many times did I ask you, your buddies and your boss to let me go before your boss beat me half to death with a crowbar and then blew me away?" The man asked, bringing the crowbar up over his head, ready to strike "See you in hell, Jocko."

The last thing Jocko saw was the man bringing the crowbar down. A half second later, he felt the metal impact his skull. Then he saw, felt and thought no more.

...

Batman stood on top of a crane by the Gotham docks. He'd received a tip from a fairly reliable source that there was some drugs trafficking going on down there tonight. He slowly shifted his line of sight from the crates being moved from the cargo ships that had just came in below to the movement he'd seen on a crane across from him.

He adjusted his cowl's magnification, zooming in further on the figure across from him. Robin had shown up after all, and taken down a goon with a sniper rifle that had been perched on the crane, mirroring the one Batman had taken down ten minutes before. Batman saw Robin look over to him and nod, signalling everything was all clear over there.

It was a routine the two had become very skilled with over the last five years; Batman would take the big guns while Robin would take the small fries. Of course, Robin had become somewhat more brazen and more skilled, so Batman figured he could let Robin do a little more. So long as he kept a closer eye on this Robin than he had done with the previous one.

As he thought about it, Batman shifted his line of sight back down to the shipment in progress below. There were around thirteen men down there, five armed and one of the armed ones wearing armour. He had to be the leader. So he'd be the first one to take out.

"There's a goon in armour with a G36 down there." Batman said as he pressed two fingers to his ear, engaging the comm. link to Robin "He's target one. First we deal with him, then we pick off the other four armed thugs, and then we deal with the unarmed ones."

"Sounds like a plan." Robin's voice came through the earpiece, along with the sound of him putting the hood on his costume up "Guessing you're going after the armoured one?"

"Yes." Batman replied simply as he stood upright and disengaged the zoom on his cowl, looking across to Robin and observing his partner doing the same "On three. One. Two. Three."

As he spoke the final word, Batman jumped off of the roof, spreading his arms and allowing his cape to catch the air current beneath him, gliding towards the group of thugs and kicking the armours guard in the back of the head as he reached him before slamming the guard's head against the ground, knocking him out cold.

"It's the bat!" One of the goons with guns yelled, before receiving a similar treatment from Robin to what the goon with armour had received, being finished off with a hit to the face by Robin's staff.

Both caped vigilantes said nothing as they pulled their grapples from their belts, Batman dropping a smoke bomb before they both fired grapple lines up. Halfway up to the top of the crane they had fired their lines into, Batman released the line from his grapple, decending back into the smoke, activating the specialised vision mode that was installed into the cowl to help him with detective work as he entered the smoke, taking two more goons down as he hit the ground. A second later, as the smoke cleared, Robin followed suit, taking down the final armed goon with his staff as he came down from above.

The pair proceeded to beat up the other nine thugs, each of the nine taking a number of hits from both of them. At the end of it, eight layed unconscious between them.

"Weren't there meant to be nine of them?" Robin asked as he pressed a control on his staff to make in compact itself to be stored on his back.

"There are." Batman said as he spun around, grabbing the goon who was charging at him with a baseball bat by the throat and lifting him in the air "Tell me everything. Who do you work for?"

"I... I can't." The goon stammered, his voice strained "He'd kill me!"

"You've heard what's been going on around Gotham lately." Batman said "What makes you think I won't?"

Before the goon could answer, Batman pulled the grapple from his belt, firing it up and reeling it in before engaging the boost function, being reeled up rapidly, still holding the goon, and landing on top of the crane, the goon being held over the edge, one of his shoes slipping off and falling into the harbour below.

"Okay, okay, I'll talk!" The goon said, obviously panicking "Just please, don't hurt me!"

"Good." Batman said, narrowing his eyes "Who do you work for?"

"It's... it's Black Mask." The goon said "I work for Black Mask."

"Black Mask's dead." Batman said "Catwoman saw to that."

"The old Black Mask's dead." The goon replied "This guy, he's new, he's-"

Before the goon could finish talking, there was a deafening crack as the sound of a gunshot rang out, the goon being hit in the head, blood spraying over Batman's costume. Batman pulled the body up, setting it down on top of the crane. One bullet hole, the shot having gone straight through the man's skull, in one side and out the other.

Batman checked his chest, pulling the crushed bullet from the armour of his costume. No hope of getting a bullet trajectory, too many variables. Batman reached up to his ear, once again activating the communications system in his cowl.

"We've got a lead." He said "Apparently we're looking for Black Mask."

"Black Mask?" Robin's voice came through the earpiece "But he's-"

"I know. Apparently there's a new one." Batman said "The thug I was interrogating was shot before he could give me anymore. I can't hope to establish a crime scene up here."

"So, what now?" Robin asked, the signal beginning to weaken slightly as the storm front in the distance got closer.

"I want you to go back to the cave, do some research, try and find out if anyone else has reported working for Black Mask." Batman said "When you get to the cave, contact Nightwing. Tell him to meet me at the Sionis Steel Mill. Joker may have been the last person we know of who used it, but that doesn't mean that we can't try and find some extra information on Black Mask there."

Batman lowered his hand from it's position at his ear, cutting off the signal. As he did, he leant forward, letting himself fall off of the roof of the building before spreading his arms and starting to glide through the city. Something was going on and he was going to find out what.

...

So there's chapter one. Yes, the first part and the second part are both related, though I won't tell you how just yet. Let's just say that Batman's in for the fight of his life with this one. R&R, please, no flames. B.