(Note: Batman etc are all owned by DC Comics, I merely played around a little)

Alternative ending to Lincoln March's encounter with Batman

I'm of the view that the 'Court of Owls' storyline should have ended with issue 10 (if not sooner), as soon as March made his 'reveal' - and long before he put on the suit. The scenario below takes over from when Batman enters the old children's hospital in order face down Lincoln March and is caught in the net fired at him by March (issues 10 and 11 of Batman vol 2). It's 'bare bones' but critique away.

'If not Lincoln March, then who am I?'

'You're a traitor,' the netting snaps, 'and a thief.' Batman pulls the netting off himself as March steps back, readying the snare-gun again in case he needed to 'buy time'.

'You were a member of the Court of Owls, but you betrayed them,' says Batman, stepping forward...smiling. 'You only killed a handful of them, though, and the others will come after you.'

'Let them come. I'm pretty damned hard to kill, now.' Lincoln steps back a little more.

'The serum doesn't give you much of an advantage, Lincoln, especially not against those who know how it works.'

'Wha-?'

'I did what you dared me to do. I found the truth inside the lie.'

'A truth inside the lie. Exactly, just like with you. Like when I saw you fight that Talon when we had our meeting in the tower. You were supposed to die then, and I was going to watch.'

'You didn't know the Talon was going to attack you. I reviewed the footage of the attack. You didn't know.'

'They said the Talon attacked me by accident. That he made a mistake.'

'They lied. They lied about a lot of things, Lincoln.'

'Stop calling me that! You found the truth, tell me who I am!' He fires the snare-gun again, and turns to open the storage cabinet behind him. A batarang pins his left hand to the door of the cabinet and Lincoln roars with anger, pulling his hand free as he turns to face Batman.

'You were a patient here during the time my parents were patrons of the hospital. You were admitted soon after a car accident that occurred on the junction of Lincoln and March. The Court lied to you, Lincoln, you're not who you think you are.'

Lincoln throws the snare-gun at him and again tries to open the cabinet. Batman catches the gun and fires it at Lincoln, pinning him, draped over the cabinet, to the wall.

'WHO AM I?! Say it, Bruce! Who. Am. I?'

Batman leans in and says, softly, 'You're not my brother.'

In a rage, Lincoln roars and tears the net off himself and strikes out at Batman, who parries and kicks him back into the wall.

'My brother died as a result of that accident.'

'No. I lived.'

'Thomas lived for 12 hours after the accident, but his injuries were too severe.'

'I. LIVED!' Lincoln rushes at Batman, who dodges each blow (moving backwards) with a sad look on his face.

'I wish he had lived. I think about him sometimes...how things might have been. I thought about him a lot when I was younger, joking to myself that he would be my Kato or Tonto.'

'I am...Thomas...Wayne...' exclaims Lincoln as he throws kicks and punches at Batman, steamy air drifting as they both move around the room Batman has led him in to.

Lincoln lunges at Batman in an attempt to grapple him to the ground, but Batman leaps over him, landing softly.

'There's a willow tree near my parents' graves. My mother planted it with my father, in my brother's memory.'

'Lies! She visited me every day! I remember!'

'No, you only remember what you think you're supposed to. What you were told to. I'm sorry, Lincoln.'

'THOMAS WAYNE JU-' Enough! Batman's punch knocks out several of Lincoln's teeth and breaks his jaw.

'This sick fantasy is over. Your delusions are just that.'

Lincoln writhes around trying to get up, steamy breath escaping his clenched mouth.

'I told you, Lincoln, the serum doesn't give you an advantage over those who know how it works.'

End with the external scene of the cold storage room, leaving the opportunity for someone else to play with the March and Talon toys later on down the line – if they're so inclined.

(I know, I know, Lincoln does a lot of roaring ;) )