The night was thick and dark with sheets of freezing rain. Half-hidden by the pulsing gray clouds, the full pitted moon hung like a huge, pearlescent lantern in the sky. Thunder reverberated in the heavens. The heavy booms shook the foundations of Gotham City, and at the loudest shuddering crack a shadow flickered across the moon like a bat suspended in the blackness.

Crime seemed to cling to the Gothic architecture that were scattered throughout the vast labyrinth of the city. Water poured from one such construction, squatting on the edge of that twisted world and where the hooded form of a damp stone angel was carved, clasping its hands, as if in penitence for the city of sin. Speakers hoisted on high brackets crackled as a streamlined shadow appeared at the end of the street. The streetlamps cast flickering pools of bleak light, splashing across the wet concrete as a message blared out into the empty road, spoken by a nasal female voice.

"All units proceed to Gotham City Hall." it droned, barely audible beneath the nearby clattering of a street-level train. "The Joker has been apprehended. Batman is now en route to Arkham Island."

Police sirens wailed in synchronization with the howl of an ambulance as it sped past, and in the cacophony of sound a roar rose above it all, issuing from the rapidly growing, sleek shadow as it formed into the angular Batmobile, powerful headlights shining two solid beams out through the rain. Its engines sent it forward at a speed no other could match. Racing past the police cars, the red taillights left a trail of twin scarlet streams as the automobile rounded a corner, and disappeared down one of Gotham's convoluted paths. Oncoming traffic steered instantly out of the way at the sight of the Dark Knight's ride.

Still following the path, the Batmobile sent dead leaves skittering out of the way as it powered down a lonely road bracketed by skeleton trees. Its headlights illuminated two road signs stacked on top of each other; the first was marked by a white arrow pointing straight ahead, and with the simple word 'ARKHAM' emblazoned on the green. The second, and far more sinister, shone palely yellow below it beneath a cloud of leaves:

HITCHIKERS MAY BE ESCAPING PATIENTS

Seated like a king with armoured gloves rested skilfully at the wheel, The Batman in all his sheer glory drove calmly past the ominous sign, his watchful blue eyes barren of fear beneath his sculpted cowl. Forked lightning flashed up above, painting his impenetrable bodysuit with a myriad of shadows and throwing his perfectly toned muscles into sharp relief. In the back seat, however, sat in manacles possibly the Dark Knight's most polar opposite.

"Stand back, fool, I've got a bomb!" hissed the bound Joker, layered with the menace only he seemed to possess.

He jerked and wriggled discordantly, then jolted out of one of his temperamental personalities, realising (or pretending to realise) where he was. "Oh, right." He said in his normal, showman's tone, rectifying himself, then let loose an insane giggle from his arsenal of laughs.

Guarded by two lantern-bearing, cloaked figures, the intricate gates of ARKHAM ASYLUM loomed up ahead, and as they sped back behind the Batman, Arkham Island unfurled around him. Topped by a glowing green-tinged moon, the jagged silhouette of the madhouse dominated the scenery, perched on a curving hill surrounded by a body of twisting water.

They had reached Arkham Asylum.