Bruce Wayne is 18. He's rich, he's an orphan, and due to an impulsive decision with his new car he has to do community service in the Arkham Asylum.
There he meets Madeleine Wallace, a girl his age, who doesn't seem to belong there. Very beautiful and highly intelligent, she soon draws Bruce into a game of minds, in which he is never quite sure if she is telling the truth.
At the same time, the Nightwalkers, a group of murderers and thieves, run free in Gotham City. Bruce must solve the mystery before more people get hurt.
After all, he will be Batman.
Tropes in this novel:
- Abusive Parents: Bruce's friend Harvey is beaten by his father. The father of Richard Price, a former friend of Bruce's, is implied to be emotionally abusive.
- Adults Are Useless: Played With. The police are investigating the murders, and Detective Dracoon seems rather competent, but at the end it is Bruce who has to intervene with an assist from his best friend Harvey, Alfred and the tech Lucius Fox designed. Alfred and Lucius Fox seem to be perfectly competent as Bruce's guardian and the head of R&D respectively, though.
- And the Adventure Continues: The last chapter ends with Bruce looking over the city, deciding that it is a home worthy of protection.
- Asshole Victim: Sort of. Mayor Price was emotionally abusive at least towards his older son, but Bruce remembers that his other kids seemed close to him.
- Axe-Crazy: Implied with Cameron Wallace, who seems to have a very short temper and who has no problems killing or seriously wounding people just because he's annoyed
- Badass Normal: Bruce, of course, but really, as nobody has any powers.
- Battle Butler: Implied with Alfred, who mentions having been in the Army.
- Bedlam House: Arkham Asylum, as always. None of the patients ever seem to receive any therapy, and Madeleine shows some bruises she says come from the nurses. It's not clear if she tells the truth about that, though.
- Big Bad: The boss of the Nightwalkers, Madeleine's brother, Cameron Wallace.
- Black and Nerdy: Lucius Fox, as always.
- Canon Foreigner: Dianna Garcia, Bruce's best friend, as well as Detective Dracoon, who is in charge of Bruce's community service and of course Madeleine.
- Childhood Friends: Bruce with Harvey and Dianne.
- Comic-Book Adaptation: Chris Wildgoose illustrated a graphic novel under the DC Ink imprint.
- Coming-of-Age Story: For Bruce.
- Consummate Liar: Detective Dracoon is sure the Madeleine is one. Bruce isn't sure, but then again, he wants to relate to her.
- Damsel in Distress: Dianna at the climax.
- Dating Catwoman: Even when the Trope Namer isn't around, Bruce Wayne has a Type.
- Deceased Parents Are the Best: Thomas and Martha Wayne, Bruce's parents, are only ever remembered as good people.
- Demoted to Extra: Gordon, sort of. He only shows up shortly at the end, with Detective Dracoon filling in as Bruce's main contact with the police.
- Determinator: Well, it is a novel about Bruce Wayne.
- Disappeared Dad: Madeleine's mother died in prison, but her father is never even mentioned.
- Doomed by Canon: Every Batman fan knows what will eventually happen to Bruce's friend Harvey Dent...
- Easter Egg: Bruce's best friend Harvey Dent is familiar to every Batman fan, as is Detective Gordon, who takes over Detective Dracoon's position at the end.
- Evil Former Friend: Richard Price, with whom Bruce used to be close. They have drifted apart by the time the novel starts, though, and Richard is shown to be quite unfriendly. And then he turns out to be one of the Nightwalkers...
- Femme Fatale: Madeleine. Or is she?
- Freudian Excuse: Madeleine's brother died because the doctor who promised to save him was a con artist, then her mother murdered said doctor and died in prison, all while Madeleine was 10. Later it turns out that Madeleine isn't the murderer after all, her brother, who only almost died, is, but he has essentially the same reasoning for his deeds.
- Gadgeteer Genius: Lucius Fox, Bruce Wayne, Madeleine Wallace.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Cameron, oh so much
- Mythology Gag: Harvey Dent is seen playing with a coin.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Nightwalkers, the name of the terrorist group Madeleine is associated with.
- Not So Different: Madeleine deliberately invokes this with Bruce when talking about how they're both orphans. Then again, she's a Consummate Liar, so...
- Oh, Crap!: When Bruce comes back to the manor and the door is ajar, but everything is dark, and he remembers that Alfred was home. Also, a bit later, when he realizes that Madeleine used him to break out of Arkham and then left behind a letter that implicates him.
- Origin Story: For Batman, of course.
- Parental Substitute: Alfred, as always
- Police are Useless: Well, they capture Madeleine, but they can't get her to tell them anything, and it's Bruce who eventually stops the Nightwalkers.
- Teen Genius: Both Bruce and Madeleine count, as they are 18 and mention that they used to tinker with electronics since they were kids.
- The Commissioner Gordon: The Trope Namer shows up briefly at the end, still a Detective.
- The Corrupter: Detective Dracoon is worried that Madeleine is this to Bruce. She might be right.
- The Dreaded: Madeleine, herself, after being accused of three horrific murders, as well as the Nightwalkers as a whole.
- The Reveal: Madeleine's brother Cameron didn't die as a child, he was brought out of the country to another doctor who was able to save him. Now he's leading the Nightwalkers
- Two-Face: The teenager version, who's not a villain yet. Harvey Dent is shown to be Bruce's best friend, who is a stickler for rules. He does however already have a coin he plays around with when he's nervous.
- Was It All a Lie?: Bruce to Madeleine, after she breaks out of Arkham and leaves a note that implicates him.
- What Have I Done?: Richard Price, so much. He just wanted to get back at his father, he didn't want him dead.