“It’s all over, Tech!” Batman declared. He glanced to his right and saw Commissioner Gordon fleeing the Mad Hatter’s warehouse lair with the Mayor’s daughter, Catherine, in tow.
The kidnapping of the Mayor’s daughter had gripped the city. It had taken Batman days to find the Hatter’s lair. When he finally did track down where Jervis Tetch was hiding the innocent Catherine, he discovered the college-aged girl wearing a frilly powder blue and white ‘Alice’ dress. She was having tea with the twisted Hatter. Batman had tried to get through to the girl, but she had been heavily hypnotised into serving the warped villain. Not only that, but the Mad Hatter had mind-controlled several Gotham City PD officers into serving him as well. They each wore their uniforms, but also had been fitted with the plastic masks of the White Rabbit, the Cheshire Cat, the Queen of Hearts and other characters from Alice in Wonderland. Tetch had ordered the officers to kill Batman. In the fight, the Hatter and Catherine had tried to make a quick escape. He wanted desperately to corrupt the poor girl even further into becoming his perfect mate. It would have worked, too, had Commissioner Gordon not stopped them both at gunpoint.
Currently, Batman stood glaring at the defeated Mad Hatter. The unconscious bodies of the Gotham City police officers were strewn around him on the warehouse’s floor.
“Callooh! Callay, Batman!” the Mad Hatter exclaimed. He looked frantically around for a way to escape the Batman, who was advancing on the rail-thin man. He quickly made his way up twisting metal stairs until he found himself on a high catwalk in the old abandoned factory. He looked down to Batman and shouted, “Why do you always insist on ruining my fun? Here I had everything under control. Nothing bad was going to happen to sweet Catherine. I was going to help her!”
“You only ever want to help yourself,” Batman huffed, he grabbed his grappling hook from his utility belt and shot it upwards. In an instant, the Dark Knight had soared up to the catwalk and was face to face with the Mad Hatter.
The Hatter, meanwhile, had grabbed a pipe off the ground and swung it at the Caped Crusader’s head. Batman dodged the blow, and made short order of knocking the weapon from Tetch’s gloved hands. He then backhanded the villain in the face, before grabbing him by the collar and slamming him down onto the cold metal of the catwalk.
“Easy does it, Bats,” Tetch groaned through the intense pain. He then laughed and looked around at the catwalk which hung from the ceiling, “Is this thing even stable?”
Batman balled up his fists and reigned them down on Tetch’s face. He punched Jervis Tetch until the Alice in Wonderland-obsessed criminal was beaten to a bloody pulp. Half-conscious, Tetch rolled over onto his stomach and attempted to crawl away. Batman rose up and for an instant, was impressed that the Hatter was somehow still conscious.
“You’re going back to Arkham,” Batman stated, “Nothing you can do can stop that.”
Suddenly, a loud booming sound echoed in the warehouse. Both the Batman and the Mad Hatter looked around for its source. The boom slowly died down and in its place was replaced by a constant crackling noise. Then it happened. Just below the catwalk it looked like all of reality was being torn away in a brilliant flash of white and blue light. Both hero and villain stared down at the disturbance and saw that it was forming a hole.
Batman couldn’t believe his eyes at what he was seeing. For the Mad Hatter, a man who sometimes believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast each day, what he saw sent an absolute thrill through his badly beaten body. Here it was. His very own rabbit hole to fall down and become lost in. It was either that or to go back to Arkham Asylum. He didn’t even hesitate.
Batman reached out just as Jervis Tetch rolled himself off the catwalk, but was too late. He heard the crazed laughter of the Mad Hatter as he fell directly into the chaotic, swirling vortex. Once Tetch was absorbed by the inky darkness inside the temporal disturbance closed in on itself. The swirls that was raged fizzled out and returned the warehouse to normal. Batman could only gaze down in disbelief at what he had just experienced. Then another thought entered his mind.
Jervis Tetch, the Mad Hatter, was gone.
The Dark Knight’s brilliant and inquisitive mind quickly snapped to deducing what had just happened. Why would Tetch throw himself down this hole. The word rung a bell in the hero’s mind. Hole. He furrowed his brow. Had Jervis Tetch found his very own rabbit hole, just like the heroine on his favorite novel? And if so, what would he find on the other side. Alice had found Wonderland. Where would Tetch find himself?
Would that world be ready for him?
It was dark. Completely dark and silent and the Mad Hatter didn’t know how long he fell. For the mad villain it almost seemed peaceful. Except for the Mad Hatter could never find peace. His mind was a storm of utter chaos and soon, frantic thoughts fill his head. Where was he going? What was this place? Was he even alive? A toothy grin filled his gaunt face and wondered if Batman had finally done it. Had he beaten him so badly that he was dead? Was this...
There was a bright flash of light and a bizarre-looking figure landed with a thud on the platform inside the lab. It caught Reed Richards, and his wife, Susan Storm-Richards, by surprise. Two H.E.R.B.I.E. robots flew over to check the man’s vitals. Sue had her hand over her mouth in shock and her brow was furrowed in concern for the poor, unconscious man. He looked like he had been bludgeoned half to death. Reed, on the other hand, rose up off his chair. He was far more focused with the way the man was dressed. A large top hat, the crazed red hair, the shabby green coat, a gold bowtie and checkered pants. Reed had always been a well-read man and he made the connection immediately.
“What in the name of Lewis Carrol?” Reed Richards asked, and turned to look questioning at the Invisible Woman.