War Games was a Batman cross-over/event that ran in DC Comics between October 2004 and January 2005. The War Games story arc appeared in all the Gotham related titles running at the time, Detective Comics, Legends of the Dark Knight, Nightwing, Batman: Gotham Knights, Robin, Batgirl, Catwoman, Batman, and Gotham Central. The War Games story arc has since been collected in three trade paper backs, Batman: War Games, Act One - Outbreak, Batman: War Games, Act Two - Tides and Batman: War Games, Act Three - Endgame.
The story begins with Stephanie Brown (aka. Spoiler), trying to redeem herself in the eyes of Batman, after recently been fired as Robin. In an effort to regain Batman's confidence, and hoping to take back her Robin mantle, Spoiler sets into motion an elaborate contingency plan Batman had developed in the event of widespread gang violence. In essence the plan involved gathering all of Gotham's crime figures together and to unite them under a single crime boss, Matches Malone, and alias used by Batman to infiltrate Gotham's organised crime. In effect this plan would have given Batman control of Gotham's organised crime, if it were to go to plan. Unfortunately, Spoiler was not aware that Batman and Matches Malone were the same person.
When Spoiler gathers the crime figures without Batman's knowledge, and with Matches Malone an obvious no show, things turn pear shaped, and the gangs go to war with one another. Batman and friends are immediately drawn into the action, trying to put an end to the war before Gotham is destroyed.
In the chaos, The Black Mask appears, a villain that shares a history with both Batman and Bruce Wayne. An opportunist, the Black Mask decides to step into the role Matches Malone was intended to play. With Batman, Robin, Nightwing, Oracle, Batgirl and Catwoman stretched to breaking point, Spoiler is captured and tortured by the Black Mask. When Black Mask learns the truth behind the War Games scenario being played out in Gotham, he has all the information he needs in order to take control, and rule Gotham City's underworld.
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