Warning: SPOILERS for Detective Comics #994
Batman has long been known as the Great Detective, but in Detective Comics #994 he must solve the mystery of his own parents' murder. The Dark Knight has always been defined by the tragic shooting of Thomas and Martha Wayne. It's a moment that is seared in his memory, and it acts as inspiration for everything he has become. That's why every big-screen iteration of Batman has included a glimpse of the shooting; even Zack Snyder was unable to resist revisiting it in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Every year, on the anniversary of his parents' death, Batman returns to the alley where his parents were murdered. Known as Crime Alleys after the Waynes were killed, it's become a hotbed of crime and violence; but there have always been people who are willing to work to redeem it. One of Batman's closest associates is Dr. Leslie Thompkins, who looked after the traumatized Bruce all those years ago and still runs a clinic there to this day. She's one of the few people who even know Batman's secret identity.
This year is different. In Detective Comics #994, Batman's annual vigil is interrupted by a call from Commissioner Gordon. The GCPD have found two bodies submerged in the waters of Gotham City Aquarium; to Batman's horror, they are exact duplicates for his own parents. Whoever killed these people chose victims who had the same foundational bone structure and ethnicity as Thomas and Martha Wayne. They then paid for plastic surgery to turn the couple into exact doppelgangers of the Waynes.
The victims were dressed in the same clothes; every detail is exact, from nail polish to duplicates of the Waynes' wedding rings. There's even a perfect replica of a movie program in one of their pockets. The unknown man and woman were then murdered - and even the wounds were exactly the same as the ones the Waynes suffered.
It's clearly the beginning of a dangerous game, and Batman knows that it's aimed at him. Whoever has killed these two people wanted to send a chilling message; that they know who the Batman really is, and that they are determined to tear his world apart. It shakes Batman so badly that he almost slips and reveals his identity to Commissioner Gordon, who called him in.
That's when Batman gets another call, this time from Leslie Thompkins at her clinic at Crime Alley. She's under attack by some sort of creature - a monster carrying a Bat-Signal. It's a sinister twist; after all, Batman would already have been at Crime Alley if not for the bodies found at the aquarium. Someone is manipulating the Dark Knight, they want him to know that they're aware of his every secret, and none of his dearest friends or family are safe from harm. We'll avoid spoiling any further details of this terrible trap, but suffice to say it looks as though Batman is in serious trouble - and the build-up to Detective Comics #1000 should be unmissable.
Detective Comics #994 is on sale now from DC Comics.