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Who Needs a Batman When You Have a Rorschach?

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Miller is exhausted. A long day working at TF29, dealing with MacReady yelling in his face about electrical wires starting to seep out of the bathroom ceiling, Aria reporting to him about a missing sniper rifle, and Chang constantly on his ass about needing to change the security codes in the main office, again! Miller just had his computer password changed! Why are things so difficult? He rubs his forehead and adjusts the bag of groceries to sit more comfortably on his arm. Whatever happened today will not matter in about twenty minutes. When he gets home, he’s going to put this big juicy steak in the skillet and cook it to perfection, which is medium-rare. To Miller, there’s no other way to eat steak.

As he’s passing by, he couldn’t help but overhear Eliza Cassan on one of the TV displays next to him. He turns to look at the picture of a man with wild black hair, shaggy beard, baggy eyes, and so many other things that make Miller nervous. Not just the looks, but the way he’s dressed. Holes in his long sleeve shirt, half his pants ripped off, and an arm blade that looks like it can’t retract. That molecular blade will cause severe damage to people’s limbs if it’s not taken care of. Poor guy. Miller couldn’t help but feel sorry for him.

Another attack today by this wanted vigilante. This time at the Red Queen. Taking matters into his own hands, he mercilessly used his weaponized augmentations to strike down a long-time owner of the Red Light district’s night club. As you can see here, she’s suffering from a massive head wound that can only be made by an augmented weapon mounted on the arm. Why would this man do such a thing to this poor woman? Well, let me tell you, folks, that being the owner-

Miller’s had enough of this AI’s manipulation. He walks passed the monitors to get to his apartment building. He’s interrupted by a police detective, who stops him from going in the front door. What’s the meaning of this? Tiredly, the detective explains that there’s been a murder in this building, and nobody can enter or leave till the scene is cleared up. That’s not fair! He has a steak that needs to be cooked, and milk that needs to be put in the fridge! The detective is unfazed. He points to the wall where others are leaning against, assuming for him to go wait over there. Miller does so, huffing. He recognizes a few people, he thinks. An old woman with glasses reading a Samizdat tablet like she’s taking every word in as thought, and some men in suits that don’t like the fact their arms deals have been interrupted. On second thought, Miller rather sneak in from the other side. No risk of getting killed.

Taking the bait, Miller does go around the back. As he figured, the back doors are also taped off with police tape. Great, and here he thought he would get in. He should’ve known better; the Prague police here are either trigger happy or rule enforcement happy. Rubbing his temple, he decides to go under the tape and at least peak inside to see if there are any cops by his side of the staircase. There are none, and that’s a good thing. He goes to open the door all the way to only be caught off by two Dvali thugs that grab him from behind. He goes to scream and throw a punch, but he’s easily knocked in the back of the head. His vision is blurring, and the voices around him are fading.

The next thing Miller knows is he’s hearing screaming and the sounds of something being pierced. Going into an unconscious trance, he stares at an extended arm blade by his face and a hole in a steel toe boot showing off black augmented feet. This can’t be good. He’s being lifted, thrown over someone’s shoulder, and his bag of groceries being carried by this same person. Who’s his savior? When he wakes up, he finds himself in an old rundown apartment. From the looks of it, it’s no longer in working order. Not that over half of Prague is in working order, but this takes the cake of “working”. There are empty cereal boxes all over the floor, and cockroaches are scurrying away when a window opening to the setting sun blinds him.

The man, this man, when Miller gets a good look at him using a Biocell powered stove, he’s astonished to find he’s the same God damn man from the news. Rugged, Shaggy, focused expression-it’s the same God damn guy from the television, and he so happens to be cooking his steak! Hey! Miller gets up and goes over to the man, still lightheaded from the knock out, falls to his knees, right next to the vigilante. The other seems to be unfazed by all this. Shrugging, the man moves the spatula under the steak and flips it. It’s nearly fully cooked! How dare he! Miller glares at the man before him, as if he’s committed sin.

Sinful or not, the steak is going to be damn delicious, and it’s finished! The broken armblade stabs into the steak and pulls it out of the pan. Flipping it with a nifty trick onto a paper plate. Miller looks on in awe as the blade does some neat tricks that involve dicing the steak into cubes. Then he goes for the ketchup Miller bought. No! He watches him in horror as the imperfect steak is being ruined by red tomato paste! That’s it! Miller takes his food away, snubbing him off. He knows he’s acting ridiculous to the guy that saved his life and can hear the man’s stomach grumbling. Sighing, he places the plate back in front of the hungry man. He’ll just go munch on the oranges-wait! Where are his oranges? He turns to see that they’re already peeled and on two plates. An offering of some sorts, more like a peace treaty that wants to be shredded into 50,000 pieces and thrown into a fire of a thousand suns.

Miller’s own stomach starts to bark at him, saying no to throwing it into a catalyst! No use defying himself now. He sits down, takes his share of the steak and oranges, and starts to eat. Not bad. Ok, he can get used to the idea that ketchup on steak is not an original sin. He’s even given a plastic cup filled with milk! That’s right. His milk is going to go bad if they don’t drink it now. Between the two, they probably could chug the thing in no time. Now, only if they can make small talk. Miller opens his mouth to introduce himself, hoping to get a response in return. He does, but it’s one of skepticism, but he does introduce himself as a guy that goes by Adam Jensen; and then tells him not to get too nosey and ask anymore questions. Miller respects that. He’s not in the mood to talk anyways!

After they’re done, Miller pulls open his grocery bag and takes out a small bag of chocolate chip cookies, his guilty pleasure. He cracks it open, and instantly Adam, the hound is on him like a kid running into a candy store demanding for all the sugar in the world! Scooting back till he reaches the wall, he looks on in horror. Adam is over his body, glaring at him, and down at the bag of cookies. Miller offers him the bag. Adam lets out a small smile, and takes the bag, winking at Miller. He scoots to sit down next to him, offering him his own bag of cookies. Since when does permission need to be granted when the stuff belongs to said owner? This should be the opposite! He contemplates the destiny he’s been forced to accept. Chocolate Cookie dunking in milk is something he’ll be happy to live with.

Adam moves his stuck armblade around, explaining to Miller that he can’t get his blade to dissipate. Something is crosswire in the chip in his head that’s making his commands mute. Almost as if tingling in the hands become numb from pinched nerves and take a few days to heal. However, it’s been over a few days, and nothing has changed. He doesn’t know where to go to get the service he needs. In fact, he doesn’t even know why he’s here. One day he just woke up in this abandon apartment with no memory of how. One minutes he’s somewhere floating in a very cold ocean, wanting to die, and next, teleported memory blocked to a dirty place as this. Miller doesn’t know what to say to that. That’s one big memory gap since the incident. He doesn’t prod Adam any further, at least not about past events. He only mentions about a man he knows that can help him that goes by the name of Václav Koller, a native to the streets of Prague and runs the best underground market illegal money can buy! Adam couldn’t wait. He really didn’t have anything else to lose, and he reluctantly agrees to this. He just hopes Koller won’t probe in his head too long. He hates being under, makes him feel trapped in a water of darkness.

The sun sets. Perfect for Adam to go out with Miller to find this secret lab that Koller has. The only problem is the nightly patrol that has increased due to Adam’s antics of getting rid of filth. Miller means to ask him about that. He does and is only rewarded with a glare through those sunglasses, or should he say: one of the shades. This man is beaten down to his last Biocell that he had to use it just to cook up a steak that didn’t belong to him. He can’t even imagine the Neuropozyne shots this guy has missed. Probably all out by now. Miller didn’t see any when he stayed in the apartment. He does have some spares at home he keeps around just for emergency situations such as Aria’s…maybe he can supply him some? If the man is going to go through the withdrawal syndromes, he’ll be showing any hour now with his sluggish movements.

Adam peeks around the corner. Two with no set patrols and talking to one another about how Aug’s are becoming much more of a pain in their ass since Adam’s arrival. Apparently, Adam’s rise against the oppressor’s caused a bit of a stir among the desperate few. He’s not proud of it. He doesn’t want anyone to get hurt, even if it’s for a good cause. Innocents can get caught in the crossfire. He knew what happened at the train station bombing, he read it on the news, he…looks up when he sees Miller standing next to him with a concerned look. He’s holding open an umbrella and places it over both their heads. Adam is grateful. He doesn’t like the rain anymore. Reminds him of the time in the ocean where the frigid waters nearly killed him. The only saving grace is the health implant inside of him. It helped him breathe, it helped him stay alive. Seems like anything wet might trigger this memory he wants to suppress.

Now, Miller is going to be the one to keep him alive. They sneak around the guards to get to a place called The Time Machine, Koller’s bookstore. Recently it’s been ransacked by a couple of Dvali thieves that wanted to know why Koller missed his last appointment with their main boss. Safe to say, Koller hid below to escape their destruction. His bookstore didn’t make it out without cuts and bruises. The two go through the front door, Miller shakes the umbrella outside, and closes it up, dumping it in the umbrella holder next to the door. He looks around, the bookstore has its workers working around the clock getting it back into shape. One behind the counter going through old books to see what needs replacing and what can be fixed, while three others are repairing furniture and placing tablets and books back where they go. Adam spins the golden globe on one of the desks. He’s curious why New Zealand is not in its proper place?

Miller walks up to one of the cashiers. He asks for Koller and says its urgent, points to Adam behind him who picked up a Prague cookbook. Probably wants to learn how to butcher more steak. The cashier quirks her eyebrow, wondering if she’s seen him somewhere before. Miller gets nervous when she hesitates but makes a call on the company phone anyways.  A few seconds later she hangs up and points upstairs where Koller’s office is. They thank her and proceeded to his office, which is mostly untouched, minus a few papers here and there. Koller jumps up from his seat and greets the two, hugging Miller, welcoming him back, and thanking him for buying all that Nu-Poz off him the other day. Miller tells him to focus on the customer next to him. He does! His eyes light up in sparkles and starts studying the aug as if he were a volcanic science project ready to erupt glitter out of the top.  

He’s so beautiful! Koller makes a remark to Miller that he’s a lucky man to have found someone this pretty! Miller tells him to concentrate on making him better, or he’ll have Prague police in here in no time if he makes another snide comment about who he’s compatible with. Yeah, Adam’s cute, but he needs a shower and is overdue for a haircut. Plus, he’s running a secret basement operation here. When will he find the time to date?

Koller waves off Miller’s threats. He goes over to the side of the wall, pulls out a red book, and the two bookcases open to reveal an elevator. Miller shivers at the sight. This whole damn place has always been creepy to him. He gets in and urges Adam to do the same. Adam points his armblade at Koller’s neck, daring for him to try anything. Koller raises his hands up in surrender and promises he’ll not do anything to the man without asking for permission first. Adam seems to be satisfied with that and lowers his arm. He looks to his side to see a collection of black-market augmented arms sitting in a container. He thinks this is some crazy business going on here. Oh, he spoke too soon. When he gets off the elevator and sees the ones dangling from the ceiling? He had a choice to make: kill Miller and Koller for bringing him here to experiment on, or burn the lab to the ground, and watch the two idiots scream out in pain while slowly dying. Both were looking good.

Easy, Adam! Miller takes his hand and leads him to the chair. He’s been in here a few times with Aria to know what’s going to happen. Koller is prepping away with what he needs to open Adam’s head, and figure out what pinched component in his chip that is making him not able to control his arm augmentation. Adam is still unsure. He sees all the dried blood around and wonders how many people died here. Koller thought he be a funny man when he told him at least two people have died in his chair in the last two days, but people still love him enough to come back to him. He nearly had a stab right through his throat, and he wouldn’t have to worry about anyone trying to kill him anymore.  

Miller glares at Koller for the insensitive comment. What a jerk! He sits down on a stool that by the entrance to the sewers. Seeing a green ale next to him, he helps himself. Koller mocks Miller’s drinking choices as that’s not an Aussie’s natural drink. Miller told him he could supply his foot up his ass if he wants to know how hard an Aussie can kick. Koller didn’t respond back after that. He just goes back to Adam, who’s sitting uncomfortably in his chair. Going under starting now! Once under, Koller scans his head. He finds the “pinch” where the nerve is almost instantly. With a delicate procedure he’s able to rewire the chip to coexist at 100% capacity with his brain. Something just threw itself out of calibration. Once finished, he closed Adam’s head back up with a couple of stitches.

Screams can be heard from upstairs. Koller and Miller hear gunfire following that. Someone’s getting shot at! The two quickly go back up the elevator to see what’s going on. Koller peeks through the door of his front office to see more Dvali thugs have entered his place of business, and one of his employees is lying face down on the ground with blood around him! Shit! Koller pulls back and motions for Miller to go back in the elevator. When they’re back in the basement they see that Adam is awake, retracting his armblade. Good! The procedure worked! He looks at them, asking what’s with all the commotion upstairs. Koller tells him that the thugs from earlier have come back to kill him! Sighing, Adam stands up, goes to the elevator, and casually waits for his ride to finish. The doors open, and he’s staring right at the murderers. One’s even laughing. He can’t believe that the vigilante of Prague is standing right there! What a perfect money-making bounty this is!

The laughing continues. They go to fire, but Adam is too quick. He knocks the guns out of their hands and uses his killer blades to stab them both in the heart. He pulls back, watching the blood bleed out of their chest as they’re seizing. Serves them right. Adam steps over them and looks down at the worker who lost their life due to these evil men. Squinting, He makes a move towards the front door, he sees the female cashier from the entrance look at him with instant regret. His CASIE is going off. The rise of her blood pressure and heart rate due to fear. He doesn’t want to kill her, everyone makes these kinds of decisions when they’re threatened by these monsters. Pushing her roughly to the side, he makes his way out the door. Miller in toe after him. He’s not going to thank the man that saved his arm?

Why should he, Miller? The favor has been returned when he saved your life! Not worth to mention, but Miller needs to be grateful. He follows him all the way to where the Red Light District starts. He has a bad feeling about this. Dvali gangsters move their attention away from their cigarettes when they see Adam. A few even pull out their pistols, aiming at the aug to back away, right in the middle of the street. Miller goes to drag him away, Adam refused to budge. He pushes Miller down and goes to charge in like a maniac. Armblade out and slicing away at combat rifles, and his TITAN shield is up. Miller has no idea what’s going on, or what the Hell Koller did to the augmented man while he rendered him unconscious. All he sees is violent bloodshed, and the territory beyond crying out in pain.

Then it occurs to Miller that Adam doesn’t have a single Biocell on him. God damnit, Jensen! Miller rushes to where the old opera house lies, passing unconscious and dead bodies in his wake. He refuses to look at them. His only concentration is on the man causing the massacre. He does get there, eventually, when Jensen is hunched over on the stage, out of breath. Miller bends over to catch his breath as well. Are those the two crime bosses? Jesus Christ, what is going on? Where did he get that healing item from? He’s plugging the cell into his systems, giving him some augmented energy. Does he look hurt? No. Covered in another person’s blood? Yes. What is Miller going to do now? He walks up to Adam with his finger pointed at him, telling him that he must arrest him for murder. Adam lets out a laugh, comments that he’s here to give justice to those who need it. Miller must remind him that this isn’t a Batman tale. No, Jensen reminds him this is a Rorschach one.

God dammit it all, again. Miller grabs onto Jensen’s arm, and drags him out of the building, through the back-alley way, and traveling the long way in the sewers just to reach his apartment. By then, the cops are all gone, and he’s free to enter his apartment. He does so and would feel good to be home if this man didn’t just kill so many people in front of his own two eyes. He motions for Adam to get to the bathroom and get a bloody shower. He complies. Feels good to have a shower. He doesn’t remember the last time he’s had one. The blood and dried dirt fall off him and down the sink. The feeling doesn’t fade when he washes his shaggy hair. The steam quickly covering the shower doors. Pity for Miller, because he just entered with fresh towels and a pair of scissors. He’s going to cut that hair when he gets out!

Due time he does get out and is greeted with the said clippers for his hair and beard. Taking the bead trimmer he shaves all the extra rugged hair. Going back to his natural pointed look. Hs retracts his shade and tears that off. He’s going to need a new set of frames. Afterwards, he gets dressed in a pair of baggy pants and long sleeve shirt. A knock on the door signals that Miller is coming in. He opens it up to see a giddy smile. Oh, he can’t wait to do this! He gets behind Adam, grabs the scissors and starts snipping away at his hair. Only the bangs are the longest strands. He cuts those up to Jensen’s eyes. He figures the man wants to slick them back with hair gel. Smart man. Once finished, Adam takes some gel Miller has lying around, and swoops back his hair. Cracking his neck, he turns to Miller, and thanks him.

Miller waves him off. Telling him it’s nothing and makes a joke that he must turn himself into a wanted fugitive now for the mass killing. Adam shrugs, saying this is day-to-day job. Some people deserve to die, and the Dvali gang are those people. Great, now what’s Miller going to tell Black and the others back at work? That the guy he just styled killed away all their problems? Yeah, that’s going to go well for everyone. He can hear MacReady’s voice now, chewing him out for not calling for backup from the Prague police or himself. They live in the same building. Wait, they live in the same building! That means Mac is going to hear everything on the news and stop by any minute now. He must hide Jensen!

As if the dreaded curse blew into Miller’s thoughts, there he is at the front door, none other than his right-hand man, Duncan MacReady. He looks worried, and of his legs are shaking. Doesn’t look like he’s alone either. His girlfriend and teammate, Aria Argento, is standing next to him, giving him a patting comfort on his shoulder. Why did he bring her into this? Is it already all over the news? He shoves Adam into his bedroom and tells him not to come out till everything is cleared. Adam is about to protest, but the door is slammed in his face. He quickly goes down stairs, right past the TV where Eliza is talking about the massacre and opens the door to his comrades. He’s greeted by a hug from Aria. He returns the hug, doesn’t want to be rude here. He welcomes them inside and goes to make them some tea. Ignoring the fact that he doesn’t see Adam coming down the stairs and into the kitchen. He’s hungry or maybe thirsty, again.

Aria sits down on the couch with Mac, holding onto his hand, and letting him know that everything’s going to be alright. What they saw on the television is different from what Miller is now. Miller isn’t dead, and he’s alive and well. They just must convince Miller to give a police report, or at least let their director, Joseph Manderley, know what’s going on. A rogue aug is on the loose and needs to be brought to justice. Mac mentions the fact that if he ran into the Hanzer now, he would cuff him, and drag him through the streets to let them know that Interpol doesn’t take murder aug’s lightly. Aria lets him know that’s good and all, but they don’t want to cause anymore uproars among the augmented community, and she nudges him for the augmented comment, seeing she’s augmented herself. He feels guilty and apologizes for the sentiment. He knows not all aug’s are bad.

Miller turns around with two cups of tea to see Jensen standing right in front of him. He jumps out of his shoes, dropping the mugs. Adam is quick to catch them, only spilling some of the contents on the floor. He’ll clean that up later. Miller glares at him and snatches the two mugs away. He’s mad that this man purposely left the bedroom to scare the shit out of him! All because he’s thirsty! Adam steps aside and goes to grab some whiskey out of the cabinet. While the guests drink tea, he’s going to go for the hard stuff. Miller mentally prepares himself when he goes back to Mac and Aria. They look at him with questionable eyes. Why are the mugs only partially full? He makes up an excuse that he tripped over the tiles. They believe it. He’s had a very hard night after all.

Aria sets her empty mug down first and turns to Miller. She wants to ask what happened? He’s on the video footage captured by a drone that have been remotely hacked before Jensen went in and slaughtered everyone. Is that another one of Jensen’s new augmentations? Miller shakes his head. He told them that he ran, behind cover, and away to get help. Mac doubts him, because a few eye witnesses said they saw him running in after Jensen. How the Hell did Mac get his hands on the police report so quickly? He doesn’t have an answer for that! Quick! Make up a story about saving a little girl that Adam knocked over! He’s about to, then Eliza’s voice pops back up again after it’s booster bar commercial break.

Suspect is still at large and is armed with enough explosives and heated material in his trained brain to level an entire city, folks. I have photos of the scene taken moments after the massacre. Keep in mind, viewers, this might be unsuitable for children’s eyes. Keep them covered, and report to state police if you have any information on this murdering vigilante! This is Eliza Cassan, reporting to you live, from PICUS.

That’s unusually short and straight to the point. No one’s complaining. Everyone’s just sitting here in awkward silence while Jensen is in the kitchen trying to get drunk. No matter how much he drinks, it doesn’t stick long enough for a good buzz.  Mac wants to leave, and Aria doesn’t want to admit coming here is a bad idea. Why did she offer the solution again? Oh yeah, because she’s a good friend. Standing up, she gives Miller an apology for barging in on him like this. He says it’s fine. He’s thankful that he has comrades, no, friends, to check up on him. Gives him a little bit of faith in humanity. He shakes their hands and escorts them out. He quietly locks the door and makes his way to the kitchen. A certain augmented killer needs a talking and yelling too.

He goes to raise his voice but is silenced by Jensen’s finger. Adam is in the middle of drinking here, and the couple is still outside the door. He can tell with that augmented vision of his. Miller grumbles and leans against the island counter with his arms crossed over his chest. This dumb night is now turning into a smart nightmare. What else can go wrong? Jensen answers that. He turns to him and asks if he can stay here for the time being. Miller looks like he wants to scream at him no! But Jensen did save all their butts back at the bookstore. Gritting his teeth, he allows it, but Jensen must sleep on the couch. Adam shrugs. He stands in front of Miller with another glass, whiskey on the rocks. He takes it and gulps it down in one go.

Adam is impressed with how much the older man can drink! He’s not buzzed! Amazing! Miller goes on about how he used to have drinking games with his buddies back in the Australian Civil War. He never lost, but that’s because he never went up against an augmented man that has an energy converter shoved in their body. Miller agrees to that. The two went to the couch and sat down, turning off the TV. They didn’t want to hear the news reporter anymore. That doesn’t mean tension still isn’t in the air. Adam turns to Miller, and Miller turns to face Adam. Both sitting close, and Adam’s hand is touching the other’s knee. Before they know it, they’re kissing, and hands are wondering up their shirts.

They both get undressed. Miller is thankful he’s first as he hasn’t taken a shower yet. Adam is sitting on top of him, with his hands placed next to Miller’s shoulders. They’re both naked, ready to. One problem: There’s no lubrication or condoms down here. Miller sits up, tells them they can take this to the bedroom where all the supplies are. Adam agrees. They rush up the stairs, into Miller’s bedroom, and back in the sack they go. Hands are interlocked, kisses are sloppy, and they’re both wondering who’s going to be the dominate one here? The power of illusion shifts to Miller. Adam let him win. He’s too tired to argue, and he just wants a quick fuck before he leaves tomorrow morning. He can’t stay in Prague, he’ll put Miller at risk.

Miller grabs the lubricant and condom out of the nightstand. Getting himself ready with the said items and giving Adam’s hole some neglected pleasure. Adam spreads his legs wide for tonight. He’s missed this too. He can’t remember the last time he’s had a decent lay. With Megan or Pritchard? Doesn’t matter anymore. Miller has his penis aligned up with Adam’s entrance, and slowly pushes himself in. Biting back a moan of pain, he forgets how painful the start of this can be. He grips the sheets, calming himself down, and lets Miller rock himself slowly into him, while stroking the other’s member, enjoying that look of bliss he’s all too familiar with on his partner’s face.

No pain, no torture, nothing. There’s no more pain, and no more feelings. They’re wild in the sack, legs are thrown over the shoulder, and kisses are becoming more heated. If there are any feelings being displayed its been long dropped in the trash can. They came here in this bed with no emotional attachments with one another. Tightness grows between them both. They’re satisfied, fulfilled, and the tension decreases with their heavy breathing. Miller is expecting Adam to cuddle up to him, like his ex-husband did. He didn’t. Adam removed himself from the bed, grabs his clothes, and gets dressed.

Miller shouldn’t be hurt like this. It’s been a long time since he’s had sex with anyone or have any close contact with him. Adam looks at him, he sees that puppy dog face. Guilty? Maybe. He tells Miller that he can’t stay till morning, they’ll grow attached to each other, and that’s something neither of them needs right now. Miller asks him if they’ll see each other again? Adam lies, he tells him yes. Miller sees right through it. Adam’s only letting Miller hear what he wants to hear till morning. He turns on his back, not facing the augmented man, and not giving him any good-byes. He waits till Adam leaves before cleaning up the bed, throwing the pillow at the wall in sadness. He needs a shower…

By morning, Miller is up for breakfast. Ready to start his day at trying to heal his miserable heart. He opens the fridge to see a container filled with an already made breakfast, he just needs to take it out and heat it up. Pulling out the container, he looks in it, and sees a note, pulling it open he reads it. It’s from Adam, with his frequency number to his I-link, and not to be a stranger. This brings a little bit of joy to Miller’s heart. There might be no Batman in this Rorschach, but there is at least one to call when he needs to talk to someone, and that’s good enough for Miller.