'Batman: The Dark Knight' #23.1 'The Ventriloquist': First look at cover and 5 pages

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After being announced in June, Villains Month at DC Comics has nearly arrived. In September, the most gruesome villains in the DC Comics universe will overtake all of the company's New 52 titles. The first baddie getting the spotlight in "Batman: The Dark Knight" is the current incarnation of The Ventriloquist, a Batman foe going back to the 1980s.

Each version of The Ventriloquist uses their puppet to kill. The current Ventroloquist, Shauna Belzer, stole hers from an entertainer at a children's party and went on to become a crazed killer.

The issue will detail her origin story and what led her to become the psychotic murderer she is. It will also explore the possibility that either Belzer or the dummy has telekinetic powers and discover which one is truly in control.

The cover shows a horrifying scene, with Belzer and her dummy, Ferdie, standing in front of a tied up Caped Crusader and a series of dummies hanging from nooses, resembling various characters in the Batman universe.

The issue is written by Gail Simone, with art by Derlis Santacruz. Other villains who will be featured in the "Dark Knight" during this special month are Mr. Freeze, Clayface and the Joker's Daughter.

'Batman: The Dark Knight' #23.1 'The Ventriloquist' is in stores September 4. Check out the cover and first five pages below:

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Photo/Video credit: DC
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