"The Freedom of Madness" is written by Doug Moench and drawn by Jim Aparo with a cover by Kelley Jones. This prelude to "Knightfall" begins with a sneak attack on a U.S. armory led by the murderer known as Bane. Stingers and other weapons are taken, leaving the Gotham City police wondering who's planning to start World War III. Bane's target is the lunatic asylum known as Arkham where the most dangerous criminal psychotics are imprisoned. One by one the asylum's defenses fall and the crazies take over, led by the worst of them all, the Joker.
To make things worse, Bane airdrops in cases of rifles allowing the inmates to fight back against the guards and the surrounding police. As the Joker takes the asylum director Jeremiah Arkham prisoner, Batman makes his move, just as Bane predicted. Freezing out Robin and Jean Paul (the man later known as Azrael), the Darkknight Detective enters the maw of madness alone, dropping in behind the walls. Faced with a choice of allowing dozens of crooks loose in the streets or saving the life of the director, Batman knows he has no option. As the work of years of pain and struggle is washed down the drain with each villain back on the streets, Batman is left puzzling over who set them free and why!