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<Snipped quote by Byrd Man>

I win. I had "Jim Gordon" in the "What will be the first two words in @Byrd Man's Batman run?" pool...

The bitch of it was, I was betting in the pool too. Just couldn't stop myself.
Gotham Central
11 PM

Jim Gordon lit up a cigarette and took a deep drag off of it. He was trying to quit, but it felt so good to inhale the smoke and to feel the fire in his lungs. He blew a column of smoke into the air and watched it disperse into the night. The cigarette seemed to rejuvenate him slightly. He’d been at work for over fifteen hours now and was exhausted, running on nothing but caffeine for the last four of those fifteen hours.

He was on the rooftop of Central and listening to the nighttime sounds of emergency vehicle sirens warbling across the city. There was more chaos, always more, he would have to deal with, but that was a task for tomorrow. After he was done up here he’d go home and crawl into bed without even bothering to take his clothes off. In the morning, he’d wake up and go back in for another fifteen hours of punishment. That was what he did. Keep calm, carry on, and pray like hell the next day would be better.

“Smoking isn’t good for your health,” a voice rasped from behind Gordon.

“Neither is sneaking up on a man with a gun,” Gordon said without looking back. “I’m glad you got my message.”

“What have you got for me?”

“There’s a folder on the ground behind me.”

Gordon heard the scrape of boots and the rustle of fabric. He still didn’t look back. It wasn’t fear that made him look away, he’d seen him before after all, it was his own strange sense of morality. If Gordon didn’t see him, then he could at least defend his decision not to arrest him.

“SWAT found a cache of those weapons during a drug raid,” said Gordon.

His eyes tracked an ambulance speeding down a street ten blocks away with its lights flashing and siren blaring. Suddenly the sound cut off and the ambulance slowed to normal speed. He sighed as he blew smoke from his mouth.

“This is military grade hardware. Too high tech for these guys. Who owns the stash house your people raided?”

“Skeevers,” said Gordon. “Which means--”


“Or so we think. ATF is working with us on the weapons. They have a likely suspect. You ever go out into unincorporated Gotham much?”

“Not if I can help it.” A pause then he said. “Crusaders Motorcyle Club.”

“It’s sheriff’s territory,” Gordon said as he flicked the cigarette butt on the ground and stomped it out. “And the sheriff is hesitant to take on highly armed outlaw bikers. Can't say that I blame him. Regardless, my hands are tied. But yours?”

“Say no more.”

While he didn’t see or feel any movement, Gordon knew he was gone. That was how all their meetings worked. When he turned around, his suspicions were confirmed. He was gone, along with the folder that had been on on the ground.

“Good luck,” Gordon said to himself. “You’re going to need it.”


Gotham Palisades
11:21 PM

Rupert Thorne’s mansion was small by comparison. If Buckingham Palace was your comparison point. Less than five miles away from the Narrows, but it may as well have been on another planet. There was no trace of the junkies on the corner, doing the dope fiend lean as they shot up and fried what little brains they had left. No sign of the hookers who walked the streets, selling their bodies to feed themselves and their children. No dilapidated buildings with its copper piping and electrical wiring ripped out by money hungry fiends looking for a quick payday.

He never felt comfortable out here, given his line of work. The people out here were tantamount to American royalty with their fleets of cars, jets, and boats. Thorne’s people downtown peddled drugs, Thorne’s neighbors peddled Democracy to any third world country with finite natural resources to exploit. They robbed pension plans and left retiring employees penniless. Society condemned guys like Thorne and his men, saying they were the problem with America all the while the guy three houses down from him overthrew governments to avoid paying fifty cents on the dollar for exports. The only difference between Thorne's empire and the empires of business were that those criminal enterprises were deemed too big to fail by the government.

Thorne had a cuban cigar wedged in the fat fingers of his left hand. His right hand cradled the letter that had arrived earlier today inside a manilla envelope. He glanced out the window and could see the olympic sized swimming pool down below. He couldn’t remember the last time he swam in it. There was a good chance he never had. Just one of the many things he collected, a symbol of his status. But it was being used right now. Two of his security guards, muscle bound men just a step above gorillas in the evolution chart, had Arnie Fischer strung up over the water with a clothesline tied around his ankles. Water dripped off Arnie as he dangled in the air. Even from this far away Thorne could see his panicked breathing as he begged for mercy. Arnie was Thorne’s accountant, and this was all his fucking fault.

Thorne looked down at the papers in his hands. Photocopies of financial information that nailed him cold as the crime lord he actually was. Things that the police had been trying to get for years and had never been close to ever touching. Who the fuck had gotten it? The message that accompanied the photos was written on black paper with garish lime green ink. Thorne couldn't tell if the sloppy handwriting was a deliberate measure or not.


RiDDle ME ThIs:
What KIND of bIRD HAS wiNGs BuT doesn’t FlY?

ANSWER: A jailbirD
$$$$ 40,000 or EveryOne finds OUT WHAT I KNOW


Thorne gritted his teeth as he stubbed out his cigar into the letter.


Downtown Gotham
12:11 PM

“You come highly recommended, Ms. Kyle.”

Selina looked over her sunglasses at the fat, old man. They were sharing a table on the outside patio of the swanky coffee shop. Thorne looked Selina over like a piece of meat, the old man doing what he thought was a charming smile. She would have been creeped out by it, but he had bits of pastry flake on his tie and it made him more comically sad than anything.

“I do my job well, Mr. Thorne.”

“I can only imagine,” he said with a sleazy smile. “The only thing they wouldn’t tell me was your asking price.”

Selina sipped from her latte before answering.


“Forty thousand seems steep.”

“Percent. Whatever you want found, I get forty percent of it.”

Thorne frowned “It’s… it doesn’t work like that. What I want is only valuable to me.”

Selina spread her hands “Then forty percent of whatever it’s worth to you. That’s my price.”

“That’s highway robbery!”

“Then call the cops,” Selina said with a smirk. “But if you were able to call the cops, you wouldn’t reach out to a… procurement specialist like myself. And since it sounds like something pretty valuable to you, the longer you haggle the more my price goes up.”

Thorne put his balled up fists on the table. They were squeezed so tightly that they were beginning to turn white. As fun as it was to see him squirm, Selina knew that a delicate touch would be needed here on out if she wanted the job. All these rich, old men. For all their power and arrogance, they just couldn’t handle a woman even appearing to get the upper hand. It was time to put on the motherly concern.

“Start at the beginning, Mr. Thorne,” she said calmly. “Tell me what’s been taken and we’ll go from there.”

Selina listened intently as Thorne told his story. She wasn’t the only one interested in the tale. Inside the coffeeshop, a young man sat in front of a laptop with earbuds in. To passerbys he looked like another would-be writer trying to write a screenplay.

But Bruce Wayne’s earbuds were relaying to him every word of Thorne’s story. The small listening device embedded in the band of Thorne’s wristwatch had amazing sound quality. He was able to perfectly transcribe the details of what Thorne was saying. Since Falcone’s fall, Thorne had become top dog in the criminal underworld. Without the ties to the Italian Mafia, Thorne ran his criminal organization like a business. And like a CEO of a Fortune 500, Thorne kept trade secrets close to the vest. He was too careful. Compared to Falcone and Maroni, Thorne and his men had the discipline of monks. After a year of intense surveillance, Bruce was nowhere near finding any evidence that proved Rupert Thorne was a criminal kingpin.

But now?

Now there seemed to be a path to see Thorne thrown behind bars

He just had to make sure he beat Selina Kyle to it.
@Byrd Man Congratulations, you're the new Batman.

Somehow Byrd has infected every superhero GM with a microchip that forces us to like him.

It's just my winning personality.


@Byrd Man

You seem pretty eager. Heh.

I've got to go to bed, and with a ten hour workday ahead of me tomorrow you gotta strike while the iron is hot
This is like 95% a sheet I made four or five years ago.


C H A R A C T E R C O N C E P T:

"Every society gets the kind of criminal it deserves."
-- Robert Kennedy

C H A R A C T E R M O T I V A T I O N S & G O A L S:
Pretty much what I'm going for with Batman is an idea I've always had. Batman stripped of his money and years of training. People argue that while Batman is the most realistic of the superheroes, he's still a superhuman in a lot of ways. So I want to downplay his resources and make him more smarter, even more craftier, and using his brain and intellect to create workarounds to being a truly ordinary human. Also, I want to give him a bit of a Sherlock Holmes vibe, making the detective angle of Batman come to the forefront. Bruce is motivated by the same stuff he's always been motivated by. I think the different spin will help bring a new twist on things.

C H A R A C T E R N O T E S:

Commisioner James Gordon: supervisor of both the Special Case Unit (Anti-Batman Squad) and the Major Crimes Unit (Anti-Organized Crime) Batman's source inside the GCPD.

Alfred Pennyworth: British expat and former Royal Marine. Took Bruce under his wing after his uncle's death.

Lucius Fox: Manager of Wayne Tech

Harvey Dent: Assistant District Attorney, Batman's ally inside the Gotham DA Bureau.[



S A M P L E P O S T:

So I hate to do this, but I'm changing characters. I feel like I jumped into a character without a story, and now I'm struggling to really formulate one.

But I'm working on something else, so I'm not dropping out of the game all together or anything. Sorry for the trouble, but I'd feel bad establishing a character like Batman only to get stuck at the beginning and screwing over other people who are dependent on me.

Part I:
Down the Rabbit Hole

"But I don't want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked.
'Oh, you can't help that,' said the Cat: 'we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad.'
'How do you know I'm mad?' said Alice.
'You must be,' said the Cat, 'or you wouldn't have come here.'"
-- Lewis Carroll

French Riviera

Tresser watched Vertigo do a line of cocaine off the glass coffee table. They were in the opulent cabin on Vertigo’s yacht somewhere near Saint-Tropez. Vertigo snorted and rubbed his nose before shaking his head and collapsing back on the wall white leather couch.

“Careful,” said Tresser. “Too much and you won’t be able to get hard.”

Vertigo chuckled and grabbed his crotch.

“No need to worry, Tresser. For me, getting hard is so easy.”

Tresser resisted the urge to roll his eyes. With his accent and gaudy jewelry, Vertigo was the perfect picture of Eurotrash. He was from some small Eastern European country, a deposed noble who clung to his title of count like a drowning man clings to a life raft. Regardless of his boorishness, the title at least granted him some partial entrée into the European upperclass.

“How are our friends in New York, Tresser?”

Tresser shrugged. “The Campisis send their love, boss.”

“I can’t spend fucking love. What about their money?”

“I took care of it,” Tresser said with a slight sigh. “It wasn’t easy, but I think Angelo learned the hard way not to fuck with people with enough weapons to supply a standing army.”

Vertigo laughed and started to chop together another line with his black credit card.

“This is good shit,” Vertigo said after doing another line. “I need you back to America, Tresser. A potential business client will need wooing. You know of this Hub City?”

“Vaguely. It’s a real shit-hole.”

“Who cares?” Vertigo asked with a shrug. “Money spends regardless of where it comes from.”

Vertigo stood while Tresser started for the deck of the yacht. Two beautiful women in slinky dresses came from the cabin downstairs and wrapped their arms around Vertigo’s waist. He chuckled and said something to them in French, something that made them laugh, but not too hard do that they sounded disingenuous. That was the difference between top dollar call girls and the cheap ones.

“Call me when you are in Hub City and have made contact,” Vertigo said as he pulled his eyes away from the two hookers. “We’ll go from there.”


Tresser started to walk away as the two women began to undress.


O’Hare Airport

Tresser swiped his credit card and bought twenty-four hours worth of time on the airport locker. He placed a simple smartphone inside the locker and closed it up. Tradecraft dictated that someone would be by within the next day to collect the phone. The phone was only capable of data storage. On it was Tresser’s report on his movements over the last month.

Per the op guidelines, he never wrote anything down or left any evidence of his true identity where Vertigo could find them. He always bought a brand new laptop before boarding a plane. While in the air and cut off from almost all digital signals he would write up a report, put it on the dummy phone, and destroy the laptop's hard drive soon after landing.

The report chronicled Tresser’s activities in New York City, along with the meeting Vertigo and Tresser in Turin with some real-life Italian mobsters. It seemed Vertigo was eager to get in bed with 'Ndrangheta, one Europe’s oldest and most powerful criminal organization. If he could do that, then he’d really be playing in the big leagues. Maybe that would get him and Tresser in the room with the real people behind LEVIATHAN.

Tresser used his false passport and credit card to rent a car. Vertigo, for whatever reason, never wanted him to directly fly in to whatever city he was doing business in. He’d always fly into the next closest city and drive the distance. That worked fine in Europe, but in parts of the Americas and Eastern Europe it could eat up a whole day just driving.

The little red compact car was his chosen vehicle and he hit the interstate, a sign announcing that Hub City was a few hundred miles away.


Hub City

The lobby of the office building wasn’t much to look at. But then again, Hub City itself wasn’t much to look at. If you could imagine all the worse parts of Detroit and Chicago without any of those redeeming qualities, you got Hub. Treser had only been here once or twice, and only then he was just passing through to a bigger and better city.

When the man he was here to see finally let him into his office, it was as dumpy as Tresser was expecting. A few bookshelves half filled, cheap desk and cheaper computer. It looked like a CPA’s office. The man who occupied this office would never been expected to work with international arms dealers.

“I know what you’re thinking,” he said with a smile. “The surroundings are the point. No flash, no cash, no suspicions.’

He was middle aged, white with greying hair, and his suit was off the rack. A pair of reading glasses resting on the bridge of his nose helped with the CPA illusion. Tresser sat down across the desk from the man.

“You’re awfully trusting,” said Tresser. “To just invite me in to your office like this.”

“You’ve been vetted,” he said. “You and your boss are the real deal. Plus, if you are something like a cop I’m not too concerned. This office and the company who leases it are all registered in fake names. Shell companies within shell companies. I have many names, but nobody knows my real one. If you want to call me anything, you can call me Broker.”

“Okay, Broker. So why are you in need of my services?”

“Guns are my business. The past twenty years I’ve been selling weapons to the gangs in Chicago. Do you watch the news, Mr…”

“Thomas,” said Tresser. “Call me Thomas. And, no, I don’t want the news a lot. I prefer things with happy endings.”

“Right,” Broker said with a chuckle. “If you watched the news you’d see about Chicago. Politicians love to talk about the violence in the city, despite the strict gun laws. It’s a conservative talking point at this point. The problem with that talking point is that as strict as Chicago is with their laws, it doesn’t make a bit of fucking difference. It’s surrounded by Indiana and Michigan, places you can get a gun with no problem. So I buy guns in both states with straw purchasers, completely legal people who always pass background checks. Then I file the numbers off the guns and sell them to people in Chicago at double the amount I paid for them.”

Tresser tried his best to looked impressed. Broker was just another one of a long list of motherfuckers he wished he could put through a wall. The ops objective wasn’t to stop the influx of guns and violence in America. As fucked up as Vertigo’s business was, Tresser’s handler just saw it as a means to an end. They had no intention of shutting it down until Tresser could get intel on LEVIATHAN.

“It sounds like a pretty solid business,” said Tresser. “So why change it up?”

“I want to expand,” said Broker. “Into the other big cities in the midwest. Detroit, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Kansas City. I can’t do that with simple straw purchases. I need to up my supply to meet the incoming demand.”

“That’s where we come in, right?”


“I’ll have to touch base with my boss,” said Tresser. “But I think we can do business, Mr. Broker. Tell me what your needs are, and we’ll do our best to fulfill them.”


Tresser pulled his gun from the shoulder holster the second he walked into his motel room. There was supposed to be a splinter wedged in the doorjamb. He’d left it there after he went out to meet Broker.

He saw the figure sitting in the dark beside the lamp. It snapped on and he breathed a sigh of relief. His handler, Sarge Steel, had a jovial grin on his face. Even with the cool weather outside, Steel still wore shorts and flip flops.

“Read your report this morning,” he said with no preamble. “Forwarded the information about the mobsters over to Justice. Hopefully the FBI will be up on them in no time.”

“Why the fuck are you in my room?” Tresser asked as he holstered his gun.

“We needed to talk, ASAP. Can’t do it over the phone. Stopping you in the street would look suspicious as hell.”

Tresser sat down on the lumpy bed and faced Steel. The bed groaned slightly and sagged under his weight.

“What’s so important?”

“Your friend, Broker,” said Steel. “I assume your meeting with him went well.”

“It did,” said Tresser. “And how do you know about him already?”

Steel pulled a smartphone from his pocket and started to scroll through it in silence. When he found what he wanted, he passed it to Tresser. A mugshot of Broker was on the screen. A SHIELD logo in the corner of the photo.

“He’s on the government’s radar already. And I think you’re being led into a trap.”
<Snipped quote by Inkarnate>

I am not a 'stan'. I just happened to have grown up on Smallville and it has a large nostalgia factor but I can recognize its flaws and shortcomings.

I look forward to reading that sixteen volume work.
Given how great the Doom Patrol series currently is, I'm surprised no one here has taken them on!

Thought about it. But at the end of the day I had no new spins on the team that hadn't been done before.
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