The Dark Knights


October 22nd, 1970

October 22nd, 1970
by Vicki Vale

Following Carmine “The Roman” Falcone’s baffling testimony in court last month that his gang was assaulted by a “bat creature from hell” before their arrest, rumors in the Gotham gangland have shifted from Don Falcone’s apparent madness to a growing belief that there may be such a beast stalking our city’s criminal set from the shadows. Now coupled with exclusive eye-witness accounts I feel there is enough evidence to say with confidence the rumors are true. There is someone or something preying on Gotham’s predatory gangs. Who is this phantom? Is he a man? Is he a supernatural entity? Most importantly, what does he want?

All the evidence of the “creature’s” tussle with The Roman’s syndicate comes from eye witness accounts from the gangsters themselves, all of whom survived the encounter. The GCPD refused to officially comment at the scene of the crime, but did mention that there was no evidence another party was ever there. They found no fur or footprints or any blood that didn’t belong to one of the twelve apprehended criminals who were found unconscious and hogtied to streetlights in the warehouse district. Left in Don Falcone’s lapel, however, was a simple white card with a round black shape evoking a bat. Though on official record there is no proof this card wasn’t created by Don Falcone himself, it was upon being presented this card in interrogation that the usually stoic crimelord became erratic and began raving about the giant creature, as if he had forgotten the encounter in his trauma. While his account of the beast is steeped in religious connotations of a black demon sent by God, other members of his crew have even stranger accounts. Alphonso “Moose” Gimble, a towering man of 280 lbs of muscle, says he was knocked out by a “black shape” that he described as “living fabric.” One claimed the creature had “eyes glowing like coals” while another said “It had the face of a man but the top half was cut off.”

Since that trial the evidence has been mounting. The Gotham Ripper murders ceased four days after the defeat of the Falcone gang. A woman claims she was saved from assault in Circle Park by something with glowing eyes that “appeared out of nowhere and couldn’t be seen.” A fugitive from Blackgate Penitentiary woke up on the roof of Gotham Central with no way down and no idea how he got there. A purse nabbed by a thief was found later that night in the glove compartment of the owner’s car. Mixed in with the contents of the purse was two hundred extra dollars in cash and a card identical to the one from Falcone’s pocket. The “Terrible Trio” gang of masked hooligans was caught in Midway City at a dive bar where they were warning the locals to stay away from Gotham claiming it was “Bat Country now.” They are being held in Gotham for trial and are tight-lipped since their arrest.

Perhaps the strongest evidence is a hightened paranoia and veil of secrecy among Gotham’s criminal element. Men who were once on street corners bragging about their illegal conquests are now nowhere to be seen. In my search for eye-witness accounts of this bat creature, my answers came from an unlikely source; the innocent.

Dr. Leslie Thompkins has lived in the narrows since 1939 and has watched the neighborhood decay. A medical doctor during World War II, she set up the Park Row Clinic with the support of Thomas Wayne in 1949. “Thomas was a dear friend of mine, the staunchest man I’ve ever met. This city would not be in the state it is of he and poor Martha were still alive.” At the time of their murders Dr. Thompkins was romantically linked with the Waynes’ butler and was having dinner with him inside her home on Park Row and “can still hear the gunshots to this day.” Every year on the anniversary of their death she brings two roses to the alley behind the Cameo Theater and sets them at the scene of the crime. This year she dropped the roses as she looked up and beheld The Bat-Man. This is a Gazette exclusive:

“At first it just looked like a black mass, and then a bloodied teenager fell to the ground out of it, as if through a curtain. Then the black figure rose, and I realized it was a man wearing a great black cape. He had a strong chin, pointed horns like Satan, and these white triangular sort of eyes that scared the hell out of me. We stared at each other in silence for a while and then I shouted, ‘Who are you, what do you want?!’ I was reaching for my gun and he just sort of slipped backwards into the shadows slowly and spoke in a low whisper and said, ’I’m nobody. You are among the few that need not fear me. I want to save you from the horrors of this city. I’m Batman.’ Then there was a kind of a high pitched shriek and his cape flapping and I could only see his eyes at that point but he seemed to fly up on to the roof of the theater and was gone. I’ve never seen anything so terrifying in my entire life.” -Dr. Thompkins

So it seems our phantom is a man in a cape who calls himself “Batman.” If that’s the case how can he do the incredible things he does? A biologist at Gotham General Research Labs reached out to me with a theory that sounds bizarre at first, but just may connect all the dots.

“A fascination with vampire myths lead me to my work in hemobiology,” says Dr. Kirk Langstrom, "and anyone who’s grown up in Gotham has been told the old legends from the 18th century about… (continued on page 14)


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