Chapter Nine: Heart of Ice

While the Holiday Killer was holding Gotham City in his grip, many overlooked the story coming out of GothCorp. After all, corporate downsizing isn’t nearly as sexy as serial killing. The hypocrisy of CEO Ferris Boyle barely registered in the newspapers, and even then it only made page eight.

On December 28th Gotham City was honoring Ferris Boyle with it’s Humanitarian of the Year award for his numerous charitable donations. This came as a shock to many as they assumed Bruce Wayne would be a shoe-in for the prize. Wayne, however, came out in full support of Boyle. Even announcing that he would attend the dinner party in Boyle’s honor to congratulate Ferris personally.

Except Wayne never made it to the party. As Boyle took the stage to accept his award, reporters were already calling in the story. Wayne Snubs Boyle. Bruce Wayne, Liar? Broken Promises, the Legacy of Bruce Wayne. All of these headlines would have graced the morning paper if it wasn’t for the attack.

As Boyle smiles for the flashbulbs the building is hit with an immense weapon that begins slowly freezing it from the bottom up. A man in a mechanical suit helms the vehicular based firearm and soon Batman swoops in to do battle with this new foe. A sight that’s been growing more and more common since Batman’s arrival.

However, the headlines the next morning told the real story. Only the Gotham Weekly was left out of the loop, running the story “Batman Fights Mr. Zero” while the rest of the papers report on the files and footage delivered by the man calling himself Freeze.

The story ran in the Gotham Gazette and the Gotham Chronicle were almost identical. Corruption within GothCorp. Ferris Boyle embezzling millions. A researcher on the brink of curing the cancer killing his wife fired. His research buried. His attempt to steal his wife’s body. The Batman’s interference. A tragic accident. His new condition. His wife’s death. Batman’s guilt.

The sympathy for a man, desperately trying to save his wife, outweighed the support of a man trying to prevent a theft. When Freeze turned up outside of Arkham Asylum, willingly surrendering himself to their custody for his crimes, the city of Gotham began turning it’s back on the Batman. Again Gotham City found itself divided between those supporting the Batman and those calling for his capture.

Part One: Ignatius Gallow

The apartment smelled of stale cigar smoke and grease. Lana had kept me supplied with food while I waited. My few remaining capos dropped by once a week for orders and to drop off my cut. Most of the work they did these days was actually for Cobblepot, but they didn’t need to know that.

It was close to five now. Lana would be back from the Iceberg Lounge in an hour. I didn’t begrudge her for finding the work. The freaks have pushed me back so far that I’m more of a mercenary captain than a mobster anymore.

I’m not sure my heart is still in it. I have more than enough money to live comfortably. I could take Tryx away with me. Fuck this city.

The news flipped over to a report on Freeze. That made two who had turned themselves in. Two that the bat-men had put away. Two that I didn’t have to worry about anymore. The remains of the Family were under the Bat’s radar. He was making it safe for men like me to carve out our little kingdoms. It is nothing like what I once had, but at least I was still alive and not back in Blackgate.

I still hated the freaks. I still wanted my Family back. I still wanted back what is mine. I still wanted to put a bullet in Batman for what he did to Franky. But more and more often, I find myself rooting for him. The enemy of my enemy and all that.

Credits

Chapters written by Rob Justice
Igantious Gallow written by Steven A Skidmore

Posted in A City Without Hope.

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