"Guided by Darkness": At the bottom of Gotham Harbor, Batman intercepts a team of divers hoping to steal the Penguin's money from the ruins of his safe in the sunken Iceberg Casino. He continues his campaign against thugs employ
- Jail? Does he actually believe that any of my men would spend even a minute behind bars? Does he not understand that the Gotham City Police Department is just another part of a city firmly under my control?
Synopsis for "Guided by Darkness"
At the bottom of Gotham Harbor, Batman intercepts a team of divers hoping to steal the Penguin's money from the ruins of his safe in the sunken Iceberg Casino. He continues his campaign against thugs employed by Carmine Falcone throughout the night. Soon, the Roman gets word of the many failed operations, and the Batman's warning that this will only be the beginning. The Roman will pay for what he's done - including the attack on the subway station for which he framed Jim Gordon. The Roman is unconcerned, though. The Gotham City Police Department is already so rife with corruption that not a single one of his employees would ever spend a moment behind bars.
Among those members of the GCPD are Harvey Bullock and recent transfer Jason Bard, who are unsure how to handle the delivery of criminals caught by Batman the previous night. The orders from interim commissioner Jack Forbes are to let them go. Forbes refuses to recognize Batman, and the city prosecutor has no authority to prosecute criminals brought in by a vigilante. Forbes' command, though, comes at the cost of a gang war across Gotham City that is worsening. Unable to bring the men in and keep their jobs, Harvey and Jason decide to just leave the men tied up, and let them fend for themselves.
In response to the attacks against him, the Roman calls up Forbes and warns that their plan to teach the Batman a clear lesson will have to happen tonight. He must be taught that the city no longer belongs to him.
In the Batcave, Bruce is interrupted in his training by Alfred, who has seen the preliminary research that his ward has been doing on Hong Kong. Bruce has learnt that Carmine Falcone went there after he left Gotham those years ago, and he built himself an unrivalled criminal empire there. For some reason, though, he returned to Gotham. Knowing what happened there might give some insight into what the Roman is planning to do now that he's back. While helping to investigate, Alfred discovers that none of the catches that Batman made the previous night resulted in arrests, despite numbering nearly two-dozen thugs. Bruce suspects Forbes had a hand in that.
Lieutenant Bard stops by the scene of a shooting two days after the fact, only to encounter Vicki Vale of the Gotham Gazette waiting for him. He offers comment that the three deaths there were seemingly unrelated to the ongoing gang war. He explains that he has come to set a pair of fresh eyes on the scene, in the hopes of explaining what happened there. There were no witnesses, according to Vicki, nor any leads thus far. Bard suspects that whomever the killers were chasing likely knew more than they were supposed to know.
Two days earlier, Stephanie Brown had been in that very phone booth waiting for help from her mother, whom she had called to warn of her father's involvement with some kind of crime ring. When he realized she'd discovered it, he tried to kill her, and now she's on the run. Unfortunately, Stephanie's mother was in on it, and warned Arthur of their daughter's numerous phone messages. They would have to deal with their daughter. Arthur had already sent men to handle it, but when they drove by and riddled the phone booth with bullets, Stephanie had only just left so that someone else could use it. Three innocent people were shot as a result, and she barely escaped.
Vicki is impressed by Jason's candour and his philosophy of justice, but she wonders how that philosophy applies in the face of the gang war - and the GCPD's apparent lack of intervention. He refuses to comment, explaining that he wouldn't give off-the-record information to a reporter he hasn't built any rapport with. The sexual tension palpable, Vicki suggests that they will have to get to know each other better. After a brief interruption in the form of a call from Forbes, Jason suggests they go on a date that evening.
That night, Jason protests that he doesn't approve of the Commissioner's plan. Naturally, Forbes states flatly that he doesn't care as he flips the breaker that activates the Bat-Signal. Batman soon sees the signal, and though Alfred advises him against it, he insists on going to investigate, unaware that Forbes has arranged a riot squad to bring him down on the roof.
Standing off with Forbes, Batman explains that while Forbes is a different kind of man than Jim Gordon, there is no reason the two can't come to an understanding. He can help maintain the peace and keep criminals off the street. Forbes responds that he considers Batman a criminal, and wants him off the street. Suddenly, Jason calls for D-Unit to fire a round of smoke grenades, flooding the roof with thick smoke. Soon, Batman has taken down a number of officers and escaped, after sharing a glance of understanding with Jason Bard.
Afterward, Forbes destroys the Bat-Signal, effectively crushing the last vestiges of Jim Gordon's leadership. Then, he turns on Bard for his impulsive move that resulted in his plan's failure. Jason lies that he got nervous and choked, earning him more attention from Forbes for the future than he'd likely want. Fortunately, he has identified himself to Batman as a potential ally, at least. But even with him on Bruce's side, the rest of the department will be hunting him. However, Bruce doesn't intend to be in Gotham much longer. In order to understand what brought Carmine Falcone back to Gotham from Hong Kong, Batman is going to pay a visit to Hong Kong.
Upon his arrival there, he is recognized from afar by a woman who notes that his presence is going to complicate her plans.
Appearing in "Guided by Darkness"
- Cluemaster (On a TV or computer screen) (Flashback only)
- Crystal Brown (Flashback only)
- Falcone Gang
- Jim Gordon
- Julia Pennyworth (First appearance; unnamed)
- Gotham Gazette (Mentioned only)
- Interpol (Mentioned only)
- Penguin (Mentioned only)
- United States of America
- This issue is reprinted in Batman Eternal Vol. 1.