- It is not a crime to demand honest wage for honest work.
- -- Batman
Appearing in "The Golden Streets of Gotham"
Synopsis for "The Golden Streets of Gotham"
Bruno Vanekow, a laborer, returns to his home in Gotham City after working on the railroad for a number of years. He finds that both of his parents burned alive in a large industrial fire caused by the negligence of their boss, one Joseph Chillingham, a symptom of the terrible conditions for workers and the lower-class in Gotham at the time.
Determined to find something he can do in his parents' memory, Bruno begins looking for evidence against Chillingham, who cast the entire blame onto his foreman Jack Smart, believed to have perished in the fire as well. Through Barbara Gordon, a local reporter he meets in the courthouses, he is introduced to Selina Kyle, local Union Organizer and the Mayor's daughter. A discussion with her about workers' rights inspires Bruno to begin seeking justice for himself.
Bruno begins robbing the rich to help provide the poor with necessities. To mask his identity, he takes a Bat costume from the first house he robs, that of Chillingham himself. He also attends union meetings, led by an unknown individual who wears the mask of a Cat. Meanwhile, a serial killer begins stalking and murdering lower-class women.
Inadvertently, while waiting in his flat to interview him, Barbara Gordon discovers Bruno's double identity. After uncovering a plot involving her father to frame the Bat-Man for both industrial disasters, and the recent killings, Selina asks Barbara to warn him, believing she knows who he is. Barbara tells Bruno he should leave town, but he doesn't want to. He goes to see the Cat, who reveals herself to be Selina in disguise.
The next day, the Mayor holds a large speech in which he announces that the Bat-Man is believed to be the city's killer, and that his connection with the unions negatively implicates them in the eyes of the law as well. There is a minor riot, involving brutal beatings from the police. When Bruno acts out, defending citizens violently from the assault, he immediately becomes suspect and is forced to go into hiding.
After accidentally falling through a skylight, Bruno takes up residence in Alfred Pennyworth's Burlesque Theater, where he also meets a young acrobat, Dick Grayson. Seeing that even honest policemen like Gordon are meeting with legal penalties for speaking out during the riots, Bruno goes to meet with Barbara and her father. He offers to trade evidence he has found towards the identity of the serial killer, in exchange for help in fighting the corruption of the city's administration.
After giving his own final speech to those who have joined Selina's organization, Bruno and the others prepare for their final movements. The serial killer is Jack Smart, former foreman of Chillingham's factory, driven insane by all of the death he inadvertently caused, and murdering the survivor's to try to finish the job. Jack had been posing as a clown in Pennyworth's theater. Bruno stops the Clown before he can murder Joe Chillingham, saving Chillingham's life. The Clown apparently dies after setting fire to Chillingham's manor.
The next day, during a speech in which the Mayor condemns the actions of his peers, Selina unmasks herself, and has her father arrested for corruption as well. His work done, Bruno says goodbye to all of his friends, and turns himself in to the police to face judgment.
Finished with the interview, when asked what eventually happened to the Batman, Grayson tells Elana that people like him don't really die. Outside, satisfied that his story lives on, Elana pays her respects to the Vanekow tombstone.
- Other characters from the Batman mythos are mentioned in this book, although they do not actually appear.
- The death of Bruno Vanekow's parents bares many similarities to the historical Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire.
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- Batman (Volume 1)
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- Batman and Robin (Volume 1)
- Batman and Robin (Volume 2)
- Batman Confidential
- Batman: Gotham Knights
- Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight
- Batman: Shadow of the Bat
- Batman: Streets of Gotham
- Batman Incorporated
- Batman: The Dark Knight (Volume 1)
- Batman: The Dark Knight (Volume 2)
- Detective Comics (Volume 1)
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- Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (Volume )
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