Alex Ross’ cover for Batman ‘66: The Lost Episode
[pm] I count on you to have my back. Am I wrong?
Yes. Possibly. There’s a cha No. For the most part. I don’t think I’m allowed in your vicinity though, my friend Bruce. What are you telling asking me?
[pm] What the hell do I do for obligation around you? Really wishing I had a big guy
with a gunwith a gun to protect me, Harv. Interested in volunteering?
[pm] You don’t have one that you can hire? I’m not sure if I’m good at this protecting thing anymore, Bruce. You said it yourself, I’m the homicidal killer.
[pm] I do know him.
You think so, too?Sorry to hear that he’s the one you’re having problems with.
…I hope you’re staying inside with everything that’s going on outside, Harvey. These men look like they mean business.
[pm] Unfortunate for us. It’s fine. I meant to make amends, but he’s refusing to see
us me. I guess we’re not meant to.
I have been. Not much of a need for me to go outside
considering I sold all my men to the devil, so it’s indoors for me. Are you staying inside as well? I don’t want you getting hurt either, Selina.
And memories of darkness Obstruct your view in the light And a foothold eludes you As your lungs flood with the tide
[pm] She really grows on you, huh?
I hope that’s not the case.
I really hope that’s not the case.Difficulty with facial recognition? How do you mean?
[pm] It’s only taken some odd years, but yes, I suppose she does.
I have hope that it isn’t, but well, hope is a fickle thing. You know Bruce Wayne, yeah? He wears two faces.
We’re I’m certain of it. It’s difficult to tell the difference between the two. I consider ed him a…friend. Of sorts.
The seconds ticked by like hours as all around her, the various departments rushed around and bitched about the fact ‘Officer Montoya’ was trying to handle hostage negotiation. She couldn’t turn her focus away from Harvey long enough to foster the thought that she wanted to smack ‘em, each and every one of ‘em. Like she needed reminding that she wasn’t good at this, that she didn’t have the right training. Like she needed reminding that god knows how many lives hung in the balance up there, that they were her responsibility and she needed to navigate them out of this situation calmly. Like she needed reminding that she knew almost nothing about Harvey Dent’s illness, that she didn’t know how to handle it. He’d demanded her. He’d picked something, anything, that he could reinforce, and he was gonna stick to it just to prove he was the one in control. They had to let him keep thinking that.
People were trying to grab her attention, telling her what to do. They were giving her reports on how best to handle the situation while requesting updates on what Harvey was saying every few seconds. He wasn’t saying anything. That was why she was so freaked out. Finally, the voice she’d been waiting to here answered her, smoother and calmer than the one that had preceded it.
"This is Harvey, Officer Montoya," he said. "You’re speaking to Harvey."
"Good. Hi, Harvey. Look, we’re gonna stay calm and work this out, okay? You can call me Renee." Build a rapport. Get him to like you. Get him to trust you. Make him think you believe in him.
That was the problem… or at least half of it. She didn’t have to pretend. Renee really did believe in Harvey Dent. That was why this hurt so bad. She asked for his explanation, for him to tell her why they were being punished. The answer she received was swift ad aggressive.
“Why should we? I know why and that’s what fu-”
It stopped as suddenly as it had begun, hitting a brick wall rather than trailing off into nothingness. “Shh,” Renee soothed, everything that came through in her voice calm and encouraging, just like the experts had said. “Take your time. It’s alright.”
“They are all lying sycophants, Officer Montoya. They are liars. They are cheats.”
It was Harvey again. “Yeah,” Renee gave a small chuckle. “Tell me about it.” Someone with a mile-long stick up their ass was waving at her, cursing through clenched teeth, trying to get her attention, to tell her how bad she was screwing all this up. “I can’t tell you how many times my parents have almost lost the store ‘cause of mortgages and remortgages and bankers…” They were words she would rarely utter, to anyone. Those around her could believe that she was lying. It didn’t matter. Harvey needed someone to understand. He needed vulnerability.
"They take bribes and they give them. They steal. They’re not lawyers," Harvey began. Two Face was the one who finished. "They’re dead men and women walking and it’s high time they learned a thing or two about justice.”
"Still here, Harv. Come on, calm… Just like we talked about, remember? You can do this."
The reply came after a few moments, quiet, almost beaten.
"Does that answer your question, Officer Montoya?"
"Yeah, Harvey. It does."
"What’s your next one?"
"No question. Just something to say. You’re a good man. You fight men like this in court… Not with explosives. If they died… they’d never have to pay. Their families would be the ones who got all the money they stole, not the families they robbed, the families who actually deserve it." She paused, taking a breath. The negotiators standing around her seemed a little calmer, a little more at ease with the direction she was taking this. "So, I guess my next question is… why don’t you let me help? Let them go for now, come on out, disarm the explosives, and we can settle this the right way."
She was being so kind to him. In his position, with an explosive ready to blow and a part of him eager to see these people torn apart, generosity and kindness were the last things he deserved. She was talking down a killer. A killer that he hadn’t wanted to become, but the transition was inevitable. It was simply meant to be. Justice and injustice. Life and death. Two sides of a coin. Two sides to him. Luckily for her, she was appealing to the all the right sides. If enough of them even remained to call them that. Harvey Dent would have liked to think so.
‘Good. Hi, Harvey. Look, we’re gonna stay calm and work this out, okay? You can call me Renee.’
“Renee. Alright. Hello, Renee,” he responded with a small smile. His men exchanged looks and his expression hardened. He couldn’t afford to look soft in front of them. “I’m calm.”
Calm like a bomb, huh, Harv?
Two-Face’s voice was silence by Renee and Harvey’s face contorted into one of hardheaded confusion. Why was she being so reassuring? She must have known him, known what Harvey was before this.
A weak, spineless do-gooder? That’s all you were. Look at these people. They’re afraid of Big Bad Harv.
Harvey looked away from the law firm door and looked at his hostages. The people he had called friends and shared lukewarm coffee with. They were fearful and what they feared was him. Was it him? Or was it him? They feared his wrath and what it was capable of. His wrath had grown steadily from his youth to the man he had become. On the surface, Harvey hadn’t been an angry person before the incident. He was every bit the gentleman, because the people he surrounded himself with were examples of what good people were supposed to be. James Gordon. Bruce Wayne. They were good people. Relatively.
Those people were gone now. Bruce was missing. Gordon, while he believed in Harvey, still took him for the villain to the city he had become. He didn’t have those good people to surround himself with anymore. They had left him and in their absence, he was…this. The man who wanted to burn the sycophants that thought they could stand in his courtroom.
‘Yeah, tell me about it.’
She had said it with a quiet laugh that calmed, rather than unnerved him. She agreed with him and his chest seemed to lighten. Renee didn’t want these people dead though. Not like he did.
‘I can’t tell you how many times my parents have almost lost the store ‘cause of mortgages and remortgages and bankers…’
“I’m sorry to hear that, Renee. It isn’t fair,” he said with sincerity as he turned back to face the door. The red and blue of the squad car lights from outside illuminated his halved face. “What store do your par—“
He stopped himself before he could finish the question. She wouldn’t appreciate small talk. Harvey would have though. He was the type of guy that did. Two-Face wasn’t and Harvey could hear his sickened groan lingering in his ears as he snapped at her. Harvey frowned.
‘Still here, Harv. Come on, calm… Just like we talked about, remember? You can do this.’
Still here. She was, wasn’t she? She was still speaking to him. She was here. She was a real. Renee wasn’t gone like the others. She hadn’t abandoned him. He relaxed into a sigh and shut his eye, centering himself as he focused on who was behind the phone. He could do this. Renee Montoya believed in him. He continued on to answer her question and she seemed pleased with his answer.
She went on to call him a good man. He had been once. Did she believe that he still was? It was hard to convince himself of that fact with a bomb at his feet and two pistols inside his jacket. She told him she fought people like this in a courtroom and a time ago, he could have. But he had burned in a courtroom. Which one would accept him now? None of them. Not a damn one.
‘If they died… they’d never have to pay. Their families would be the ones who got all the money they stole, not the families they robbed, the families who actually deserve it.’
“I suppose you’re right, Renee,” he said after a moment’s consideration. Where her voice was calming, his was defeated. Tired almost. The war he waged under the skin was a tiresome affair. “They don’t deserve death. It’s too good for them.”
The men and women in the room breathed a relieved, though uncertain sigh. They certainly hadn’t planned to walk away from this, not after the look they had seen in his eye. His grimace softened and knelt down before the bomb.
‘So, I guess my next question is… why don’t you let me help? Let them go for now, come on out, disarm the explosives, and we can settle this the right way.’
“The right way…” he repeated as he pressed the phone into his shoulder. Carefully, he took hold of the bomb and hefted it up. “Alright, Miss Montoya. If I come out, I want assurance that your people will not fire upon me. I’m complying with your wishes, but it will turn south quickly if I am received by gunfire. I don’t want to hurt anyone.”
Harvey Dent doesn’t want bloodshed.
He eased open the first door with his foot and shouldered through the threshold, his heart fluttering nervously against his ribs. He came to a stop at the door that would lead him back to the city streets and he paused. He had already told her that he would. He gave her his word. He wasn’t a liar. Not in that moment, at least.
He pushed open the door and squinted against the light of day. Immediately, two men rushed his way and reached for the bomb in his hands. Harvey pulled it back and looked between the two officers, his expression cold.
“I spoke with an Officer Montoya. I answered to her, not to you. Where is she?”
That I’m getting better. I don’t think I am. I don’t think I can.
That’s not important.
Feelings????She’s not bothering you too much, is she? And thanks; there’s nothing I hate more than being proddedprodded.
It’s fine. Some people had it worse.
I know my second team dSorry to hear you’re having trouble, too.
I mean I thought I was better a better judge of character than I am. But I’m beginning to think it’s not me—it’s
himthem. Some people just…change.
[pm] Surprisingly, she isn’t. I’ve become patient in regards to her. For the most part. I understand.
Trouble is a constant. This is Gotham. It only changes in severity.
People are hard to understand. It’s troublesome. s it that they’re changing or that they’re revealing who they really are? I’m having difficulty with facial recognition lately. Funny, all things considered.
[pm] D’Angelo Sewage Treatment Plant.
[pm] The sewers? Alright.
We I was honest with you and you were honest with us me. That’s better than most. They’re yours, Bane.