Detective Comics #488
1. The Leader Of The Dark Lords
2. The Great Campus Kidnap
3. The Last Duty
Featuring: Batgirl, Commissioner James Gordon, Len Rockwall, Sanchez, The Invaders, The Dark Lords, Alo Ramirez, Salgoto, Robin, Batman, Frank McDonald, Alfred Pennyworth, Jennifer Anne, Bernie Johnson, Gang, Clem Schnectady, Andre Skinsky, Gossage.
Written by Jack C. Harris, Denny O'Neil.
Penciler Jose Delbo, Kurt Schaffenberger, Johnny Craig.
Inker Frank Chiaramonte, Vince Colletta.
From: "Kelvin D. Gossage" page on "Brave and the Bold" website (http://braveandthebold.net/characters/background/3690.html; viewed 22 December 2004 version via google cache on 26 December 2005):
Kelvin Gossage was born the only child of Charles and Lydia Gossage. His family were second generation Irish immigrants to the United States. Strictly Catholic by faith, they were hardworking people with a very regimented approach to their lives that they imparted on their son. Kelvin, or Kel as he was often referred to as, grew up in a small town in Maine where he was expected to work hard attend church and obey his parents. Initially, this wasn't a problem. The young Kel was an obedient kid and was fairly accepting of the situation. He occasionally got into trouble for some youthful prank but generally speaking he was a mild mannered kid who did well in school and kept his nose clean.
His parents were both professionals with his father working as an architect and his mother as an accountant. It was expected that the young Kelvin would do well in school and continue on to college to get an advanced degree in some white collar discipline and settle in to the work a day world of ties and endless group meetings. What his parents didn't realize that their son's exposure to one of the neighbor boy's fathers had deeply affected their son and impressed upon him a deep burning desire to become a cop. Kelvin graduated high school with above average grades and was accepted at GSU in Gotham City. His parents applauded this accomplishment but informed him that while they wanted him to complete college they felt it was necessary to earn his own way to fully appreciate the effort necessary to succeed. Not entirely thrilled with this turn of events, he managed to find work on campus as a janitor and spent his summers working at a mill in New Hampshire. It was during these summers when Gossage developed an addiction: adrenaline. A co-worker convinced him to go bungee-jumping and Kel accepted. He quickly found he enjoyed the activity and became a bit of an adrenaline junky. When bungee jumping became dull, he tried out skydiving and rock climbing. Free diving was the next challenge to be tackled. By the time his academic pursuit of his BA was winding down, Goose, as he had come to be called, had a new appreciation for what he was capable of and his own ability to overcome obstacles.
Graduating in the top third of his class with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice, Gossage successfully applied to graduate school at GSU to get his Master's Degree. It was at this point that the debts really started to mount and he was forced to take out several student loans to help him pay for all of the expenses. After graduating with his master's, he took the civil service exam and scored high enough to be interviewed for an available police officer position. He attended and graduated from the police academy and started his career as a patrolman. His performance was good and his unexpected adeptness about learning night stick usage led to his occasional assignment as a temporary instructor at the police academy to help drill cadets on its use. This was a major coup for a rookie cop. Enthusiastic with his job and the direction his life was taking him in, Gossage was, like everyone else, completely blindsided by the quake. Reeling from the catastrophe that had leveled Gotham, he and his fellow officers did their best to help the injured. They fully accepted that the US Government would arrive to help assist in the rescue and rebuilding of the city. It was then that the unthinkable happened. The leaders in Washington wrote the city off. Deemed a total loss, they cordoned off the city and washed their hands of the whole affair. Gotham was cut off and abandoned. The enemies of the Bat and society walked freely and openly down its streets. A stunned Officer Gossage could only look on in disbelief as the city he had so proudly served became a lawless No Man's Land.
Gangs began to openly war upon one another. Some of the city's cops chose to flee but many more flocked to the banner of Jim Gordon. Jim Gordon fully intended to hold the city and protect its citizens. He recognized the odds were against him but he fully believed that he only had to hold the line until the return of the Batman. His faith and respect for Gotham's cowled defender lead him to organize is men and to strike back against the lawlessness. Gossage himself knew of the Batman. He'd seen him once in passing, or believed he had. Initially, he was uncertain as to the wisdom of allowing a vigilante, any vigilante, free run of the streets but Jim Gordon believed in the Batman. Gordon would trust his life to the Dark Knight and Goose admired and respected the commissioner a great deal. So like his fellows, he buckled down and held the line. Gordon said the Batman would come and help make things right.
Reduced to more of a gang member than a cop, Gordon led Goose and the others like him in their crusade to take back the streets of Gotham. It was hard, dangerous work, but the sense of duty Gossage felt was stronger than any fear the villains running rampant through the city could inspire. Goose like many of the Blue Boys, would have stormed the Gates of Hell if Gordon had asked him too. Gordon fought on convinced that it was only a matter of time before the vigilante detective returned.
But the Batman didn't come.
Lawlessness was rampant. People died. The Blue Boys fought and waited. Gordon led them with a steady hand but Gossage looked on and saw the sense of urgency and the expectation start to fade from the eyes of his commander. The other Blue Boys could see it too. They began to whisper amongst themselves. The Bat is not coming. He's abandoned us. It's up to us to stop this. In some slight way, this realization was a blessing to Goose. His fate was in his own hands but he quickly realized that the failure of the Batman to return had robbed something from the police commissioner. The Batman wasn't just a vigilante to Gordon. The Batman was someone he trusted. He was a shadowy friend who had stood with him against the corruption of the city. He was a friend who failed him when he needed him the most. This betrayal robbed something from James Gordon. Bitterness and a foreboding sense of inevitability hung over the men, Goose included. They would have to make due for themselves. Schisms erupted amongst them as to how this should be approached. Billy Pettit and a few other Blue Boys broke from the group to form the Strong Men. It was a loss of face to Gordon's ability to lead. A loss caused by the Batman. The abandoning of the Blue Boys by the vigilante had been painful enough to deal with but the diminishing of Jim Gordon was quite another. His leader and hero was suffering because of the Dark Knight's inability or unwillingness to act and Kelvin Gossage's former uncertainty regarding the role the Batman played in Gotham changed. He wasn't uncertain anymore.
He began to hate him.
His newfound enmity towards Batman notwithstanding, Gossage still had a job to do. Pettit and the Strong Men had allied with the Huntress. Other costumed crime fighters were reappearing in the city. Goose didn't care. He and his compatriots had been abandoned before. If Pettit and the Strong Men wanted to go maverick on them, so be it, at least they weren't DeeZees, at least they'd stayed and fought. It wasn't about them anymore. He had a job to do and he meant to do it. Gordon depended upon him. His friends and fellow Blue Boys depended upon him. Nightwing, Azrael, Robin and the rest were peripheral to his thinking. Previously perceived as friends, they were now unknown elements not to be entirely trusted. The Blue Boys would continue their fight to retake the city and the actions of the tardy few were not something he would dwell heavily upon. The Blue Boys needed him. The Blue Boys would retake the city. He could try and flee. He could try and hide. He instead chose to stay and fight. It had never been a difficult choice to make.
There were setbacks, Billy Pettit and his Strong Men battled the Joker's forces and Pettit died. Gordon's deal with Two-Face to shore up the Blue Boy's own position saw him lose more face in the eyes of those he led and very nearly lose his life to the insane former Gotham City District Attorney. The Batman was again active in the city but he was no longer looked upon as a brother in arms by the Blue Boys. His absence had cost them. Friends were dead. Gordon had somehow been diminished. And while it would ultimately be through the return of the Bat and his allies that a certain level of control began to be re-established, he was still not to be trusted. Instead most of the men looked upon Lex Luthor as their benefactor when he arrived to offer his assistance in the rebuilding of Gotham. It was after this offer the chaos truly came to an end. Order was slowly returned to Gotham but at a terrible cost.
Thousands had died in the quake and the subsequent gang violence. Companions and friends he'd worked with on the force were dead or had fled town. The Joker in one final twisted dig at Gordon murdered the commissioner's wife. Followed later by his wounding at the hands of a corrupt cop, the Blue Boy's leader declared enough was enough and resigned as police commissioner. Gotham was slowly returning to normal but in Goose's eyes it would never be the same. Those that fled were returning. The city began to fill once again. The DeeZees, as they were called, were outsiders now. Those that had stayed looked at the newly arrived or newly returned with a mix of happiness, ambivalence or disgust. Gossage's feelings towards the returning civilians were indifferent. He understood the reasoning behind their flight. His attitude towards his fellow officers who had chosen to leave was harsher. They wore a badge but they'd fled when they were needed most. He could work with them but his demeanor was cold and unfriendly. They weren't trusted to the same extent of those he'd fought with during NML.
Goose, himself, had been changed. He still pursued his job with the same diligence as before but the enthusiasm he'd once held for it had been replaced with a grim determination. He'd looked into the abyss and seen hell. The nature of his work had taken on special meaning. Gotham would not fall into such a quagmire again. Goose and his fellow officers would see to it. He would never allow himself to rely on vigilantes to save him. He would not allow the Batman to compromise him like he'd compromised Jim Gordon.
His actions during No Man's Land were not overlooked. The Gotham PD was reassuming control of the city and reassignments were plentiful. New cops were being hired and veterans were promoted to take on positions of leadership. Renee Montoya was one of those promotions and her elevation in rank left yet another hole in the detectives division. A hole that Kelvin Gossage was recruited to help fill. Now a detective, he continues his work in the city of Gotham. The lessons learned during No Man's Land never far from his mind.