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Arnold Stromwell's childhood was marked by petty crime. He was a juvenille deliquent who spent his time on the railroad tracks of Gotham City often accompanied by his brother Michael. Though opposed to his brother's actions, Michael nonetheless saved Arnold from an oncoming train that cost him his leg. This event haunted Arnold well into late adulthood ever since.
Stromwell continued on his life of crime, and fulfilled his ambition that he would grow up to "own this city" when he became one of the chief mob bosses in Gotham City. At one point in his career, Batman infiltrated his mansion to catch his nephew Tony Zucco, who had since become a primary suspect in the murder of John and Mary Grayson, parents of Dick Grayson. After this confrontation, Stromwell severed all ties with his nephew, placing him out of the family. Other than this incident, little is known of Stromwell's criminal career other than that he was involved in illegal drug manufacturing.
Later in Stromwell's life, Rupert Thorne began to pose competition to his criminal empire. The conflict between the two finally erupted when Arnold's son Joey went missing. Upon confrontation, Thorne attempted to kill Stromwell by means of explosives, but he was saved by Batman. With the help of Michael, now a priest, Batman tried to get Stromwell to reform and turn himself in to the police. Though there were many other factors that influenced his decision, most notably the effect of his manufactured drugs on his own son, he was finally convinced by Michael, who confronted him on the same railroad tracks where the train accident took place. It is presumed that he surrendered himself to the Gotham Police and lived the rest of his life in prison, but at peace with himself as he was willingly paying his debt to society.
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