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Before the Bat
Sal Valestra ruled Gotham's underworld with an iron fist alongside chief lieutenants Chuckie Sol and Buzz Bronski for several years prior to the first known appearance of Batman. About a year before Batman's first appearance, Sal's organization loaned a large amount of money to Carl Beaumont, a local businessman. Despite promises to the contrary, Beaumont could not pay them back, and he and his daughter Andrea fled to Europe once he managed to squeeze an extra twenty-four hours of time from Velestra.
However, Valestra bribed Arthur Reeves, one of Beaumont's assistants, to rat out his old boss. Reeves, who was short on funds for his election campaign, gave up the secret location that Carl Beaumont had entrusted to him. Valestra sent his top hitman to Europe with instructions to kill Carl Beaumont, which was successful
Less than a decade later, an aging, sickly Valestra was now facing problems with his criminal empire. His favorite trigger man had become a white-faced, green-haired psychotic and his businesses were being pressured by both the sharp new police commissioner James Gordon and a mysterious vigilante called Batman. To make matters worse, his two oldest and closest partners, Chuckie and Buzz, had been killed within days of one another—apparently by the Batman.
With all of his old friends gone, Valestra turned to the last person who could help him—his old hitman and current notorious criminal, the Joker. He offered to hire the Joker to kill the Batman, but he instead killed Velestra with his signature toxin. The unfortunate mobster's grinning corpse was left as bait. Using Valestra's body, Joker was able to discover what Sal would never know: the killer was not Batman, but rather Andrea Beaumont, out to get revenge on the mob that killed her father as the Phantasm.
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