Once an exotic car dealer, when Gotham City's organized crime fell after the capture of Jeremiah Arkham
as the new Black Mask
, Bixby Rhodes took the opportunity to start smuggling guns and other firearms to the newcomers in Gotham's crime world. Taking up the nickname of "Roadrunner," Bixby would deliver guns in the trunks of custom ordered cars.
Bixby Rhodes was created by writer Scott Snyder
and first portrayed by Jock
. He first appeared in Detective Comics
#876 during the chapter "Hungry City" of Snyder's The Black Mirror
Major Story ArcsHungry City
One day, the corpse of a Killer Whale is found in the lobby of Gotham Municipal Bank. When Dick arrives as Batman, and sees Commissioner Gordon talking to the bank manager, Sonia Branch. Sonia explains that one of her tellers was found inside the belly of the Orca. Dick notices certain facial qualities about Sonia that are reminiscent of Tony Zucco. Dick tries to get information out of Sonia by telling her that he knows who her father is but Sonia doesn’t give into Dick’s scare tactics. Sonia explains that she has abandoned her father’s legacy and she has worked tirelessly to make sure not one cent of blood money is ever accepted at her bank. Dick is convinced and apologizes to Sonia for his misconceptions.
Gordon suspects that someone is trying to intimidate Sonia into opening her bank to the criminal element or extort money from her through blackmail because if Batman can deduce who Sonia really is then the Gotham Underworld will certainly use this information against her. Sonia tells Dick that a mister Bixby Rhodes has been denied an account at her bank numerous times. Mr. Rhodes is a car dealer but Sonia still listens in on any recent developments within Gotham’s underbelly. The word is Rhodes is the gun runner Roadrunner, who uses the trunks of his exotic or custom made cars to sneak guns in and out of city. Sonia also informs Dick that she has been receiving threatening phone calls from someone who wants to use her bank to launder their ill gotten funds.
Gordon traces these mysterious phone calls to Rhodes’ dealership and Dick takes the initiative. When Dick arrives at the dealership, he sees Rhodes making a hasty exit and heading toward the Gotham Junkyard. Dick tails Rhodes and observes one of Rhodes’ transactions taking place. Unfortunately, someone alerted Rhodes that Batman was following him and Rhodes’ men ambush Dick. Rhodes’ men disarm Dick and place him in the trunk of a car then they activate the magnetic crane. The crane lifts the car that Dick is in and places it in the car compactor. Fortunately, Dick has learned a thing or two about escaping from tight spaces.
Dick escapes the trunk before the car is crushed by the compactor and uses unarmed combat to deal with Rhodes’ henchmen. When Dick goes after Rhodes, Dick discovers Rhodes has prosthetic legs made out of titanium, which allow him to move faster than the average man. Dick reaches for his utility belt and uses a grappling hook to bring down Rhodes. Dick interrogates Rhodes because he wants to know who tipped him off that Batman was following the Roadrunner. Rhodes tells Dick that it was a woman working for the Tiger Shark. Dick brings Rhodes to Gordon’s precinct for booking and Rhodes tries to make a deal with the DA for a reduced sentence. Rhodes tells DA Spencer that Tiger Shark is leaving Gotham Bay with several rare animals in order to sell them on the black market.
Dick and Tim stake out Gotham Bay and locate Tiger Shark’s yacht. Gordon informs the Dynamic Duo that there is some truth to Rhodes’ information because someone has recently stolen a few exotic birds from the Gotham City Aviary which puts Mayor Hady’s political position in jeopardy. Dick asks Gordon if he will be calling the coast guard to prevent Tiger Shark from leaving the city but Gordon cuts off communication because Jim has just seen some startling footage from the aviary security cameras.
The Dynamic Duo sneak onto Tiger Shark’s boat and begin to take on Tiger Shark’s men. Amongst the fighting, Dick gets knocked into a large pool by Tiger Shark. Dick then finds himself at the mercy of a crazed killer whale who was being kept in the pool. Tim finishes off the remaining Tiger Shark goons and heads to the pool. Tim uses some repellant to force the whale into retreating while he fishes Dick out of the water. Dick and Tim search the ship for Tiger Shark but it turns out he got away with a mini submarine that was attached to the yacht.
The Dynamic Duo do manage to find the stolen animals and a bomb set to explode. Fortunately, the bomb was not set to detonate until a few minutes have passed. Dick assumes that Tiger Shark was hoping to lure the heroes and perhaps the police into a false sense of victory when they would begin the rescue of the animals. The Dynamic Duo only had enough time to rescue the animals and set the orca free thanks to the Bat Boat. Tiger Shark’s goons are left to explode with yacht and later that same night, Dick confronts Sonia about her involvement with Tiger Shark. Sonia of course, denies everything Dick says but he does warn her that from now on, he will personally be keeping a close eye on her. Dick makes his shadowy exit and Sonia is left feeling scared rather than confident.