- "There's 50 million bucks riding on this. So I don't wanna hear any excuses. Bag the Bat and let's get paid!"
- ―Howard Branden to the GCPD Officers about Batman in Predator[src]
Howard "Scott" Branden, was the leader of the GCPD SWAT Team under the corrupt command of Commissioner Gillian B. Loeb. One of the most crooked officers who served on the force, Branden led the SWAT Division as little more than a secondary gang in Gotham City, working with the city's various mob organizations and gangs and used his connections to the criminal underworld to intimidate Gotham's citizens and extort profits from them. With particular a loyalty to both Black Mask and Loeb, Branden committed an assortment of crimes, from evidence-tampering and drug trafficking to cold-blooded murder, throughout his career.
As Branden's trigger happy attitude ensured that countless innocent individuals would be caught in his crosshairs during not only his legitimate assignments, but also during his criminal activities as well, the SWAT Team earned itself a notorious reputation among Gotham's citizens, criminals, and other GCPD Officers. Always on the prowl for another opportunity to increase his own personal desires, Branden accepted an assignment from Black Mask (actually the Joker who impersonated him) to kill Batman in order to collect a $50 million bounty that was placed on his head on Christmas Eve.
At some point, Branden was ordered by Commissioner Loeb to take a request by a man, who used the handle "Façade" to gain illicit material. Branden later relayed that in secret with one of the desk jockies after he made sure that the cameras were not active (per routine maintenance). In addition, due to Batman spooking several of the cops under his command, Branden tried to request to Loeb that they ease down on the corruption, mostly due to fear of the vigilante. However, Loeb refused, and was unwilling to sacrifice gaining control of Gotham over "cold feet," as well as gave the order to try and kill Batman.
As part of the corrupt organization of the GCPD, Branden was one of the officers who wanted to kill Batman instead of turning him in. Branden also made a deal with Black Mask to get paid $50 million if they took Batman out, after he learned of the hit that Black Mask had placed on him from Killer Croc via interrogation. He also had his SWAT team meet with him so they could also participate in the bounty, even going so far as to tell them to blow off any prior assignments they might have had, and also implied that he will use his knowledge of where Black Mask store his money to take the $50 million after bagging Batman regardless of whether the latter kept his word or not. In addition, Branden, or at least his SWAT team, orchestrated a minor-scale prison riot within the GCPD in an attempt to make James Gordon look incompetent as acting Commissioner for the GCPD, even hinting at the latch mechanism toward a Venom using criminal. However, the riot ended up quelled by Batman (who had been passing through to get back to the server room after retrieving a Disruptor unit confiscated from a local hoodlum.).
Branden discovered that Batman was inside the GCPD Building when he infiltrated it for information on the National Criminal Database. When Batman met up with Captain James Gordon, Branden and his team intercepted, with Gordon telling them to open fire if he moved. Batman threw down a Smoke Pellet, got Gordon out of the way, and took out Branden and his men.
Branden later encountered Batman at the Royal Hotel. After Batman saved the Joker from falling to his death, Branden appeared and surrounded Batman with his men, but Batman managed to escape with the Batwing, and left Branden with the Joker.
Later, on the Pioneers Bridge, despite Batman warning Gordon not to send his men onto the bridge, Gordon did so, and effectively got Branden and his team taken hostage by Firefly. Branden then tried to tell Firefly's Henchmen that their boss would most likely destroy the bridge anyways, and also cited an explosion that was heard. However, Firefly's Henchmen ignored Branden due to them being paid by Firefly extensively, and besides which, the explosion that he heard was not one of the bombs that Firefly had wired to the four portions of the bridge, as "the whole city'll know, hell the whole eastern seaboard'll know" if one of their bombs went off. When Batman found Branden, he untied him, told him that it was the Joker who placed the bounty on his head, and said that he was currently at Blackgate Prison, but Branden attacked him, and said that while he may have already been aware of the Joker's scam, he still had a score to settle with him. Batman easily knocked Branden out, and said that he gave him the rest of the night off.
Cold, Cold Heart
Branden's corrupt nature, including having his entire SWAT Division try to undergo an assassination attempt for money, was later exposed on Christmas Day. That eventually resulted in Branden's suspension from the force without pay, which was still in effect by the New Year.
- Branden: Run that past me again?
- Commissioner Loeb: It's very simple, Branden. Sometime in the coming days, you may receive a call from a third party requiring your services.
- Branden: Like a private contractor?
- Commissioner Loeb: Precisely.
- Branden: Okay. Why?
- Commissioner Loeb: Let's call it an investment against future favors.
- Branden: And how am I supposed to know the guy?
- Commissioner Loeb: He will identify himself with the code word 'façade'.
- Branden: What is that? French?
- Commissioner Loeb: It doesn't matter! What's important is that you remember it!
- Branden: Alright. 'Façade'. Got it.
- Civilian: So, what's all this gear for, Branden? I mean, I should know why I'm putting my job on the line.
- Branden: You sure those cameras are off?
- Civilian: Relax. Everything's shut down for routine maintenance. So?
- Branden: Alright, but keep it under your hat. Loeb's planning on setting up a special unit. With me as leader, of course.
- Civilian: So, why steal the gear?
- Branden: We're not stealing, we're borrowing. That way, we don't need to deal with a lotta red tape when we gotta mobilize.
- Civilian: I get it. Off the books kinda thing. Need any guns?
- Branden: Nah, we got that covered, believe me. Hey, if you wanna see some action, I could put in a good word.
- Civilian: You kidding? I busted my ass to get this desk job. I'll leave the cowboy stuff to you. You're good at that.
- Branden: Suit yourself. But, remember, if you're not with us, keep your damn mouth shut!
- "Alright-listen up."
- "While you jokers where playing clean up crew at Blackgate, I was making us some money."
- "I worked out a deal with our pal Black Mask. If any of us can kill the Bat before the assassins get to him, we get the bounty - all fifty million dollars of it."
- "For those of you who ain't too good with the math, that means we all retire early."
- "Enough. We only get one night to get this done. So whatever they put you on tonight - I want you to blow it off. Finding and killing the Bat is your number one priority. That clear?"
- "Questions? Shout 'em out."
- "Well for starters, you're gonna keep your damn trap shut. Anyone else?"
- "Look. Y'all put your lives at risk when you signed up for SWAT. Now you want to make the big money, you're going to have to accept bigger risk. That's how it works. Anyone wants out can hand me their badge. Didn't think so. We good to go?"
- "He's good for the cash, trust me. And I know where he's stashing it." (Black Mask)
- "'Cause the last thing we need is a war with Black Mask and his men. Come on guys, let's do this."
- "Bat's on the run and headed this way. Let's secure this room. Fan out!"
- "Remember: shoot to kill-and when Gordon asks, the Bat shot first."
- "Of course he's got a gun! And if he ain't got one, then you know what to do. It's not like you haven't done it before." (Batman)
- "There he is!" (Batman)
- "Stop him!" (Batman)
- "Son of a bitch! To the roof!"
- "Gordon! Clear the line of fire!"
- "Move Gordon. I'm taking him down-" (Aims assault rifle at Batman)
- "Excellent. What about Gordon?"
- "Alright. You men be ready to move when I arrive."
- "6-2, Branden. Has Black Mask responded yet?"
- "Son of a bitch Sionis thinks he can ignore us? What about Gordon?"
- "Dammit. I'm almost there."
- "Branden to 6-4. I'm on site at the Royal. Anyone have eyes on the Bat?"
- "Good. When they come down, we'll be ready for 'em. Get in position." (Batman and "Black Mask")
- "DON'T MOVE, FREAK!" (Batman and Joker)
- "TAKE HIM DOWN! NOW!" (Batman)
- "Give the damn order, Gordon!"
- "Branden to Gordon. We're in place, awaiting your orders."
- "No! Take him down!" (Firefly)
- "Let me go while you still got a chance." (Firefly's Henchmen)
- "You idiots ain't gonna live long enough to get paid. Firefly's got a remote detonator. He doesn't need you to set any timers. He's gonna blow the bombs with you on the bridge-with all of us on the bridge." (Firefly's Henchmen)
- "Didn't you hear that bomb just go off?" (Firefly's Henchmen)
- "You sure about that?" (Firefly's Henchmen)
- "Well look who it is...." (Batman)
- "You just gonna stand there? Untie me." (Batman)
- "Come on! Untie me, you freak!" (Batman)
- "Untie me, you self-righteous son of a bitch! (Batman)
- "I heard. But I still got a score to settle with you!" (Tries to punch Batman after being untied)
Game Over Lines
- "You should've turned yourself in when you had the chance. Alright, boys. Let's get this trash outta here!"
- "Looks like justice has finally been served, fellas. Now, to see what's under that mask..."
- "Not much to look at from up close. Don't know why everyone was so afraid of him."
- "Your life ain't worth the dirt you lie on. Get this sorry excuse for an assassin outta here!"
- "They call this one Deathstroke. Correction: They CALLED this one Deathstroke."
- In the SWAT Manager's Office, there were two pictures: One of them was Branden with his wife and two children, and another was with him with a younger woman, which implied that he committed adultery.
- The radio transmission that exposed Branden as having been suspended from the force gave his first name as "Scott Branden."