It’s a Bat-Mystery!

August 9th, 2007 by | Tags:

Okay, I was going to post some more about last week’s comics, but there’s been a change of plans. Batman #667 just came out, and it’s the first of a three part mystery story! I love mysteries, I love Grant Morrison and I love J.H. Williams III, so I’m definitely on board. It’s great to see Batman be an actual detective for once. I spent my time looking for potential clues as to who the mysterious killer is that called the former Club of Heroes to a desolate island. Let’s hope the conclusion won’t be as disappointing and nonsensical as that of Identity Crisis. I’m going to list all the facts in chronological order, and present my theory from there. Also, I won’t be including the information about the Club of Heroes that Morrison has revealed in interviews, as that would be cheating; we should be able to gather everything we need to know from the issues themselves. So let’s begin…

  • On the first page of the issue, our enigmatic villain the “Black Glove” is introduced. His purpose is seemingly to discertain which is the strongest between good and evil. An unidentified corpse is hanging from the wall. The Black Glove spins a roulette wheel and drops a ball in it. But to what purpose?

  • Batman and Robin arrive at the island and manor of John Mayhew, who I will discuss further along this article. They will meet up with the former members of the International Club of Heroes, of which Batman and Robin (the Dick Grayson version) were members. Robin talks to Batman about his dislocated arm. In Batman #665, Robin specifically mentions his arm was dislocated, which means the story is probably set in the present. Also, apparently Alfred is single-handedly rebuilding Wayne Manor. Rebuilding it? Wayne Manor was destroyed? Is there a story we’re not told yet here?

  • They meet up with Cyril Sheldrake and later Beryl Hutchinson, the Knight and Squire, England’s version of Batman and Robin respectively. Batman is friendly with them. A possibly unrelated fact is that this version of the Knight and Squire are supposed to be inside of Neh-Buh-Loh the living universe according to JLA Classified 1-3. That JLA Classified arc was written by Morrison himself, so it seems unlikely he forgot about his own continuity. Also, Vixen was supposed to be in Neh-Buh-Loh as well, but she’s in the current JLA like nothing happened.

  • It’s been years since Batman last saw the rest of the International Club of Heroes.

  • We’re introduced to some of the other members of the Club on page six. El Gaucho, from Argentina, Musketeer, from France, Man-Of-Bats, the indian chief and Legionary, from Italy.

  • Musketeer has killed a man before, by stabbing a man through the heart with his fencing foil. He claims it was an accident due to the blunt tip of his foil having broken off during the fight, but this could easily be a lie. Musketeer was arrested and thrown into an asylum where his insane Rogues awaited him. He made millions off of the book sales and movie rights that resulted from this. He claims this is what he owed Batman.

  • Legionary doesn’t bother wearing a mask. He’s an out-of-shape slob all around and is always seen eating and drinking.

  • Musketeer’s fencing foil is at least sharp enough to pierce a chicken leg.

  • “Jonathan Mayhew, mega-rich daredevil from the old school”. He did and tried everything in his youth, then ended up a recluse in his manor on a private island. He founded and funded the original Club of Heroes, which sadly fell apart after no more than half an hour. He went through no less than six wives.

  • Mayhew made a movie titled “The Black Glove”, starring two actors named Mangrove Pierce and Marsha Lamarr.

  • The rest of the Club of Heroes members are introduced. Raven Red, who is Man-Of-Bats’s son and sidekick, Wingman, from Sweden and Dark Ranger, formerly just Ranger, from Australia.

  • Man-Of-Bats is a jerk when he drinks. Him and Legionary know each other on a first name basis, and act as if they’re friends, but Legionary says “No hard feelings since last time, eh?”, meaning that something went on between the two of them. He knows his son is embarrassed by him and he resents him for it. He keeps calling his son Little Raven, which was his sidekick name, but the son would rather be known as Raven Red now. Raven Red is essentially a childish version of Nightwing.

  • Dark Ranger changed his name and outfit because the bad guys in Melbourne kept getting tougher and more violent. He now wears a riot suit and a re-inforced helmet. He’s essentially re-invented himself to be more “badass”. Notice how nobody recognized who he was, even though he has no problem with revealing his face.

  • Wingman appears to be very similar to Batman, and when Dark Ranger comments on this Wingman claims he came up with his crimefighting concept a year before Batman. He obviously dislikes Batman to some agree, even though he says the two had worked together in the past.

  • We don’t learn much about El Gaucho yet, but according to Legionary he has a reputation of exaggerating the truth.

  • A table has been set with designated seats for everyone. There’s a jar of water and several glasses for everyone on the table. Is this relevant? Something in the water? Not a very reliable way of poisoning someone in any case. A video screen is facing the table. Legionary mentions he’s been in adult films. When everyone is seated, a video starts playing.

  • John Mayhew is dead. The Black Glove turns out to be a particularly creepy and insane individual, as he’s wearing Mayhew’s skin as a mask. He challenged the Club to solve the mystery of Mayhew’s murder, or they’ll be killed off one by one. A particilarly macabre painting depicting amongst other things an army of the dead is visible behind him. It looks like an existing painting, but I’m not familiar with it. Batman wants everyone to look for the room the video was broadcasted from. There is, of course, the notion that the video might have been a pre-recorded message. Also of note is that Mayhew had a mustache, almost definitely identifying him as the corpse on the first page.

  • Everyone’s vehicles explode, obviously the work of the Black Glove (as seen by the layout of the splash page in the shape of a hand). Now they’re trapped on the island. Black Glove doesn’t want them to leave for some reason. But does he really want all of them, or is he after one specific individual?

  • The people that go outside to check on the explosion are: Batman, Robin, Knight, Squire, Musketeer, El Gaucho and Raven Red. People still in the mansion are Legionary, Dark Ranger, Wingman and Man-Of-Bats.

  • We see that Legionary has found the security room, from which he can see the room the video was filmed in. Notice how there’s what appears to be blood on the desk in the room with the painting. Legionary thinks he’s talking to Man-Of-Bats.

  • Legionary is the Black Glove’s second victim. The killer definitely seems to have a thing for poetic deaths, as he kills the Roman culture inspired Legionary with seventeen stab wounds, just like Caesar. He also leaves a note that says “Et Tu Morte?” on it. This is a phrase similar to Caesar’s famous last words “Et Tu, Brute?”, or “Even you, Brutus?”. The phrase on the paper, however, means something like “You, also dead?”. We don’t get to see Black Glove’s face, as it’s shaded, but we can clearly see the outline of his hair in one panel.

This is all very exciting of course. So who is the killer? It’s clear that it’s one of the remaining members of the Club of Heroes due to the lack of other suspects and the Caesar parallels surrounding Legionary’s death. At the time of Legionary’s death, the majority of the Club was outside, checking out the wreckage of their vehicles. The only ones inside the mansion at the time, besides Legionary himself, were Dark Ranger, Wingman and Man-Of-Bats. Possible motives? Legionary was Man-Of-Bats’ friend, so the two appear to have a history with each other. Legionary said to him “no hard feelings since last time”, which means something happened between the two that upset one of them. Is this all a ploy by Man-Of-Bats to kill Legionary and then plant several red herrings to throw suspicion off of him? It seems rather complicated just to kill a fat loser like Legionary. Dark Ranger? The name says it all. Plus, nobody recognized who he was. Is he actually the original Ranger, or did the Black Glove take his place? It’s almost too obvious. And then there’s Wingman. Wingman resents Batman. It makes sense from a storytelling perspective that the hero of our story is involved in the actual motives of the killer. He’s also the only one of the three suspects that never took off his headgear, never giving us a good glimpse at the shape of his face and hair. And, as a possible visual clue, he’s the only person there besides Batman and Robin that wears black gloves. For the time being, he’s my prime suspect, but this can all change in two weeks, when issue #668 comes out.

Who is the Black Glove? Place your bets now.

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7 comments to “It’s a Bat-Mystery!”

  1. The painting in the background is The Triumph Of Death by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. Here’s a link to the wiki page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Triumph_of_Death

    Hm, and I like to think it is someone who is not a member of the Club of Heroes, but yeah I am probably wrong. It would also be kinda boring if it was like that and not all like this kind of story.

    Also nice article!! Go Paul, go!! X3

  2. It’s me. I’m the black glove.

  3. Locked room mysteries don’t really work as well when one of the people investigating has access to telepaths and a teleporter. Just saying…

  4. The Black Glove is, you guessed it, Frank Stallone.

    Very nice article.

  5. It’s Batman, calling it now.

  6. The cover’s a homage to Identity Crisis, isn’t it? Could there be a clue in that? As I recall the blood splatters didn’t touch Atom, whose wife was the killer, and here I think the only characters on the cover untouched by blood were the previous Knight and his squire(the present Knight, right?)

    By the way, who’s everyone’s favourite of the Club of Heroes(bar Batman)? I like the Knight, personally, I think he looks smashing.

  7. The idea of Morrison doing a homage to Identity Crisis kinda makes me want to puke. I thought the Legionnary’s dialog in this issue was fucking hilarious, and I kinda want to see more Beryl/Tim scenes.