Friday, March 20, 2015


Remember when Stephanie Brown walked in on her dad having a meeting with some Y-List Batman villains, and their mysterious leader, concealed in the shadows, who clubs her from behind? You know the only worse thing for a teenager to walk in on than her parents having sex? To walk in on one of her parents having a meeting with Lock-Up and Signalman.
I wrote about the big reveal in Batman Eternal #50 at Robot 6 this week, and was somewhat surprised to see all of the comments attached to the article, but I suppose that's a good thing. Skimming it, I noticed that several commenters mentioned Lincoln March, Wayne's maybe brother (or a crazy guy who thinks he's Wayne's brother) from Scott Snyder's first big story arc after the New 52-boot. That's actually who I was worrying it would be all along, but am pretty confident that DC wouldn't use a character that hasn't yet appeared in the series (I mean, Identity Crisis was a terrible mystery comic that didn't make any sense at all, but the culprit was there all along, even if the motivation for the crime and the specifics of the crime made no sense at all).

As I mentioned on Twitter, there's a good chance it could be someone else pulling Cluemaster's strings—Rex "Calabrese" The Lion being the most likely suspect, Mr. Mind posing as Alfred's mustache being the most awesome suspect—but Snyder and company are just plain out of room. They've only got 40 pages left to have Catwoman and appear, chuck Cluemaster off a room and say, "My dad says 'hi'" or something, and then explain all that. Like I said, I don't think they played quite fair—it was either Hush or Bard in the kitchen with Cluemaster and company in the Cluemaster's first appearance, before it was revealed that there was another shadowy figure aside from Hush—but it's going to be a big, hard-to-execute swerve if a chunk of those last 40 pages reveal another villain behind the villain (Cluemaster) behind the villain (Hush) behind the villain (Bard).

So I'm about 95% confident it is Cluemaster. And while I'm sure the World's Greatest Detective is frustrated he didn't figure it out himself, I think it's fair to Batman to note that Cluemaster is really only a suspect over March because of the rules and trends of fiction that we can see from outside the comic. Batman, as a character, doesn't have to eliminate suspects that haven't appeared in the first 49 issues (in fact, that's why he bothered to go after Ra's, who did not appear previously), nor does Batman know he's in a comic book series that only has two issues left to go.

I had one more piece that ran somewhere that wasn't here this week. Las Vegas Weekly is trying something a little new in their comics coverage, so instead of a review of the sort I've been doing, here's a preview of four upcoming, interesting-looking comics: Big Hard Sex Criminals, Archie Vs. Predator #1, Groo Vs. Conan and Supermutant Magic Academy.

Oh, and as long as I'm linking to things, here's a story I would have written, if Juliet Kahn didn't beat me to it (these kids today with their devices, reading digital-first stories digitally before we old men can read them on paper!): How James Tynion IV and Noelle Stevenson's "Wonder World" story from this week's (paper version) of Sensation Comics is the best thing ever (It is!). Sadly, the best panel—Wonder Woman eating ice cream—was not in the article, probably for the same reason I couldn't stick it in my post Wednesday night, it was irregularly-shaped. But that may just be the best, most iconic image of Wonder Woman ever. I hope DC commissions a poster, statue and action figure of Noelle Stevenson's Wonder Woman Eating Ice Cream.


Gary Willig said...

There seem to be 2 reasons people are saying it must be someone else. They either can't let go of their preconceptions, or they are so focused on specific 'factual clues' that may not even be clues in the first place like 'his darker half' that they are ignoring narrative clues entirely.

Looking back Stephanie Brown's presence actually prevented me from seeing this coming until issue #49, because I assumed the information dropped about Cluemaster was merely part of her story. Had the same information about his origins and motivations, plus the strange focus on him at various points, been presented without Spoiler being in the story it would have been obvious from way back that he was at least the #2 man and a suspect for the mastermind.

The jury's still out if they can explain how it happened, but from a narrative point of view it has been built up just fine.

Anonymous said...

Wayne's nu-52 bro had to be in there because most everything Snyder has written has had an element of response to Grant Morrison's run on Batgod / Black Glove.

Which is why I kind of don't want to read any more Snyder-books? It seems cheap and meaningless, like Grant's bickering with Moore.

That and I don't believe Bruce would beat a capped tooth out of Dick Grayson's mouth just to make a point. On their down time from a life of violence, no less. Just crass. And that was one of the initial scenes of Snyder's tenure!