Funnybook Babylon

April 24, 2008

The Hand in the Black Glove

Filed under: Blurbs — David Uzumeri @ 9:54 am

I’m sorry to do this.

I was rereading Batman #675, and all of a sudden, the identity of the Black Glove slapped me in the face like a, uh, glove. I’m so positive on this one, to be honest, that I’m going to put this after the jump in case anyone wants to miss this – if I’m right, and I’m pretty damn sure I am, this is going to make the Xorn reveal look like finding out Stryfe has the same face as Cable.

You sure? Then click.

The Black Glove is Alfred Pennyworth.

His library is a shrine to blood-spattered prose. He’s constantly frustrated by Bruce and his actions, always knows Bruce’s entire schedule, has a background in both the military and the theatre, and has a vested interest in Bruce Wayne’s emotional health.

He has the resources and the know-how to pull this off. His machinations have all had the touch of literature – the Dickensian aspects of the three ghosts, the Name of the Rose inspiration (admitted by Morrison) for the Club of Heroes arc, and – if this is actually Alfred Pennyworth’s stage masterpiece – the inspiration John Fowles’s The Magus would have on Batman R.I.P..

And, I mean, come on. The butler did it. That’s the answer. He wrote a like 16-issue epic Bat-novel and will get away with “the butler did it.” Reread the issues, look at Alfred’s absences – the Black Glove can’t be Bruce himself, since we see him with binoculars looking at Bruce and Jezebel kissing at the end of Batman #665.

The only question now is, is this much blood actually on Alfred’s hands? Is he willing to go this far to make his point to Bruce? Or has this all been a very, very, very elaborate stage show? What role did Mayhew play?

And – and this is a bit of a stretch, but maybe possible – is Leslie Thompkins’s “killing” of Spoiler at all related to this? It was more-than-heavily implied she was Alfred’s lover for a while. The only problem is that she hasn’t even been mentioned in the run so it seems bizarre to bring her in.

But anyway. Yeah. The butler did it.


  1. Did you steal Morrison’s notebook or something? This makes total sense, and when you think about his CBR series of interviews or his panel appearance (‘this will be the biggest twist in seventy years’), it neatly fits into his long-term vision of Batman as a character. Nice work.

    Comment by Jamaal Thomas — April 24, 2008 @ 11:43 am

  2. David, I love you. Brilliant.

    Comment by Matt — April 24, 2008 @ 12:20 pm

  3. […] Uzumeri over at Funnybook Babylon has an AWESOME theory on the identity of the secret villain behind Grant Morrison’s latest Batman […]

    Pingback by alert nerd. » Blog Archive » Black (Glove) Magic — April 24, 2008 @ 12:24 pm

  4. Also, how amazing would it be if Joker was able to deliver the ultimate punchline to Bruce? There has been mention of how great Daniel’s Joker looks, so we can assume he’ll be showing up before too long. I’m still kind of new to comics however, so this might not even be plausible…

    Comment by Kaare — April 24, 2008 @ 2:31 pm

  5. I’ll only buy this if it turns out nobody actually died. It wouldn’t make any sense for Alfred to actually kill people.

    Comment by Gabe — April 24, 2008 @ 2:48 pm

  6. Oho. I enjoy your speculation posts a lot here, primarily because they’re on Morrison books I guess, but they make a decent read in-and-of.

    I was idly speculating, without any real grounding, and had thought the only complete buster of a possibility was Thomas Wayne. i mean, there’s all this delving into the very aspects of Bat-lore that have lain so long forbidden, unmentioned and iirc from that 50th Anniversary book Thomas was a Batman in some story before his son and, uh. The whole recreating it? I thought it’d be massive, basically, though.

    Comment by Duncan — April 24, 2008 @ 3:02 pm

  7. The only theories I’ve seen that are remotely plausible — Bruce Wayne dies (which GM denies), someone else is under the cowl, Thomas Wayne comes back as a villain, and “the butler did it” — are *ALL* theories that would make me very likely to drop the title in protest.

    If Morrison has a resolution that fits better than these theories and is less galling to boot, he will have told one of the best Batman stories of all time.

    Comment by Bubba — April 24, 2008 @ 7:34 pm

  8. This beats the crap out of my long-lost brother theory. You can’t do long-lost son AND long-lost brother; people would laugh and call you names.

    Comment by HitTheTargets — April 24, 2008 @ 8:30 pm

  9. Hm. Interesting theory. I wonder, (to connect the dots a little further), if the fact that Batman is confirmed to tie into Final Crisis for a couple issues is related to this possible turn of events?

    We know that Morrison has been selling FC as the story of what happens when “Evil wins.” I wonder if some aspect of that story is being reflected in making Alfred (generally depicted as the epitome of decency and goodness) Batman’s great enemy in GM’s run.

    Granted, the universe-wide timeline as published by DC doesn’t quite gel with that, but I doubt Morrison is really concerned about that sort of thing (especially given the previous nebulous placement of where the Final Crisis-related Mister Miracle mini fits in continuity).

    Some cosmic “balance of good and evil” fuckery could even be a planned back door for the inevitable reset back to a redeemed Alfred…which is the only real way I could imagine DC letting Morrison shake up things as much as making Alfred into a murderous villain.

    In any case, this is a pretty brilliant bit of deduction. I’m pretty hard-pressed to think of a better way for this story to go down. Nice work.

    Comment by Josh — April 25, 2008 @ 3:20 am

  10. Given Morrison’s love for Silver Age Batman material, I think it makes more sense that it’s not technically Alfred but instead the Outsider that’s responsible for Bruce’s troubles.

    Comment by Jeff Metzner — April 25, 2008 @ 4:32 pm

  11. My latest post over at Mindless Ones signposts some juicy, juicy additional thinking.

    Comment by Qthgrq — May 2, 2008 @ 8:21 am

  12. Also remember that Alfred was the Outsider in the mid sixties and Morrison has been drawing much from the late 50’s – 60’s era.

    Comment by Batman2500 — May 6, 2008 @ 4:23 pm

  13. I think you’re close. But I think its someone whose much closer to bruce, and hates him much much more. Thomas Wayne Jr. His Earth One brother, who was locked into a mental institution years ago, and promptly forgotten.

    Comment by GodAmongMen — May 9, 2008 @ 9:00 pm

  14. I’ll take your theory 1 step further–if it is Alfred, I surmise Morrison will re-introduce Alfred’s evil otherworldy persona–the Outsider, as the real culprit–Alfred susposed became this creature when he “died” back in the 60’s. The Outsider hated Batman and used all of his secrets against him. GM loves the old dc stories and he may even tie batmite in to this as some kind of not-so cute or silly demon-thing (a’la Moore’s final Pre-John Byrne Superman story with Mr. Mxyzptlk). Nice sleuthing.

    Comment by RS Belcher — May 22, 2008 @ 2:16 pm

  15. I figured this when in that issue where Jezebel Jet finds out Bruce Wayne is Batman (After battling with an exiled Ten Eyed Man), there’s an awful lot of Alfred exposition in the beginning. They wouldn’t do that if it wasn’t going to come back in a big way.

    Comment by jayfarer — May 30, 2008 @ 5:18 pm

  16. […] 2-3: An interesting bunch of exposition regarding Alfred, which I analyzed back when I first posited my Black Glove […]

    Pingback by Funnybook Babylon · Archives · The Morrison Batman Notes Part 2 - The (Aunt) Agatha Christie Period — July 8, 2008 @ 10:56 am

  17. Your hypothesis makes sense only if Alfred is unaware he’s doing it. As in, he’s suddenly developed an Outsider-like alter-ego.* And, what with the life-threatening beating he recently took when the Black Gloves recently invaded the Batcave, that would have to be the case!

    Thomas “Hush” Elliot, on the other hand, also has insider knowledge about the Dark Knight, based on his brief alliance with the Riddler (during the latter’s androgynous phase). However, the Riddler now seems to have forgotten that Batman and Bruce Wayne are one-and-the-same. Which would appear to indicate forcibly-induced amnesia. But, the question is…induced by whom? Hush; the Joker; or, someone even more unlikely? Someone with the medical knowledge to make it look like she had negliegently murdered Stephanie “the Spoiler” Brown?

    That’s right. I’m talking Dr. Leslie Thompkins! Has she truly reformed? Or, is she still fanatically trying to bring about a superhero-free world in her lifetime?

    In short: I don’t think we can be too certain, just yet, that the butler has done it.

    *During the early 1960’s, Alfred Pennyworth was seemingly killed saving the Dynamic Duo’s life from the Tri-state Gang. But, he had merely been rendered comatose!
    Miraculously rescued from his crypt by some scientist, of an unknown discipline (he was creeping through a cemetary in the middle of the night, for Pete’s sake!), Alfred was healed through the use of some high-tech contraption. One that, unfortunately, also left him with marble-white skin; a genius intellect with hyper-psionic powers; and a deep-seated hatred of the Dynamic Duo.
    Calling himself “the Outsider,” he provided some of the best Bat-adventures of the pre-Adam West Sixties.

    Comment by Carycomic — July 9, 2008 @ 2:05 pm

  18. […] a house of cards.) The Black Glove has been making mostly-offstage appearances in Batman, and this possibly extremely spoilery link goes to a very convincing theory by David at Funnybook Babylon on who the Opposite-of-White Glove […]

    Pingback by All Systems Intact, the Red and the Black: Douglas Looks at DC Universe Zero | Savage Critics — March 10, 2010 @ 2:31 am

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