03/12/2021

DC Teases a Pivotal Figure From the Batman Universe Returning From the Dead

The Infinite Frontier publishing initiative has brought some surprising revelations to the lore of Gotham City, with characters in the orbit of Batman going through the proverbial wringer. That has been taken to unique lengths within the pages of The Joker, which has become somewhat of an ensemble book surrounding characters such as Jim Gordon, Oracle, Punchline, and more. The newest issue of the series, The Joker #9, took that mindset to whole new heights — and might have confirmed the fate of a surprising supporting character. Spoilers for The Joker #9, from James Tynion IV, Stefano Raffaele, Romulo Fajardo Jr., and Tom Napolitano below! Only look if you want to know!

The driving force of the series has been Gordon’s quest to track down and kill The Joker, something that was secretly funded and orchestrated by the Court of Owls. Once Oracle discovered this detail, the Court began to target her and those in her orbit, with a Talon attacking them at the Clocktower. Barbara recovered a DNA sample from the Talon — and discovered, at the tail end of Issue #9, that the DNA belongs to none other than her brother, James Gordon Jr.

(Photo: DC Entertainment)

Initially created by Frank Miller and Dave Mazzucchelli in 1987, James Jr. grew to become a sadistic serial killer, who served as an antagonist of Batman, Nightwing, and later his own sister, when she operated as Batgirl. James Jr. most prominently returned in the DC Rebirth run of Batgirl, in which he orchestrated a string of murders to get the attention of his father and sister. This all was revealed in a climactic meeting with Batgirl in a lighthouse, which led to James Jr. falling to his death — and Gordon placing the blame on Batgirl.

While James Jr.’s death only occurred in Batgirl #49 a little over a year ago, the idea of him being reintroduced into canon already — much less as a Talon — is significant. Given James Jr.’s reputation as a killer, it certainly makes sense that the Court of Owls would want to weaponize his death for their gain, reanimating him and turning him into their latest supersoldier. It’s also convenient that rumors have recently swirled around whether or not James Jr. could appear in HBO Max’s Batgirl movie, which would make his speedy return — albeit with a twist — make sense.

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