Batman’s many foes vary in origin, ranging from ancient warriors with detailed backstories to mysterious and deadly jokers. And, one of his most bizarre thieves has quietly become one of his most personal – for a truly twisted reason.
“Little Hands in the Dark” by Batman: Urban Legends #19 (by Zac Thompson, Hayden Sherman, Dave Stewart, and Clem Robbins) features a deadly new take on the Ventriloquist. Notably, the new puppet has a deep connection to Batman’s origins thanks to the Monarch Theater – and could have a supernatural edge.
“Tiny Hands in the Dark” introduces a twisted new killer to Gotham. A child-sized murderer smashes his way through town, with distinctive white hands, red eyes, and a boyish voice. Batman’s investigation leads him to the townhouse built on the remains of the Monarch Theater – the same movie theater where his parents were murdered when he was a child. Entering the building, he finds “Bobby” – a boy, who talks about how he enjoys killing people. It turns out the puppet had been trying to lure Bruce into a trap.
The villain – looking for a new partner to replace Scarface – carved Bobby into the heart of the Monarch Theatre. “Bobby” is filled with the spirits of the monarch according to the Ventriloquist, and he wanted to kill Bruce Wayne to fulfill the dark fate Gotham had in mind for the Waynes. The doll even appears to call Bruce as he trains the ventriloquist to face judgment, suggesting that his encounter with the doll may have really included some dark spirits. This strikes a chord with Batman as he has long been targeted by Gotham’s supernatural forces.
Barbatos, for example, was considered a demonic lord by villains over the centuries and manipulated Gotham City into turning Batman into his unwitting agent on Earth. It’s a setting where ghosts have haunted buildings and revealed the truth of untold mysteries. It wouldn’t be out of the question for the spirits of the Monarch Theater to take on physical form if given the chance – even if it’s a terrifying thought. It also suggests that the Ventriloquist now has a specific connection to Batman’s origin. “Bobby’s” Last Call implies that at least the doll – if not the Ventriloquist on some level – knows that Bruce Wayne is Batman.
This could make the minor villain one of the few people who know the Dark Knight’s true identity – making him a much more potentially dangerous figure for the continued existence of the Bat-Family. The unstable villain is a minor player in the grand scheme of things – but other stories have shown just how dangerous a single enemy knowing a hero’s identity can be to the world at large. Bobby being built from the Monarch Theater gives the Ventriloquist a dark new connection to the night that created Batman – and could easily complicate things for the Dark Knight in the future.