SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Batman: Prelude to the Wedding – Red Hood vs. Anarky #1, by Tim Seeley, Javier Fernandez, Hugo Petrus, John Kalisz, Otto Schmidt and Dave Sharpe, on sale now.
DC Comics’ wedding of the century – the highly anticipated nuptials between Batman and Catwoman – is right around the corner, and it isn’t just readers that are prepping their Sunday best ahead of the big day. Over the course of several one-shots, various members of the Dark Knight’s rogues gallery have gotten wind of impending holy batrimony and done their damndest to ensure that what should be the happiest day of Batman’s life is anything but.
Lonnie Machin, aka Anarky, is just the latest in this long line of would-be wedding crashers, all of whom seem to have had a helping hand from the Clown Prince of Crime. However, it’s because of The Joker’s influence that Lonnie comes closer to inciting true, unadulterated anarchy than ever before.
Much like the previous one-shots, Batman: Prelude to the Wedding – Red Hood vs. Anarky takes place on the night of Batman and Catwoman’s bachelor and bachelorette parties. Another layer is added to the mix this time around, though, as Batman tasks Jason Todd, aka Red Hood, with keeping a close eye on his fiancée to ensure no harm comes to her or her friends.
As is often the case, it turns out Batman’s precautions aren’t for naught, as Jason quickly discovers a group of anti-feminists attempting to deploy a bomb on top of the male strip club Selina and her friends are attending. He’s able to subdue them nearly effortlessly, and after a brief interrogation, Jason learns the men aren’t working alone, but rather under the direction of Anarky.
This leads Jason to an area of Gotham known as the Butcher’s Block, which – coincidentally – is where Selina decides to bring her friends in search of a new venue for their festivities. There, Jason encounters Anarky lurking in the far reaches of a radio tower, and as the pair trade blows, Anarky argues that Batman is a fascist who doesn’t deserve to find love.
Meanwhile, Jason’s fellow Outlaw Bizarro is running facial recognition on the remaining pawns in Anarky’s scheme on the ground below, and much to his surprise, it isn’t just anti-feminists that he’s recruited.
“Militant feminists,” Bizarro tells Jason via comm. device. “Anti-fascists. Gun rights activists. Pro-lifers. Anti-abortionists. Capitalists. Socialists. The only thing they share… anger.”
Jason is able to take down Anarky using his suit’s built-in Taser, and just as the crowd begins reaching for their electronic Anarky masks, he and Bizarro manage to hack into them and expose Lonnie’s true plan.
Using noisemakers, smoke bombs and blood bags, Anarky planned to fabricate an “attack” to incite chaos. Then, as the mask-wearing pawns frantically sought out the culprit, the masks would suddenly reveal each person’s extremists beliefs, which would likely have led to a small-scale war being waged in the streets of Gotham. “True anarchy,” as Jason puts it.
Afterward, at the GCPD headquarters, Lonnie explains to Jason that is was The Joker who put him up to the task of giving Batman this “rehearsal” of sorts. However, even though he failed in his endeavor, it’s still frightening to imagine the very real possibility of a similarly fashioned plan coming to fruition, particularly in our current sociopolitical climate.
Had he succeeded, though, there’s no doubt that Anarky would have certainly lived up to his namesake.