Fox's "Gotham" Provides Surprise Origin For Classic Batman Ally

In its first season and a half, Fox's DC Entertainment drama "Gotham" has brought in a few familiar faces from the world of the Dark Knight. But tonight, the show teased a new twist on one of the strangest aliases in Batman's canon.

As part of tonight's "The Son of Gotham" episode, young Bruce Wayne put on an alter ego of sorts (for full spoilers see our recap) in order to shake loose the supposed name of his parent's killer from cultish gangster Theo Galavan's niece Silver St. Cloud. While the twisting interrogation didn't cough up the name many comic fans know as the Wayne killer (that's Joe Chill, of course), Silver did say that their intel pointed the way to someone known only as "M. Malone."

This is, of course, a reference to Matches Malone - a two-bit Jersey arsonist who in the comics is actually an alter ego of Batman himself. Whenever the Dark Knight needs to lean on his mob connections with an olive branch instead of a fist, he sports the gaudy plaid blazer, beak nose and pencil-thin mustache of Matches. While chewing on his signature matchsticks, the cowardly criminal has been known to play a role in any number of Batman stories.

Originally conceived by Denny O'Neil and Irv Novick in 1972's "Batman" #242, the Malone alter ego has been a favorite story device of DC writers for years. In the early 2000s, Ed Brubaker and Scott McDaniel presented a story where the supposedly imagined character was revealed to be an actual two-bit hood with a secret connection to Batman's past.

However, this new tease in "Gotham" is the first time the identity has been tied to the killing of Bruce Wayne's parents. While the episode, heavy on false identities as it was, likely is planting the name both for its thematic resonance and its red herring possibilities, fans will have to wait and see whether "Gotham" goes forward with the real Malone or continues to develop the name as an early alter ego for young Bruce.

Stay tuned for more from "Gotham" on CBR.

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