WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Gotham’s midseason premiere, “Pieces of a Broken Mirror,” which aired March 1 on Fox.
Fox’s Gotham ha never been shy about using some of the biggest villains of the Batman mythos. It began slowly, reimagining the origins of such big-name foes as The Penguin, The Riddler and Scarecrow. But before long, the series stopped working as a crime drama and became an incubator for most of the Dark Knight’s rogues gallery. Soon most every villain, from Firefly to the Mad Hatter and from Mr. Freeze to Ra’s al Ghul, appeared in a prominent capacity.
When the series returned this week from midseason hiatus, it picked up on every major story thread it had left dangling. On top of all that, Gotham also introduced a new villain from the comics: the Toyman. Although he’s clashed before with the Caped Crusader, he’s traditionally a Superman foe. However, true to itself, Gotham brought the character to life in its own universe with an interesting twist.
The Toyman first appeared in 1943’s Action Comics #64, but throughout the years the identity has been used by three separate characters: the most widely recognized and original Toyman Winslow Schott, his successor Jack Nimball, and the young Hiro Okamura. All three clashed with Superman on various occasions, using their toy-based weaponry to torment Metropolis. Because the character has no special powers of his own, his obsession with toys always drew comparisons to the deranged psychopaths who call Gotham City home. For that reason, Toyman has been a character torn between two very different worlds: the bright cityscape of Metropolis, and the dark alleys of Gotham.
However, he seems right at home on Fox’s Gotham. Introduced as a face in the crowd, he’s an old toymaker of small stature who retrofits a toy plane as a bomb. But his name isn’t Winslow or Jack; it’s Clifford Krank. Although the full name is a new alter ego for the villain, the surname surely isn’t. A version of the Toyman, who went by the moniker of the Toymaker, was created for the 2004-2008 animated series The Batman, on which has name was Cosmo Krank.
When Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) visits Clifford’s workshop on Gotham, he is first greeted by the villain’s teenage son. While we don’t hear the son’s name, it’s not difficult to stipulate to believe it’s Cosmo. Clifford, who was hired as an assassin by The Riddler, is ultimately shot dead by Gordon. However, his son, who appears to be roughly the same age as Bruce Wayne, is just fine. What’s more, he’s just inherited his father’s workshop, and he may have an ax to grind with Gordon and the rest of Gotham City. As it stands, there’s bound to be a new Toymaker in town.
Airing Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Fox, Gotham stars Ben McKenzie as James Gordon, Donal Logue as Harvey Bullock, David Mazouz as Bruce Wayne, Robin Lord Taylor as Penguin, Cameron Bicondova as Selina Kyle, Erin Richards as Barbara Kean and Sean Pertwee as Alfred Pennyworth.
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