Friday, March 26, 2010

Oberon Sexton: An Unusual Suspect

I have, admittedly, tossed out a few ideas about who Sexton is and haven't locked in on any that convince me. I've been pressing harder to try to work out the Sexton / Domino Killer situation, and am not quite ready to write it all up yet, but I wanted to post another idea for people to run with. Like "Mangrove Pierce", the new suspect I have in mind is an extremely minor character. One who, if revealed, would not be a big "WOW" moment, but an "ah". And I think that's possible -- not all reveals are "WOW". Lately, I have been coming at this "bottom up", and asked: What has Oberon Sexton actually done? And what, therefore, is his motive? And the main thing he has done is come to Gotham and told Batman that there is someone killing the Black Glove members. We don't know if he's good or bad, honest or dishonest, but we do know that he's not 100% honest, because he didn't tell Batman about the phone call from El Penitente. So, if he's not all good, all honest, and he's telling Batman that someone is killing the Black Glove members, what is his motive? Possibly that he's one of them, and he wants Batman to save his (Sexton's) own skin. One of the newspapers in Batman and Robin #10 said, "Sir Anthony: The Mystery Deepens". An English (like Sexton) member of the Black Glove, possibly the one who identified himself in Batman #681 as having made his fortune in electronics. (He uses the phrases "nonsense" and "dear lord" in RIP; those may or may not be more likely from the mouth of an Englishman than an American.) In Batman and Robin #10, Sir Anthony is referred to as a "media guy". In the next panel, Sexton uses the word "media".

There is no compelling evidence that this man is Sexton. But the motive actually works. Suppose a rich, powerful man running a media empire notices that after Jezebel Jet's disappearance, at least two other Black Glove members are killed. That would make three dead out of the five who were still alive at the end of RIP. He'd obviously have a reason to fear that he might be killed soon himself. So he goes underground under another man's identity (perhaps killing the real Sexton and his wife). Now, he thinks he's temporarily safe, but still has an unknown force out to get him. So immediately after the public reappearance of Batman in Gotham City, he goes to Gotham and tells the world, and then Batman personally, that someone is out to get the Black Glove members. To further make sure that Batman is motivated to get the killer, he adds that Bruce Wayne is the next target. He possibly knows that the old Batman was Bruce Wayne and that the new one would be extra-motivated to save him. Of course, being English, covering the real Sexton's voice would be easier. If he's a famous media magnate, that could explain why Dick finds something familiar about him.

Note that this theory is agnostic as to whether or not the "domino" motif has actually been used to decorate the bodies of the victims. Maybe it's true. Maybe Sexton is lying to make it more compelling that there is one killer out there that Batman has to stop. But if he's lying, then there needs to be an explanation for how the lie is linked to the dominoes appearing in Gotham, which are - perhaps - another issue.

This evidence is not proof that Sexton is the incredibly low-profile character who was only named in the last issue. But this is the only theory I've seen that actually explains Sexton's actions without any additional tricky explanations. (I.e.: If he's Bruce, why is he withholding information from Dick? If he's the Joker, why is he investigating one murder, Malenkov's, that he himself commited?)

But I'll add: Sexton has arrived at the Wayne Cemetery with a shovel nearby, and this is utterly inexplicable. We don't know what he's going to do with it, but dig up a grave seems like a good bet. And then we don't know what or why. This could immediately disqualify Sir Anthony if Sexton's got some sort of exceptional (or cosmic) knowledge about the former dead Waynes. If that's true, then perhaps he is the black-tophat wearing Baron Samedi, a loa of the dead in voodoo, something that freedumbdclxvi suggested on the DC Message Boards.

But until we see him step outside the natural (or the Fourth Wall, in the case of another conjecture: that he is Grant Morrison), Sir Anthony remains a top possibility for Sexton.

Mangrove Pierce is a similar suspect, but less obviously has something to gain from telling Batman about someone killing the Black Glove members: He's not one of them, and an actor likely never was because he just wouldn't be rich enough. So for the moment, I think Sir Anthony is a slightly stronger suspect.

This was just a short post on the thinking I've been doing about Oberon Sexton and the Domino Killer. More to come!

Update: Two additional observations that add some support to Oberon Sexton being Sir Anthony.

1) It has been observed that El Penitente says "Your sins have found you out" to Sexton over the phone, and this is a line that Doctor Hurt used previously. Assuming that Sir Anthony was the "electronics" member of the Black Glove, then he was actually one of the ones to whom the line was originally addressed.

2) Sexton says that the members of the Black Glove have either been murdered or have vanished without a trace. This indicates that there are cases in each of those two categories. We know that three of the five (Malenkov, al-Khidr, and Maggi) have been murdered and did not vanish without a trace. It is possible that Jezebel was never found, so she may be one who vanished without a trace. We can't pick apart Sexton's syntax with a fine-toothed comb and get any further than a guess, but it seems possible that he would not list the two outcomes (murdered, vanished) and link them unless more than one person were in each category. In other words, it is at least plausible and perhaps likely that Sir Anthony is one who vanished (perhaps in addition to Jezebel, or perhaps the only one). And the headline "The Mystery Deepens" is compatible with a disappearance. Though, admittedly, such spare information is all compatible, also, with Sir Anthony being actually dead with a body left behind. My point here is that it's quite plausible that Sir Anthony is missing, with no body, which supports the idea that his body is somewhere else -- namely, in "Oberon Sexton"'s clothing.


  1. I wonder if by end of #11 we will have enough clues to know everything for sure before #12 hits and reveals hopefully everything.

  2. Hi John,

    Nothing outside the story has actually promised any Oberon Sexton reveal. The story itself has strongly hinted that there is a reveal, but not that it's a big one, which is why I think the story might show him to be a minor character or even a new one with some remarkable characteristic.

    However, the solicit for #12 promises (if it's still accurate now that three issues have been added to the sequence) that the identity of the Domino Killer will be revealed. That is interesting, because the story alone (which showed the people with dominoes being assaulted by at least three different characters: Joker, Talia, and Jason Todd) would lead me to doubt that there IS a Domino Killer. So either the solicit sets up a reveal of "nobody" (or more than one somebody) or the solicit is the only real declaration that there *is* a (one) Domino Killer.

  3. Rikdad, I'd be curious on your thoughts about the fact that Sexton is a best-selling author, though I think the title of only one of his books has been revealed: "Masks of Evil" (although for all we know this might be the only book he's written).

  4. Yes, I was in reference to the solicitation, I know those are things are written way in advance I believe, so who know's what will happen. In fact I almost wish the solicitations were only one line or something, too much is given away, see the preview and cover page for GL #50 for example.

  5. Here are my annotations from Mr. Sexton's various appearances. I'm gonna go with Magrove Pierce. I mean he hasn't been mentioned in Batman and Robin (so probably not a suspect), but he was Bruce's guess for the Black Glove right up until the end of RIP. My evidence is contained in below. Rikdad hit on most of it, but I think I have some new stuff or readings of some scenes.

    Batman and Robin #4

    1) His name is Oberon Sexton or at least this is his pen name.
    -Oberon is the name of a character in Shakespeare's A Midsummer's Night Dream
    -Oberon was the manager of Mr. Miracle (and king of the faries like in the Shakespeare play) back in Kirby's original series
    -A Sexton is literally a church gravedigger (which probably indicates that his name is a pen name and not actually his real name)

    2) Grayson knows that Sexton is both English (British) and an author.
    -Grant Morrison obviously fits the bill.
    -Magrove Pierce could potentially have developed this career since his either of his "deaths"

    3) Sexton has a relative amount of fame from his career to be invite to this popular party and is recognized by both Lucius Fox and Dick.
    -I'm not sure if Sexton could have developed this level in fame in less than a year since RIP and have developed such popularity in such a short time. I mean the world went through Final Crisis and Blackest Night, I'm not sure how much popularity a crime novelist could get given all this upheaveal.

    4) His face was scarred by the criminals who killed his wife. Or something along this lines, it seems he's a celebrity that has myths come up about his life.
    -PIERCE LITTERALLY FITS THIS BILL. Rhe Black Glove could have killed Pierce's family (the whole production of the Black Glove was curse) and obviously, Dr. Hurt said that he took off Pierce's face when he wore it to the party. This would imply serious scaring that could have left him disfigured as to wear Sexton's mask
    -The Joker could also fit this story given his back story in the Killing Joke.

    5) Sexton dresses all in navy blue, has red glasses, and wears WHITE gloves.
    -Obviously, white vs. black dyanmic. And the elaborate blue and red glasses give a creepy feel. In the last panel, Grayson seems to be uncomfortable shaking Sexton's hand. Sexton has an air of confidence asking the foster son of Bruce Wayne how he is in a very chummy manner.

    6) Sexton captures the attention of the crowd when he will tell them "the solution to the Riddle of the Corn Dollie will have to wait."
    -Sexton seems to like the celeberity life and the attention of people and is very comfortable talking with them (unlike Bruce and more like the Joker). Perhaps, another rich fellow (Pierce?) would have this level of comfort given the crowd at the party.
    -The corn dollie has a lot of symbolic significance, but none of its symoblism sticks out more than the other
    -Riddle of the Corn Dollie seems to be one of his books (his most recently published perhaps); we later find out he published another Masks of Evil. I'm going to assume he didn't write two best selling books since RIP occured; therefore, Sexton likely started his career before the events of RIP (Pierce seems to fit the bill so well).

    7) Sexton is called the Gravedigger. He has an interest in crime (obvious given his career).
    -His name litearlly means a type of gravedigger.
    -Again, he has really developed celebrity status.
    -Sexton has been investigating a globe trotting serial killer - who, at this point, you can logically deduce has been killing Black Glove members.

  6. Batman and Robin #5

    1) From Mo G.'s intro on his talk show, Sexton is a best-selling author, an amateur detective, from England, and known as the Gravedigger.
    -Mo G.'s intro reiterates all of what we know about Sexton.
    -Grant Morrison gets humourus hear with the polls and such. So, likely the play on his name is just for fun (like the polls) for the informed readers.
    -I'm assuming Mo G.'s show is a well know show in Gotham/the world as Alfred/Dick watch it. Therefore, Sexton is pretty famous.

    2) Sexton doesn't take the Red Hood's side. He knows that Red Hood name was taken by the Joker in the past.
    -Here the reader gets an indication that Sexton may not be a bad guy like they may have gotten form his intro last issue. He seems pretty neutral or leanign towards Batman's side by denoucing the Red Hood as a killer.
    -He knows the history of the Red Hood (definately the Joker's assumption of the mantle and possibly Jason Todd's last stint) in Gotham meaning he is just well researched or has more experience with Red Hoods than we know (i.e. he's the Joker).

    3) Sexton has authored the book Masks of Evil.
    -He has written another best selling book other than the Riddle of teh Corn Dollies. TWO BEST SELLING NOVELS PUBLISHED SINCE RIP? Unlikely, so he probably has had a career since RIP.

    Batman and Robin #6

    1) Oberon Sexton has been investiagating the Black Glove murders.
    -He has copies of the paper showing the slaying of the cardinal.
    -He also appears to have some kind of file (maybe the government or GCPD) on Dr. Hurt that has a demonic star on it. I'm assuming Morrison is doing this on person and it was just not a liberty of hte artist/inker.

    2) El Penitente/Dr. Hurt calls Sexton to do a favor.
    -Sexton is suprised that someone has his cell number like Jezebel Jet is suprised when Talia (or even Hurt) calls her to mock her. Sexton is clearly caught off guard and let his cell number be discovered (not very "Batman" or even very "Joker" to me).
    -Penitente repeats Hurt's line form RIP, "your sins have found you out."
    -Penitente indicates that he knows Sexton's "little secret" (which could be good or bad, but very much a secret and very much leverage for blackmail).
    -Penitente seems to get Sexton on board and gives him orders to somehow help him settle his score in Gotham.
    -Does the conversation continue past this point or does Sexton remain silenced by Hurt and just listens to the plans (mess with/kill Batman?).
    -Why would El Penitente, given all his resouces, need Sexton's help. Is he just being cruel to Sexton given a prior affliation? Does need some special skill of Sexton's or needs to use a special connection Sexton has with Batman???

  7. Batman and Robin #10

    1) Sexton is on the trail of the Domino Killer who besides leaving dominos around Gotham has also been killing the Black glove members abroad.
    -Ostensibly, Sexton appears to be following the case beacause it involves the rich and famous and would be a good case to solve/write a book on. However, Sexton has dealings with El Penitente at this point and isn't straight with Batman about that (probably because the eyes and ears of El Penitente are everywhere).

    2) Sexton has several errors in his detective work, but has a good picture of what's happening.
    -Jezebel Jet has been killed by Talia who is likely not the Domino Killer
    -Malenkov was killed by the Joeker. And while he very well could be disposed of in an alligator. The Domino Killer didn't kill him and went to great extreams to transport his body to Russia/China
    -Sexton only identifies four members of the Black Glove. Is this on purpose? Is it just left out like the mention of only four mob mosses in Batman #666.
    -Batman seems to imply that all the members mapped by Sexton (the locations of the murders doesn't seem to show any pattern, El Petitente cross or Satan symbol) including the media guy, Sir Anthony) have been killed by someone (who is probably the Domino Killer)
    -Sexton logically reasons that Bruce Wayne is going to be next which is why he comes to Gotham. However, there have been lots of murders that could have been comitted by Domino killer that we have seen throughout the various Batman arcs. I don't know how the time frame works out but a lot has happened in a short time since RIP.
    -Sexton has reasoned--or has been informed, betted with, or fought--that the Black Glove exists and how it connects to all the characters; in fact, Sexton knows its name the "Black Glove"
    -Sexton seems to think Bruce Wayne has bats in his closet (or is purposefully mocking Dick)

  8. 2) Sexton isn't playing El Pentitente's game and he can go up against the Mexican mobster.
    -Sexton apparently had ordrs to strike out against/kill Batman. Obviously, no ordinary crime author has the skill to take out Batman.
    -Sexton apparently was offered something by El Pentitente in some kind of offer (be it just to be quiet on a secret or something else)
    -Sexton is extremely with dealing with the deadly mobster/the devil himself
    -"I have exceptional hearing" - seems to scream Bruce Wayne, the Joker, or some meta. He does seem to have good hearing as he hears the assassins. Further, what kind of person says a remark like this who is not superpowered or some with truly exceptional hearing.
    -Sexton has the means for escaping the hotel via rope (might be average for a amateur crime author but probably not)

    3) Questions arise on how much Sexton really knows about himself.
    -Is he a new persona of the Joker? He would logically be pretending to follow around the Domino killer when in actually he is committing the murders himself. He would want to mess with Dick Batman (whose identity he and the other people at Arkham during RIP could have deduced) and combat Dr. Hurt. However, the earlier confrontation doesn't seem to imply that level of anmisoity given the very recent events of RIP. But honestly who can say what the Joker is thinking (heh).
    -Is he an Omega Sanction persona of Bruce Wayne? The possiblities are limitless: he could have no clue or he was or just not want to act out against El Penitente just yet. Lots of his actions could support this (and his competency), but I don't think Morrison would pull this so early before The Return of Bruce Wayne.

    4) Sexton is still a neutral (or possibly noble) character.
    -Sexton seems want to get at the truth of the investiagation or is just jabbering gibberish
    -"Good men always find shovels to dig with" - a morally ambigious statement that seems to imply Sexton feels his cause is noble (and also takes his whole Sexton/Gravedigger routine to an extreme).
    -Sexton helps out Robin (rikdad has compared this to the first Joker/Robin scene and to me the ressemblence is uncanny)
    -"Oberon Sexton, the Gravedigger, at your service. I'm here to help." isn't exactly a statement you would doubt, but how could Mr. Sexton be more effective than Robin at combating and evil (obviously he has some special qualities)

    The preview square at the bottom makes Sexton look heroic and Robin look like he's following Sexton's lead/looking at something amazing.

    (bah my posts probably went too long, so just delete them or whatever)

  9. I think Sexton is Thomas Wayne. If you've read the solicit for 13 it says Thomas Wayne will return. Thomas Wayne has been gone for 20 years, long enough to make an alternate persona (sexton). He is also rich enough. He would also have a motive for being at the Wayne graves. Also though if that theory proves wrong, I bet when Thomas Wayne returns he will be Hurt (hurt says I was Thomas Wayne and I pretended to be dead).

  10. While these hypotheses are very interesting, I can't help but get the feeling that we are reading way too much into a very small piece of information. Although that would not be very un-Morrison-y.

    If we approach it from a much more surface level we may come to a different, yet convincing, conclulsion. Answer me this...

    Why is oberon Sextin covering his body, head to toe?

    Every last part of his body is covered. I believe (again, comic not on hand) that it said he was scarred, but that would have to be one hell of a scarring to warrant such an extensive covering. The whole of the B&R run has addressed masks, secret identities and false faces in some capacity over and over and I do not think Oberon would be any different.

    Oberon is wearing a full body Mask.

    If Oberon wanted to wear a mask to conceal his identity, why would it need to be full body? The only character that has had any mention or appearance in Morrison's story thus far that would require such an elaborate mask is the Joker! if any of the Joker's body is not covered it would reveal the white skin underneath and ruin his identity.

    Now in terms of motive, he was very pissed off at the end of RIP, with Hurt directly insulting him. Is Joker killing off the Black Glove under the guise of investigating their murders? (thats a pretty funny joke, with it even going as far as Batman relying on him for evidence, ha ha ha).

    Joker reinvents himself, with Morrison putting him through a metamorphosis at the start of his epic run. So far, besides cosmetics, we havent seen too much difference from the Joker of old and this "new" Joker, albeit slightly darker, but it coiuld very easily be argued that Joker was already commonly portrayed as dark. Maybe part of the metamorphosis was to have a second identity that writes novels (his own secret identity). it keeps with the theme of Morrispn's run on B&R, ties in the MASSIVE lose end of The Joker at Midnight, in particular the funeral for Bobo. Plus it would provide Joker with an important role in the future of Morrison's run (which has been teased).

    If Joker helps Dick, and the Bruce returns. How will that play out? What will Dick's opinion on the Joker be? Will there be a second "Batman vs Robin"?

  11. I still think Sexton is a "good guy". Rikdad, you cite the fact that he wasn't completely honest with Batman as proof that he's not altogether good. But in the same scene, Dick neglects share with Sexton that he has encountered dominoes on more than one occasion - information which would certainly help Sexton in his case. And I think we'd agree that Dick is one of the good guys!

    I don't really know who OS is at this point. The evidence for the Joker is compelling. But I should point out, Gutter Treasure, that the Joker has disguised himself plenty of times without wearing head-to-toe clothing, using flesh colored make-up.

  12. which indicates that Joker requires a more complete covering with his mask. Also, since his facial scarring and new forked tounge, makeup would no longer do the trick. He would need at least something that covered his mouth and jaw area.

  13. darkside, thanks for the annotations! Glad to have them here!

  14. Gutter, I think the Joker is obviously part of the picture of Sexton wearing 100% cover, but possibly as a red herring. For example, in Batman #678, Doctor Hurt toasted "Here's to crime!", a line from The Killing Joke. In the world of the story, there would be no rational reason for him to quote the Joker, and he surely didn't intend to quote the Joker. But it did work as a red herring to make people think that the Black Glove might be the Joker.

    Likewise, I would not be surprised here to find out that Oberon Sexton is someone else, covering his face, and if asked (which he won't be) why he was also wearing gloves, he'd say "I like gloves." When the real reason was to keep the Joker on the list of suspects.

  15. Going back to the monthly schedule is killing me. the fortnightly schedule is so much better. i am glad we will be getting the Return of BW fortnightly, at least to start.

  16. Like I said earlier, what if Sexton is Thomas Wayne? He had enough time and money to live a new life. His wife was killed by criminals, and if you consider getting shot scarred, then he fits. Also, Thomas Wayne was thought to be dead, and if he wasn't people would get ideas, so I cannot explain full body covering, but I can say that he would require at least a mask.

  17. Mxylev, one thing you've got going for your theory are the solicits. In #12, "all is revealed," including, presumably, the identity of Oberbon Sexton. Then in #13, Thomas Wayne appears!

  18. I also think it's Thomas Wayne. I think he found out about Bruce being Batman and didn't want to mess with the good his son was doing. His return would change the reasoning for Batman's existence profoundly. That's probably what the black glove has on him. The fear that Bruce will feel betrayed by his father for not being part of his life when, all this time he was alive AND aware of how his death effected him to such an extreme way to become Batman. A crime novelist could give him the means to follow his son's work without question. Gloves prevent DNA evidence from being lifted (his son and his wards being some of the greatest detectives alive) explaining the "full body mask". And let's face it... if some one says they are scarred and disfigured and cover them selves up, no one on "polite" situations will demand proof. Thomas Wayne had acted in the past which could explain the well pulled off accent, but not perfect (as noted by Damien). The only missing piece is how he survived. I don't think it's the Joker. Gutter, I like your though process and the concept of where it may have gone with Dick v. Bruce, but I can't believe Joker could keep that kind of control in all of those situations.

    Obviously, we could all be wrong. I'm exited to discover how wrong I could be.