Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Many fans guessed Sexton's identity from the very beginning. I pitched a number of guesses, delving into whispers of clues that were ultimately misleading; the fact that the original Red Hood's attire basically matched Sexton's may have been one correct clue.
Dick Grayson, however, solved the crime with two clues we had and two we didn't: the murders of the four deceased Black Glove members were designed to hint at jokes, and two of those were presented to us in #10, with nobody, apparently, in fandom seeing the pattern.
Cardinal Maggi was killed with a dog collar. Since cardinals normally wear collars, it could be a subtle joke on the cardinal being a dog. There is also a joke about "white collar crime" turning out to be the misdeeds of a cardinal. There is yet another a joke about someone stopping a vicious dog attack by choking the dog with its own collar, and the person's actions being portrayed positively at first, but then negatively when something else is learned about them (e.g., a Yankees fan in Boston is said to "viciously kill beloved pet"). Maybe there is another joke that describes the situation more pointedly.
The tycoon having a heart attack during sex with his young mistress is probably funny enough to someone like the Joker. Additionally, there is a joke about a man being found by his dumb (blonde) wife after such a heart attack and when the wife, misperceiving the situation, finds the naked mistress in the closet, she is furious because the woman is playing hide and seek. If there is another joke that plays also on the unusual word "tycoon", I don't see the connection.
Neither of those were clues available to us, because the nature of their deaths was not mentioned until the end of #12. However, the other two appeared early in #10. They more clearly pertain to well-known jokes, which happen to be unprintable in comics.
General Malenkov's murder pertains to its respective joke via a pun: There is a joke about a man winning bar bets with a trained alligator that allows the man to place his genitals in its mouth. The link here is the similar sound of the words "general" and "genitals". The Joker put his "general" in the alligator's mouth.
Equally unprintable, and the one that we probably had the best chance of perceiving: The sheikh died in the bathroom as a result of poisoned peanuts. I don't know if this is cast as easily into a "joke" per se so much as there is a pun: the Joker gave a sheikh peanuts in the bathroom (gave the penis a shake in the bathroom).
And, alas, for all of the false leads and the top-down guessing ("Who would make a surprising reveal? The Joker."), there were a couple of bona fide clues, and nobody saw them.