You know what the worst way to find the secret bosses of your city is?
Sending the most flamboyant, attention-seeking guy you know to find ’em.
That is more or less what happens here since Barbara can’t take a hint and asks Nygma to find out who or what sent that masked killer to wipe out her people on the pier. Sure, Nygma is brilliant and probably the smartest man in the city. Or, he wants you to think he is. He’s not bad. The thing is, he can’t just nose around quietly and ask some questions. He has to go out and find the bosses’ boss. That means kidnapping Mayor James, putting a bomb collar around his neck, and hijacking a TV station to demand the only name James gives him, namely “the Court,” and demand they show themselves or else he’ll…do something else.
That said, Mayor James must be used to this by now.
But this is still the Riddler. He doesn’t just sneak into the Mayor’s Manor and grab the guy in his sleep. He leaves a warning at a performance of Hamlet that includes killing two actors, there are some drugged donuts, and finally a riot in a hospital. And yes, Gordon is there to growl and appear useless. He has enough on his plate as it is, seeing as how the Court will demand a favor of some kind to let the midlevel policeman join the organization made up of the wealthy elites of Gotham City.
I’m not the only one who thinks that’s screwy, right?
Then again, Lee is also suspicious because Gordon didn’t bat an eyelash that his estranged Uncle Frank was found dead under suspicious circumstances. Of course, Lee thinks this will lead her to take that most evil of men in Gotham down, namely Jim Gordon.
Dude, you were engaged to a mobster’s son, and said mobster still seems to be in town.
OK, emotional and logical consistency is not the hallmark of Gotham. I know that. It’s part of the charm. And fortunately, Gordon gets a way to get onto the Court: he has to give them Ed Nygma.
Can he do that? Sure! Turns out Tabitha and Butch, the friendliest gangster in town, hate Nygma and will gladly give him up. Plus, all Gordon really has to do is promise Ed some answers. Ed loves riddles. He hates not knowing things. Getting the Mayor away and Nygma into the car to meet the Court is rather easy, all told. And no, the Court won’t be killing Ed. He might be useful.
It’s probably for the best. Five is breaking down, Alfred is maybe suspicious, and when Five confesses to Selina in order to get her out of town before the whole “destruction of the city” thing happens, she goes a step further and points out Bruce wouldn’t be warning one person destruction was coming. He’d try to save everybody. So, she ain’t gonna let Five…oh wait, he defenstrated her. Good thing there are some cats down there. I’ve seen that movie. Point is, the Court’s plan has some holes in them if they expect Bruce to come back and fix things for them.
Besides, Penguin is putting his army together. He’s got Ivy, Freeze, and Firefly to start. If anyone can take down the Court of Owls…it won’t be that guy. He’s not even looking for them.
I’d say this was going somewhere, because it obviously is, but all this proves the one thing I have believed all along: Barbara is not a criminal mastermind.
Titans “Caul’s Folly”
Comic Review: The Judas Coin
Noteworthy Issues: Supergirl: Woman Of Tomorrow #5 (November, 2021)