May 23, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Characters Case File #468: The Help

The Help: an old man who can beat up Batman.

Wait, I thought I said I was covering Madame Web because of that movie no one saw?  Well, I thought about it, but I ultimately decided that I was on something of a kick with characters writer Tom King created in various Batman books, so one more was more than appropriate.

So, let’s look at The Help.

First off, there’s not a lot on The Help.  He doesn’t have a real name, for one.  I’m not even 100% sure where his first appearance is.  I know it came in the 2022 mini-series Batman: Killing Time by King and artist David Marquez.  I’ve only read the first two issues of that so far, and I think he pops up for an unassuming cameo in one of those issues.  What I do know is he’s a big part of that mini-series, and he’s since reappeared in the Penguin’s brand new solo book.  That seems to be about it.  So, who is this guy?

Well…he’s basically an evil version of Alfred Pennyworth.  And he can beat up Batman.

The Help, an old man of over 80 years old, shows up in the aforementioned Killing Time mini-series, a story where the Riddler and Catwoman swipe a valuable artifact, screw over the Penguin in the process in a manner that nearly kills Cobblepot, and then Batman goes off to find it.  The Help hands Batman his head, then teams up with him, and there are some hints about where the Help came from, hints that were more or less confirmed in the Penguin’s series that states that the Help is Ra’s al-Ghul’s heretofore unmentioned son, a man who looks down his nose a bit at his father’s Lazrarus Pit habits and has allowed himself to age to a still fairly formidable 92 years old.

Oh, and he has either beaten up or helped train just about every hand-to-hand combatant in the DC Universe.  Given his habit of name-dropping, that’s the sort of thing that will either annoy or intrigue readers.

I mean, the Penguin issue he appeared in had him drop that he tried to teach marksmanship to a young Oliver Queen, even suggesting the kid try the bow instead of the gun.

Alright, so this guy is an unstoppable fighting machine.  Why is he called “The Help”?

Basically, he’s the ultimate henchman-for-hire.  In Penguin #2, he’s retired until the Penguin, looking to rebuild his criminal empire, arrives to recruit the Help.  The Help initially refuses.  He’s retired, comfortable, and has a large house full of servants.  The Penguin can’t beat him in a fight.  What Cobblepot can do, however, is drug the Help, kill the man’s servants, and then tell the Help that, well, the Help’s lot in life is to serve others, not be the one served.  And the Help seems to accept that.

So, not much on this guy, but, well, he’s just the Help.