Who is the dreaded Carpenter?Posted: 06/12/2012
Do you know Jenna Duffy, otherwise known as the Carpenter? You shouldn’t. She’s only appeared in seven issues, spread out among different Batman series. When I say she’s a minor character, that’s a tremendous understatement. Duffy will never appear in any Batman trivia or trading cards. But she’s a delightful supervillain, and one that’ll enrich your long, fulfilling life.
Yup, she’s actually a carpenter. As legitimate as Jesus. Originally a pickpocket and thief from Keystone City (where the Flash lives), she moved to Gotham in hopes of a better life and a bigger score. That and her expertise with power tools. Her first appearance was in Detective Comics #841, where she made this brave stand against the Dark Knight:
Don’t worry, because her reign of terror isn’t over. In Detective Comics #847 just a mere six issues later, she’s engaged in mortal combat with Robin (Damian Wayne, the pre-pubescent fourth Robin).
So she doesn’t have a promising future like some of the other member of Batman’s rogue gallery. To be fair, she has to plug her weapons in. And she attacked a ten year-old with a power drill. But as you know from comics, explosions occur almost every other month. Who’s going to fix these hideouts? Normal contractors might discover the supervillains’ stash of stolen cash or trick guillotines and tattle to Commissioner Gordon. That’s when you call in the Carpenter.
Children, this is why you should always have some expertise to fall back on if defeating Batman fails. And there’s 70 years of proof that taking out Batman’s a wee bit tough.
In the last issue, the Gotham City Sirens (Catwoman, Poison Ivy, and Harley Quinn) had their house blown up, so while they go after the bad guy, they need to come back to a fresh animal shelter, greenhouse, and Joker shrine. Plus, supervillainy pays terribly well, so let it be known that despite dressing up like a bad Halloween costume, Catwoman is loaded.
But narrative structure is only successful when obstacles to the path of success arise. Who do you call when you’re in a pit where the walls are slowly caving in? Damn right, you call the Carpenter.
Spoiler alert: they win.
As you know, any important character in comic books has their own customized ride. Don’t fret, because the Carpenter is no exception:
Unfortunately, the Sirens are a trio and not a quadruple or whatever it’s called. Duffy’s brief appearance has to end eventually. Is it going to be exciting and emotionally satisfying? No, but at least you can sleep easy tonight with a fraction of closure.
You must have realized by now that this isn’t really enough to justify an entire article. After all, you have Sportscenter and Man v. Food episodes to catch up on and your time is too valuable to waste on a background character. I’m not half-assing, I swear. In Batman: Streets of Gotham #12 and #13, the Carpenter stars in her very own adventure. Let’s explore together!
So what has Duffy been up to since fixing up Catwoman’s pad? I’m glad you asked!
Oh, now she has freckles. Character development and whatnot.
Anyway, Batman shows up, breaks up the mob party, and as the Carpenter sneaks out the back, she’s given an interesting proposition. Not that, you pervert.
We’ve all seen Batman stumble onto these crazy hideouts full of surprises, right? It’s fun to see Batman dodge falling ceiling fans or buzzsaws coming out of walls. But even in a fictional world, these criminal hideouts take time and skill to build. You’re about to go behind the scenes. This is DVD extra stuff.
Before that, I know I’ve been calling her a supervillain, but how is she any more dangerous than a normal carpenter? So far, seems like that’s more of a profession than a name to strike fear in the hearts of do-gooders. Luckily, the job turns out to be at an old movie theater. And henchmen are always hanging around abandoned cinemas.
Satisfied? Yeah, you can get why she’s a very minor character in the DC world. At least you have a VIP pass to witness the pre-Batman trap setup, right? Complete with actor commentary.
Now what’s the biggest problem about working for supervillains? Did you guess the casualty rate of the hired help? You’re right. But Duffy ain’t a mob lawyer or terrified accountant. She’s served under the Mad Hatter. She carries mini sledgehammers. The Carpenter is a bona fide supervillain. And she’s not about to let some wannabe baddie take her out. No matter how devious the plan:
What do you do when you’ve been paid in advance and want to make it out alive? Yessir, you alert Batman and stay out of his way. He’ll maneuver around the deathtraps and clean up all the bad guy trash. He’s the supernanny of putting supervillains to bed. By bed I mean knocked unconscious on the warehouse floor.
Sadly, no matter the heads up, Batman is also really mean.
And that’s Dick Grayson as Batman. Bruce Wayne would have caved her face in. He’s not a fan of crime.
Are you sad that the Carpenter’s last appearance in comics had her running away like a punk? Wipe away your tears, because I have one final page. A page that inspires hope and happiness in the spirit of the readers. Trust me, the Carpenter has many traits, like hard-working, highly skilled, and surprisingly intuitive, but most importantly, she’s greedy. And that’s the perfect flaw for a supervillain.