The origin of Matches MalonePosted: 10/28/2014
Sometimes when criminals have finished peeing their pants while hanging off the balcony as Batman explains his arm’s getting tired, the Dark Knight still doesn’t have all the information he needs to knock out supervillains’ teeth. And since Batman’s the world’s greatest detective, sometimes that means going all Donnie Brasco in the depths of the Gotham underworld. His most used, famous, and silliest secret identity is New Jersey’s Matches Malone. No one suspects a thing. Luckily, Brian K. Vaughan explains to us how Matches Malone came to be in Batman #589, written by Vaughan and drawn by Scott McDaniel.
Oh, and in bigger news, Matches Malone just got shot. Not Batman. The real Matches Malone. That’s right, kids, we’re getting a plot twist in the second paragraph of the article.
It seems Batman has to frequently explain his own dark secrets to his closest friends and allies. Remember in the arc “Batman: Bruce Wayne — Murderer?” where his Batfamily actually questioned for a moment whether Bruce Wayne could actually kill anyone or not? It’s because of times like these, where no matter how deep they dig, Batman’s closet pours out a never-ending supply of skeletons. Here’s another one. Also, we sometimes forget that he wasn’t always the unbeatable, always-plans-for-everything Batman we know and love. That took time.
The most important thing to remember about the above pages is that Batman once wore blackface as the Joker racist-ly remarked. But if we take into consideration Batman started crimefighting at age 25 (as Frank Miller decided for us), that’s still a tremendously stupid age. Trust me, I made some horrifically bad decisions when I was 25, and I rarely wear a mask and uppercut criminals. Luckily, an opportunity came around for our protagonist.
Let’s not get angry at Batman for obstructing justice or interfering with an investigation — that’s pretty much all he does. Any evidence collected by Batman is illegal, obtained through illegal methods, can’t be used in a court of law, and given freely to a corrupt police department. Hopefully, the criminals’ broken jaws and Batman’s threatening growls are enough to keep them on the straight and narrow. I’d only have to get punched in the face once to end my life of crime, trust me.
Luckily, Bruce Wayne and Matches Malone have the exact same face and head shape. We read comic books, where no one knows Nightwing is Dick Grayson because of a tiny black strip across his eyes. At least now you know the truth, though you should go buy this book (part of a collection called Batman: False Faces) for the rest of this story and a delightful two-issue Wonder Woman vs. Clayface arc.