Sunday, May 16, 2010

Oberon Sexton REVEALED!

In the build-up to Oberon Sexton's recent reveal in "Batman and Robin," I'm sure many of us tried to see if his name was a clue. We knew Oberon was the king of the faeries and we knew Sexton was a keeper of a churchyard, and Oberon Sexton himself was called the "Gravedigger." But so what? It didn't seem to lead anywhere.

Then Oberon Sexton turned out the be the Joker, which wasn't really that much of a surprise since Morrison had mentioned Joker as a looming presence in the series in interviews. But still, why the name "Oberon Sexton"

Reader Dennis McNicholas e-mailed me and pointed out the possible joke: If Oberon is the name of the king of the faeries, he's also the "fey king." Oberon Sexton is "fey king" (or faking) being the Gravedigger. It's a joke, kids!


Matt Jacobson said...

Cool. Now explain to me how his victims were a joke, because I didn't get that at all.

Unknown said...

To me it seemed like the sort of things you'd hear in a bar like:
'Ya heard the Cardinal, peanuts and restroom?'

Anonymous said...

The whole Sexton/gravedigger thing is also an allusion to how the character seems to want to "unearth" Bruce Wayne again.

The look of the character--all in black--implies that the Joker is somehow in mourning for the loss of the yin to his yang. It's said that the Joker and Batman (the real Batman) have a symbiotic relationship, and without Bruce around the Joker has had to play both parts for himself: he's been both detective and murderer--of the same murders, even.

There are other clues in that Oberon seemed to know a lot about the Red Hood identity and how multiple people have worn that mask (see B&R #5). And at the end of issue #6 there's a phonecall between Oberon and El Penitente/Dr. Hurt; Penitente tries to get Oberon to work for him just as Hurt got the Joker to work with him in R.I.P.. In both cases things didn't go as planned and the Joker rebelled.

Mathew New! said...

Matt Jacobson, here are some thoughts on the "joke deaths." There are some alternate ideas in the comments too.

Anonymous said...

The Joker also makes sense as Oberon "king of the fairies" when you think about what fairies are for Morrison. Think back to the Sheeda in Seven Soldiers, and to Irish mythology in general: fairies are bad little it makes sense for the Joker to be the king of this archetype.

I'm not sure I put much stock in the joke-murders being much in the way of actual "clues". They seem like an in-story solution for Dick to just come out with. The real clues, as I see them, were the sorta meta-level insinuations ("Oberon" as fairy, Red Hood knowledge, Pyg using the circus that was in Killing Joke). Regardless of what the actual "jokes" in the joke-deaths were--and we only learned of half of them just before the Joker was unmasked anyway--on the surface they do just seem like weird Jokerish set-ups. That's what I took them as in issue 10. If they are real bonafide "clues", though, I'm not sure if they count as clues that the Joker is Oberon...or clues that the Joker was the murderer, since at that point we didn't KNOW (though many of us suspected) that Oberon was the detective AND the killer.

Either way, this is great stuff. Good to have superhero comics with this level of depth in them that reward thinking about.

dnwilliams said...

I couldn't believe how easily taken I was by this mystery. I was shocked to learn Leo Quintum was Lex, something that hadn't occured to me reading the story, but this makes it the third time Morrison was able to pull this EXACT SAME device on me and have it work!

Xorn/Magneto, Quintum/Luthor and now Sexton/Joker...

madarab said...

Hey Tim!

As I haven't seen ANYONE comment on this (don't do the twitter thing, so probably why) I wanted to post this on here in the hopes that maybe you could rally the troops for a petition or something :(

Maybe not to actually get it the way it was before, but maybe Brian Bolland or something :D

I'm sorry, it's just kind of heartbreaking.

Ian Thal said...

In A Midsummer Night's Dream Oberon is also plays an elaborate practical joke on Titania because they have become alienated over the centuries and without her he is brooding and incomplete.

Isn't that, in part, what the Joker is trying to do? Bring his Batman back through an elaborate joke?

Alex said...

I know this post is old but since I didn't see anyone one say it here I thought I'd point out: Gravedigger = Clown in Hamlet. That is, the character often referred to as "Gravedigger" or "First Gravedigger" is actually called "Clown" or "First Clown" in the original texts.

That was my favorite Joker clue and the one made me most hope it was him.