Her Name was Jezebel

After finishing Batman R.I.P., many complained that the reveal of Jezebel Jet as a member of the Black Glove was completely obvious – that it was not the shocking plot twist Morrison had promised them in the beginning. Sure, Jezebel Jet’s involvement with the Black Glove was as subtle as a roller coaster, but Morrison’s grander scheme with her was much more artful. Morrison’s use of Jezebel Jet was clear from the beginning and in fact, it should have been clear from the start that we shouldn’t trust her because we are reading the world of Batman and Comic Books.

Jezebel Jet’s first appearance is in Batman #656, “Man-bats of London.” Later, she will be revealed as one of the figure heads within the Black Glove, but for those of keen eye and memory, we can already find the first hints that Jezebel Jet is in on the plan to destroy Batman. Firstly, above her head we read the word “WOW!” which is Bruce Wayne’s and the reader’s (supposed) initial reaction. This is also accompanied by the wide eye art piece, acting as a mirror to reflect Bruce’s own reaction to Jezebel’s stunning beauty. Yet, when one looks closer at the colors of the font above her head, we discover that they are black and red – the colours of the Black Glove.

Morrison, following typical mystery-writing fashion, has given us the biggest clue to figuring out the identity (or one of the identities) of the Black Glove in the first panel of the second issue. The detail is small and appears to be insignificant, however it is one of the keys to unlocking the later mystery. Like the ‘Zu-En-Arrh’ graffiti, Morrison is providing the tools and the clues before he even poses the mystery.

No issue is wasted, and no panel is meant to be treated as unnecessary. A similar example of this can be found on the first page of Alan Moore’s Watchmen. Already in the second panel we can see the colour purple and the triangle logo, all symbols pointing to Adrian Veidt, who will be later be revealed as the Comedian’s murderer and the mastermind behind it all. In both examples, the detail appears to be ordinary, disguised within the normality of the larger picture, but in reality, it holds something much deeper and more profound.

Also, the design and layout of the floor beneath, denotes a chessboard or a checkers board. This is suggestive of the “game” that will be played later in the series and it matches some of the dialogue and art that is to come. It is the same design and layout as the one we see in The Third Batman’s operating room, and in Arkham Asylum, in the “The Clown at Midnight” and in DC Universe #0, the prologue to R.I.P. This could be foreshadowing the Black Glove and Jezebel’s trap to lure Batman to Arkham Aslyum. Or that the black and white beneath her and the and black and red above here are linking the same clue that Jezebel is truly a member of the Black Glove. It was in Arkham that Jezebel revealed herself to be a member of the Black Glove, so perhaps this is a hint to where and when Jezebel will reveal her true allegiance. As always, the devil (perhaps even literally in the case of the Black Glove) is in the detail.

Yet what is most striking is her name, which is perhaps the most obvious clue to figuring out that both readers and Bruce, should not trust her. The name and the character denotes the Biblical figure of Jezebel, daughter of King Ethbaal, as the two share a lot in common. They are both foreigners, they are both leaders of a nation, they both operate as one of the power players behind the scenes, they both are bewitchingly beautiful, and they are the enemies to the main character. Yet beyond the Biblical similarities, culturally the name is associated with females involved in manipulation and seduction. As she started to appear more and more in the early days of the Morrison run on Batman, people became more and more suspect of her.

Morrison is referencing the days when a characters’ true persona was deeply linked with that character name and it didn’t affect the story. For example, Edward Nigma (The Riddler), Dr. Harleen Quinzel (Harley Quinn), Pamela Lillian Isley (Poison Ivy), and Cosmo Krank (The Toy Maker), just to name a few. The name if clearly fictional, because only in a world of fiction, would people’s names match their secrets identities. It’s obvious, but it’s obvious on purpose, because it doesn’t take someone to be Batman to figure out that someone shouldn’t trust a character named Jezebel. Morrison is taking us back to the world of fiction, the world in which people’s traits and personalities are slept out to us from the moment we see them on the panel.

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Daniel N. Gullotta is an Australian writer, film maker, and comic book fanatic. He has written on various religious issues at www.catholica.com.au and www.tcpc.org and writes a weekly column on geek related topics such as movies, tv shows, comics, and books at http://www.battleroyalewithcheese.com. Daniel is also a member of the Christian Comic Book Society.

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Also by Daniel N. Gullotta:

Humans and Paragons: Essays on Super-Hero Justice


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