In I Am Batman #1, a fan-favorite Gotham City figure from the 90s just met a brutally inglorious end at the hands of a mysterious assailant.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for I Am Batman #1, now on sale from DC Comics.
Gotham City has long been filled to the brim with masked heroes and villains of all sorts. But all of them have entered a more dangerous era thanks to the advent of the Magistrate and their Peacekeepers. Gotham has become a much more dangerous place to wear a mask, as one ill-fated fan favorite just discovered.
Anarky has seemingly been shot and killed in I Am Batman #1 (by John Ridley, Oliver Coipel, Alex Sinclair, and ALW’s Troy Peteri), and his murderer is still at large.
Lonnie Machin — aka Anarky — made his debut in Detective Comics #608 by Alan Grant and Norm Breyfogle. Introduced as a way for the creators to inject a set of philosophical and political ideals into the Bat-Family, Lonnie was a young genius who had become disillusioned with society as it exists today and rose up as the masked vigilante Anarky out of the belief that he could help change the world for the better. He’s proven to be one of the more interesting rogues of the era, his empathetic but ultimately ruthless plans often contrasting against the far more optimistic Tim Drake. Anarky has even helped the Bat-Family on occasion, with his more recent appearances in the DC Rebirth era seeing him team up with Spoiler (while still going up against characters like Red Hood).
His modus Operandi of bringing well-intentioned chaos to Gotham makes Anarky one of the vigilantes that the overly militant and aggressive Magistrate program is targeting. This has already proven fatal to some characters, and now Anarky appears to be the latest victim. Gotham Officers Whitaker and Chubb have been dealing with the fallout of these changes in Gotham’s legal system, and end up investigating the murder. A street patrol responded to the sounds of gunshots fired and discovered what appears to be the vigilante’s body, shot multiple times in the chest and left in a pile of garbage.
It’s possible this wasn’t the real Anarky, as it hasn’t been revealed who is behind the mask. Regardless, this doesn’t bode well for the heroes or villains of Gotham, even in the age of the Magistrate and their ambitions to bring “peace” to Gotham. It could have even been the Magistrate who are behind the attack, which would give them a confirmed kill of someone the Bat-Family could nominally refer to as an ally in extreme situations.
This places an even larger target on the backs of Batman and his allies, as any of them could be the next masked figure to be shot down on the streets of Gotham. It’s also likely to have a major effect on people like Tim Drake and Stephanie Brown, and could draw them further into the conflict between the heroes of Gotham City and the Magistrate. It’s also possibly a dour ending for a young man who, despite his faults, genuinely wanted to do good for the city of Gotham and the world as a whole.
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