Batman: Gotham Has Its Own Version of Marvel's Dark Illuminati
Amer Sawan
WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Detective Comics #1040, on sale now from DC Comics.
A new secret society was just introduced to Gotham City known as the Jury. But it is comprised of both familiar and new faces. This secret cabal of criminals currently includes the Penguin and up-and-coming villain Mr. Worth on their roster. Their first act, in Detective Comics #1040 by Mariko Tamaki, Dan Mora, Jordie Bellaire and Aditya Bidikar, appears to be the elimination of both Bruce Wayne and Batman. There have been plenty of secret societies that have wanted one or the other dead at some point, but this new one poses an altogether different threat simply by virtue of who makes up its members.
The organization seems to be led by, and perhaps founded by, the Penguin. He recruited Mr. Worth into the group, seeing a potential ally in Worth's single-minded determination to kill Bruce Wayne and by extension Batman. And Worth is a worthwhile investment because of his feud with Wayne and Batman. At least, the feud he imagines exists. Mr. Worth is still grieving from the recent death of his daughter and blames Bruce Wayne for it despite the evidence implicating him being circumstantial at best. But in that grief-fueled rage, the Penguin found an ally against Batman and Bruce Wayne.
As an enemy of the Dark Knight, Penguin stands to gain everything from seeing Batman dead. And Worth's relentlessness was demonstrated when he launched a missile into a police precinct and still got out of jail. A man with that many resources, motivation and lack of discretion would be a dangerous weapon to use against Batman. And the fact that Batman is only an obstacle to Worth's true target, Bruce Wayne, makes it all the better, giving the Penguin an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. The greatest single threat to his criminal organization and a major rival in the Gotham social hierarchy are gone because of one exceedingly reckless ally? It's a dream come true.
And sure, secret societies have all wanted Wayne and/or Batman gone at some point. The League of Assassins, the Court of Owls and the Legion of Doom have all tried and they've all failed. But what makes the Jury so different is the type of people it recruits. Mr. Worth and Penguin are supervillains, but they're a unique kind of villain in Gotham, two of the few who actually have a grip on their sanity. There is stability and consistency to their actions and desires. They can work more easily with each other than, for example, Joker could with the Riddler, because they understand one another. To that end, they've recruited Hue Vile to help that plan along.
There isn't any long game beyond trying to kill the Bat and Wayne. The payoff comes after he is gone. In their eyes, the deaths of both men are the key to their happiness and both villains have the resources to keep hiring guns. Penguin provides the experience, but Worth brings the drive, having a misguided, but irresistible motive to keep coming at Batman until either he or Worth is dead. It's what happens when the unstoppable force meets a mountain of money, except this time, they're teaming up instead of fighting each other.