You’re reading The Complete Infinite Crisis, a Comprehensive and Encyclopedic look through the universe-changing superhero event published by DC from 2005 to 2006. Shelfdust are proud to provide a complete overview of the story, and everything that happens in it. We’ve had to get some experts in though – there’s so much going on that needs to be explained!
We’re making strong headway into the series now, and our attention is turning to a strange character who could be essential to this whole thing: Ratcatcher! Zachary Jenkins, we must know everything about this villain, and quick!!
Zack! OMAC tracks down and kills someone called “Ratcatcher”. Who is Ratcatcher and what’s his deal?
Zachary Jenkins: There is a long history of weird, mostly irrelevant characters showing up to be sacrificial lambs. This lets a creator raise the stakes of a book without actually impacing the IP portfolio of their corporate overlords. Think about how Steve Rogers was revealed to be an agent of Hydra by throwing Jack Flag out of a plane, or how Zack Snyder had Jimmy Olsen executed by terrorists in Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice. It’s such an effective tool that the entire concept of the Suicide Squad is based around the idea that anyone can die because AT&T’s quarterly earnings won’t exactly be impacted by the death of Mindboggler.
Which brings us to Ratcatcher and Infinite Crisis. Otis Flannegan was a Gotham City ratcatcher who turned to vengeance after the GCPD arrested him for stabbing a dude. After serving his sentence, he kidnapped the officers who sent him to jail, using rats that he trained to do crimes. Batman stopped him, the cycle continued. Perhaps this was supposed to be a commentary on the revolving door that is the United States prison system. It’s more likely, however, that Alan Grant and John Wagner just didn’t want to use The Riddler again this month.
So he can control rats, you say. Was his decision to become a rat-themed villain (in a city where the main hero is themed around a rat-hunting predator) a smart move? Has it led him to power and glory?
Jenkins: For Otis Flannegan, the decision to, yes father, become the rat was a poor one. His death in Infinite Crisis may have been his most important act. In his final moments, an OMAC declared him a bigger threat than Nightwing, the most respect Otis had ever been given in his life. His legacy, if you can call it that, is having his code name assigned to the character portrayed by unknown actress Daniela Melchior in James Gunn’s upcoming The Suicide Squad, her first American role. Unfortunately for Otis, it’s likely that she will share the same role in that film as he did in Infinite Crisis.
How do you think Ratcatcher’s death in Infinite Crisis affected Batman’s life? Were there major repercussions for the DC Universe?
Jenkins: Ratcatcher first appeared in Detective Comics, the second-tier book about Batman for folks who just can’t get enough of that caped crusader. Since that introduction, he’s been relegated to battling Robins and Bat-Girls when a writer needs a villain who is technically part of Batman’s rogues galley. Ratcatcher is so irrelevant to the mythos of Batman that The Lego Batman Movie, a film involving Condiment King and Orca The Whale Woman, couldn’t find room to even mention him.
It’s impossible to believe that Batman cared, or even noticed Otis’ death at the hands of a Geoff Johns event. In life, and in death, Ratcatcher meant nothing to anyone.
Oh… oh no. That’s so sad. Ratcatcher died and nobody cares. And the same was true for Mindboggler? I find it all so hard to accept! I’m going to have to run a fact check on this just to see if you’re wrong….
Zachary Jenkins is the owner and head writer of ComicsXF, covering comics across the whole of the industry. He also hosts Battle of the Atom, a podcast which makes X-Men comics fight one another. You can find the site on Twitter here!