Grifter is seemingly involved in a mystery at the heart of Gotham City’s underworld, and it’s already cost one notable villain’s life.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for the story “The Long Con” from Batman: Urban Legends #1 by Matthew Rosenberg, Ryan Benjamin, Antonio Fabela & Saida Temofonte, on sale now
Grifter is a genuine wild card in the modern Gotham City, where he’s been since he was hired to protect Lucius Fox in the chaotic aftermath of the “Joker War.” However, Grifter’s shifty alliances mean he’s also got some undisclosed connections with members of the criminal underworld.
Whatever mysterious bargain Grifter has ended up involved with already has a body count, as Batman and Nightwing discover the body of Mrs. Freeze, Nora Fries, in Batman: Urban Legends #1.
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Grifter has found a new place for himself within Gotham, becoming the chief bodyguard for Lucius Fox now that Fox has taken command of the Wayne fortune. Despite this position, it’s clear that Grifter also had his ears to the streets of Gotham, with the mercenary using his night off to speak with the Penguin and Nora Fries under mysterious circumstances. Even Batman, who confronts Grifter after he concludes his meeting with the villains, doesn’t learn the full truth of the meeting.
However, Batman and Nightwing end up discovering that Nora has died of mysterious circumstances the next night. The story ends with Batman believing her sudden demise connected to whatever Grifter is involved with — putting Grifter directly in Batman’s sights.
Nora Fries was the wife of Victor Fries — aka Mr. Freeze, one of Batman’s most tragic and dangerous villains. Afflicted with a terminal illness and with no hope of finding a cure, Victor cryogenically froze her with the hope that he could find a way to save her. After experimenting on multiple people, Freeze was able to save her by forcing her body to transform to be like his — specifically conditioned to thrive in colder weather. Upon her revival, Nora fully embraced her husband’s villainy and decided to follow in his footsteps. Taking the name Mrs. Freeze, Nora ended up splitting up with her husband not long after and embarking on a solo crusade as a villain in her own right. However, it appears that she wasn’t long for this world, with her death only further deepening the mystery that Grifter has gotten himself involved with.
It’s unlikely that Grifter himself murdered Nora, since the mercenary is more morally-upstanding than an average killer. Nora doesn’t appear to have been shot down, which would have been a clue towards the trigger-happy masked man. There’s even a suggestion that a witness spotted “a woman with a sword” at the scene of the crime, hinting that there’s another mysterious figure involved. But there’s still the question of what Grifter was doing with her and Penguin in the first place, and what conspiracy Grifter has gotten himself involved with.
Still, Grifter’s clear involvement in something shady will likely put him at the top of Batman’s suspect list — and could lead to more battles between Fox’s former ally and his current bodyguard. This could even result in Grifter being targeted by the likes of Mister Freeze if he were to learn that Grifter is even just tied to the death of the woman he loved.
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