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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

GOTHAM Casts Michael Bowen as Matches Malone


So, about that "M. Malone" tease...

ComicBook.com has revealed that the Fox series Gotham has cast Michael Bowen as Matches Malone, the man whose identity Batman uses as an alias to infiltrate Gotham's criminal underworld.

Matches is described in the article as "One of Gotham's deadliest killers, Matches Malone is a weathered, philosophical hitman who may be the triggerman behind one of the most important crimes in Gotham's history."

The character was first mentioned in the episode "The Son of Gotham" by Silver St. Cloud as "M. Malone," supposedly the man who murdered Bruce Wayne's parents.  

Bowen is probably best known as Uncle Jack Welker on the AMC series Breaking Bad, and as Buck in the Quentin Tarantino movie Kill Bill Vol. 1.  He's also appeared in a number of other films, including Django Unchained, Magnolia, Jackie Brown, Beverly Hills Cop III, The Godfather Part III, Iron Eagle, Night of the Comet, and Valley Girl.  In addition, his other television appearances include Revolution, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Criminal Minds, Lost, and The X-Files.


Created in 1972 by Dennis O'Neil and Irv Novick, Matches Malone first appeared in Batman (vol.1) #242.  In the issue, Batman fakes the death of Bruce Wayne so he can prepare to go after Ra's Al Ghul (who knows he and Wayne are one and the same). Batman decides that to face Ra's, he needs to recruit a criminal named Matches Malone, but Malone winds up getting killed.  Batman then disguises himself as Malone and then tries to get a scientist to join his cause against Ra's.  The disguise appears in a number of Batman stories, as Batman assumes the identity of Matches to gain information from Gotham's criminals.

Matches was later given a revised origin as an orphan from Hoboken, where he and his brother grew up becoming arsonists and using their skills to commit insurance fraud.  Eventually, they left the city and decided on Gotham as their new base where they burned down a dozen buildings in their first year in the city.  They soon drew the attention of Gotham's vigilante the Batman, who stopped them, but Malone pointed out there was no law against having potassium, and no evidence to link them to the insurance fraud.  They were released from custody, but shortly after, Matches' brother was shot in the head and killed, with Batman and Harvey Dent suspecting Matches but with no way to prove it.  Batman then confronted him at his brother's grave with the warning that he would be watching, tailing him for the next few nights and finding him after he had committed suicide. This sparked an idea in Batman, who buried him next to his brother, before adopting Matches Malone as his new alias to help him infiltrate the criminal underworld of Gotham.

Matches turned up a decade later, after being shot in a bar, with Oracle receiving the call and sending Batman and Nightwing to investigate.  He revealed how he made his brother's suicide look to be a murder to save face, as he believed it to be a coward's way out.  Using a lookalike to get Batman and the GCPD's attention, Matches bought himself time to leave Gotham, enabling him to return to Hoboken where he changed his looks and name. However, he was drawn back in, after hearing at a bar that Matches Malone was a rat with a $10,000 bounty on his head.  He returned to Gotham to find who was spreading lies about him, crossing paths with The Ventriloquist and his dummy Scarface in a bar, who promptly shot him.  As Matches slowly died, he extracted two promises from Batman, to bury him next to his brother and to kill the Ventriloquist.  Batman ultimately kept this promise by burning Scarface, and continued to use the Matches Malone's identity in the pursuit of justice as the best way to give the man some atonement.

Gotham returns to Fox for the second half of Season 2 on February 29, 2016.

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