The first season of Gotham came back with a jump-start in pace and a tantalizing new villain, Jack Gruber. The Arkham Asylum escapee seems like the Hannibal Lector of the engineering world. The promo for the next episode of Gotham gives Gruber a new name — "The Electrocutioner." This character may share an alter ego with a character from the comics, but Gruber is his own man. He's smooth, eloquent, and bent on making an electric return to Gotham City. As Bustle's Kadeen Griffiths pointed out, Gruber is also an actor and that level of dramatic flair does not bode well for Jim Gordon making a steady return to the police force. If you thought Arkham's Brechtian take on The Tempest was a little bit much, get ready for what The Electrocutioner has in store next.
This moniker has shown up a few times before in the DC Comics canon, though his given name has never been Jack Gruber. I think the vowel and consonant sounds in Gruber's names were supposed to be another "Joker" red herring, myself. What's the deal with the Electrocutioner in the Batman comics? We'll have to explore several characters to find out what Gotham could have pulled to create Gruber.
The first Electrocutioner was not a Batman villain at all. Known simply as Buchinsky, he was a vigilante who "executed" escaped criminals. Considering Gruber's own escape from Arkham Asylum, this is either a clue or an ironic twist on the character. A shock from one hand is a warning. If he shocks with both hands, the circuit is complete and the blow is fatal. He originated in Gotham City and then moved on to Manhattan after shocking himself on a rail. He encountered and worked with Batman, not against him like later Electrocutioners.
Not much is known about the second character to take this title except that he was an enemy, not an ally. Could he be Gotham's Jack Gruber?
Electrocutioner #3: Lester Buchinsky
In the comics, the third Electrocutioner (brother of "Buchinsky") was a low-level villain who also went up against Green Arrow and Black Canary. He started as a vigilante hero as well and also quickly turned to crime. His costume is laced with circuits, similar to the Gotham photo above. He sometimes associates with the Suicide Squad or other villain societies, but not often. He was most often a pawn of other villains.
In the Batman: Arkham Origins video game, this Electrocutioner is an assassin hired by The Joker. He's nothing like Gruber either. He's not too bright, lives on the street, is braggart and boxer, and associated with Penguin. However, in the comics, Batman ends up with this Electrocutioner's shock gloves.
Clearly, Gotham is going for a more sophisticated take on the character. Gruber doesn't seem like a vigilante, an assassin, a street criminal, or someone capable of shocking himself by accident. We'll have to wait and see just what this Electrocutioner is capable of.
Image: Jessica Miglio/FOX