Heartless gained a surprising similarity to Dick Grayson when it was revealed that he has his own loyal servant.
The following article contains spoilers from Nightwing #93, on sale now.
Not much is known about Bludhaven’s mysterious serial killer, Heartless. This only increases how terrifying he can be, especially since he intends to kill Dick Grayson. But Nightwing #93 (by Tom Taylor, Bruno Redondo, Wade von Grawbadger, Adriano Lucas, and Wes Abbott), provided a little glimpse into his personal life. His robotic enhancements aside, one of the most surprising revelations about Heartless is that he is not alone in his insane mission.
He has a servant named Gerald to help him. Gerald’s exact station is unknown, but it is clear that Heartless is his employer, based on the way that he calls him “sir”. Gerald’s existence creates a strange parallel between Heartless and Nightwing, as both have, or had in Nightwing’s case, an elderly gentleman supporting them in their adventures. In this way, Gerald is Heartless’ Alfred Pennyworth.
There certainly seems to be more going on between the two than simply that of a boss and his hired hand. Gerald is a technical expert, able to read and handle any damages to the mechanical parts of Heartless’ body, and seems more than familiar with the process of replacing vital organs when Heartless needs a new one. Adding to this, Gerald is also completely undisturbed by Heartless’ wall of hearts. This indicates that Gerald is not only aware of Heartless’ murderous activities, but in all likelihood, supports whatever it is he is doing.
This solidarity between the two even goes as far as for Heartless to trust Gerald with replacing his heart when he is damaged. There was heavy implication throughout the story that implied the vital organ is one of Heartless’ few physical vulnerabilities. As such, the process of replacing it isn’t something he can do by himself, he would need someone he could trust beyond a shadow of a doubt to do it with care. Ergo, Gerald is more than an employee, he is a confidante.
As a result, Gerald shares a number of similarities with Alfred. Like the Wayne family’s loyal butler, Gerald waits at Heartless’ home and acts as something akin to medical support, operating on his master whenever he is need of repairs. This is something Alfred has had to do multiple times before, but never to such a gruesome extent. Even the personal dynamic seems to be the same. Gerald treats his master with respect, gives him an honorific, and takes everything that is happening, no matter how disturbing, in complete stride.
There may even be some hidden symbolism in the job he undertakes. Many would consider Alfred the heart of the Bat-Family. Batman may have taught his Robins how to defend themselves, but Alfred did everything in his power to make sure they retained their humanity. Gerald’s job is, metaphorically similar, making sure his master always has a heart, even if nothing good truly lives within it.
Amer Sawan is a reader, writer, and gamer and lover of all things nerdy from Florida. He is a graduate from the University of Florida with a B.A. in English. He has spent the past year writing for CBR. In his free time Amer enjoys playing Dungeons and Dragons with his friends, both as a Dungeon Master and as a player. Follow him on twitter @AmerSawan3 and feel free to comment on article suggestions.