- You see, I would use my puzzlements as a way of compensating for a lack of self-esteem. I wanted to show my intellectual superiority. But thanks to the wonders of modern psychiatry, all I want now is to be rich.
- — Cluemaster src
The Cluemaster was a costumed criminal from Gotham City, who committed crimes and used puzzles in order to gain Batman's attention. His antics eventually led to his own daughter opposing him as she became the Spoiler.
His ultimate goal was to use his puzzles in order to discover Batman's secret identity, but the Caped Crusader managed to outsmart him by happenstance and eventually deduced the pattern to his crimes and captured him.
Not long after this, Brown became part of the criminal team known as the Gangland Guardians. Under the Penguin's leadership, the criminals saved Batman's life from the incoming attacks from a rival criminal organization. Cluemaster saved Batman from a certain death in the Bat-Copter. Shortly after the rival gang was defeated, the Gangland Guardians dissolved. Cluemaster then joined the Monarch of Menace on a grand scale scheme to perform grand larceny while Batman was nowhere to be found. Cluemaster's compulsion to leave clues to his crimes was his downfall as Batman returned to Gotham and he was the first criminal to be taken down.
Arthur Brown was a failed game show host who turned to a life of crime, leaving trademark clues as to his actions. He is frequently imprisoned in Blackgate Penitentiary, and also has an estranged daughter, Stephanie Brown, alias the masked vigilante Spoiler. Although Spoiler was originally inspired to take up her costumed identity as a means of combatting her dad, and "spoiling" his plans, she would eventually turn into a full-fledged crimefighter.
Cluemaster has had a long criminal career not just limited to Gotham City, at one point joining the second incarnation of the Injustice League, which would later develop into Justice League Antarctica.
Suicide Squad and "Death"
In an effort to become pardoned for his crimes, and finally gain his daughter's respect, he joined the Suicide Squad on a counter-terrorist operation to Iceland. He saw most of his Injustice League buddies killed, and Cluemaster was apparently deceased, shot many times through the chest. However, he miraculously survived (he saved the life of comrade Major Disaster twice, who later noted that the situation had been very confusing), and spent nearly a year recuperating in a hospital, comforted by thoughts of his daughter.
After a long recovery and a disfigured face as a result of his accident, Brown finally arrived back in Gotham City and learned of Stephanie's "death". Overwhelmed with grief, he attempted to bring Batman to what he perceived as justice for the death of his daughter at the hands of Black Mask during the events of War Games. Under the false identity of Aaron Black, Brown made his way into Arturo Rodriguez's TV show and summoned people to a massive memorial meeting in honor of the fallen during the gang war. He took the alias of "The Reformer" and accused Batman of being guilty of child endangerment, having had previous Robins die on his watch as well. Batman discovered Brown's scheme and talked to him to clear Stephanie's death, but Brown had no more answers to give. Instead, he pointed Batman to his ex-wife, Crystal Brown.
Cluemaster finally reappears after Stephanie Brown has become the new Batgirl. He is revealed to be the man who has been funding the Reapers, a group of young supervillains who have been battling Batgirl.
Powers and Abilities
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: Cluemaster was formerly plagued by a mental disorder akin to that of The Riddler that forced him to leave clues at the scene of his crimes that would inevitably lead to his capture.
- Plasti-glass pellets attached to the front of his costume that he can hurl as weapons. These pellets variously contain a blinding incendiary flare, smoke bombs, paralyzing gas and high explosives.
- Although this character was originally introduced during DC's Earth-One era of publication, their existence following the events of the 1985–86 limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths remains intact. However, some elements of the character's Pre-Crisis history may have been altered or removed for Post-Crisis New Earth continuity, and should be considered apocryphal.
- Robin (Volume 2) #177 as planned by Chuck Dixon intended to feature Cluemaster, but Dixon's abrupt exodus at DC meant the issue was scrapped.
- Despite overcoming his OCD, he was always branded as a "third tier" or "C List" sort of villain.
- 68 Appearances of Arthur Brown (New Earth)
- 19 Images featuring Arthur Brown (New Earth)
- 4 Quotations by or about Arthur Brown (New Earth)
- Character Gallery: Arthur Brown (New Earth)
|Batgirl Villain(s) |
Suicide Squad member
Injustice League member
|Justice League member|
This character is or was a member of the Justice League of America, or the Justice League in any of its various incarnations, sworn by a duty to act as guardians of America and the world by using their skills and/or superpowers to protect Earth from both interstellar and domestic threats.