Who is The Outsider? Here's My Theory! (Trinity War SPOILERS!)

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impossibilly

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Edited By impossibilly

Since his first appearance leading The Secret Society of Super-Villains, fans have guessed at the identity of The Outsider. I have my own theory about The Outsider's true identity, which I will reveal now.

No Caption Provided

I believe that The Outsider is the Alfred Pennyworth from The Crime Syndicate of America's Earth-3.

Here are my reasons for believing this is so:

The original Silver Age Outsider was Alfred Pennyworth.

The character The Outsider goes back to the 1960s. In 1964's Detective Comics #328, Batman's butler Alfred is killed when a boulder crushes him. Shortly thereafter, a mysterious criminal mastermind named The Outsider begins working in Gotham. In Detective Comics #356, it is revealed that a mad scientist brought Alfred back to life using a machine that also made Alfred evil and gave me the worst case of eczema ever.

 Side effects of regeneration machine include skin irritation and insanity.
Side effects of regeneration machine include skin irritation and insanity.

At the end of the issue, Batman punches The Outsider onto the machine, activating it. This restores Alfred back to his usual happy, not-dead, not-evil self.

The New 52 Outsider looks like Alfred Pennyworth.

More than any other DC character, The Outsider looks like Alfred Pennyworth. Remove the color from the panel below and you'd be hard pressed to say if this was Alfred or The Outsider.

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The Outsider knows where Batman lives.

Justice League of America #5 gives us many clues to the Outsider's identity, as you'll see in the panels below. After The Outsider kills Catwoman, he announces he's going to drop her body at Batman's doorstep. Signalman asks, "You have Batman's home address?" The Outsider responds, "Yes. Ha. I do."

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The Outsider knows The Joker.

No Caption Provided

"If The Joker could see me now." It almost sounds like a throwaway line, so I wouldn't be surprised if most readers glossed over that panel as they read Justice League of America #5. But Geoff Johns is too good a writer to put that line in for no reason.

I think that line gives us a glimpse to the origin of both The Outsider's stark white skin and his tic where he says "Ha." in between lines of dialogue. Perhaps at some point on Earth 3, Alfred fell into a vat of the same acid that made The Joker.

The Outsider has a deep knowledge of all-things Batman.

He calls Catwoman Selina.

No Caption Provided

He has a map of the Batcave.

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He knows everything there is to know about The Scarecrow.

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The Outsider watched his world die.

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This has been the clue most cited by people who think the New 52 Outsider and The Outsider from Flashpoint are one and the same. The Flashpoint universe in no more, perhaps The Outsider is the only survivor of it. But The Outsider from the Flashpoint universe looked nothing like Alfred. He was an Indian man named Michael Desai. Michael Desai and the current Outsider share little in common other than a love of well-tailored suits.

Michael Desai, The Outsider of Flashpoint
Michael Desai, The Outsider of Flashpoint

I think the world that the New 52 version of The Outsider watched die was not the world of Flashpoint, but rather the Earth that is home to the Crime Syndicate of America. In Earth 2 #1, it is revealed that Apokolips attacked Earth 2 and the main New 52 Earth at the same time. The main New 52 Earth's heroes fought off Darkseid and his hordes before they could do much damage. Earth 2 didn't get off as lucky, losing both Gotham, Metropolis and other cities, as well as Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman before the might of Apokolips. There's a chance Earth 3 fared even worse.

On Earth 3, characters who are heroes on the main Earth are villains. The Justice League is the Crime Syndicate. Perhaps self-interest got in the way of the villains of Earth 3 being able to work with one another to fight back the hordes of Apokolips. I think this Outsider made his way through a boom tube from Earth 3 to the New 52 Earth, and has been plotting for a way to bring the Crime Syndicate of America over to the New 52 Earth since then. I strongly believe that Pandora's Box, the focus of the Trinity War crossover, will be the key to bringing the Crime Syndicate of America to the main Earth.

What if this scene that Madame Xanadu sees in her vision in Justice League #22 isn't a vision of the future, but a glimpse into Earth 3's past or present? Instead of Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman, what if that's Ultraman, Superwoman and Owlman?

No Caption Provided

The Crime Syndicate of America plays a huge role in Forever Evil.

Right after Trinity War concludes, the DC Universe will be thrust into Forever Evil. It is revealed in the promotional image below that the Crime Syndicate of America will be major players in this event. This makes me more firmly believe that the evil Alfred Pennyworth of Earth-3 is their herald on the main Earth, setting things up for the Crime Syndicate to take over. By settings things into motion for the Justice League to square off against the Justice League of America in Trinity War works in the Crime Syndicate's favor. Divide, conquer, and pick up the pieces.

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"Forever Evil" is also the translation of the Latin phrase "Aeternus Malum" from the Secret Society's communicator coins, one side of which looks a lot like Death Storm from the Crime Syndicate of America.

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With only one week to go before Trinity War concludes in Justice League #23 and two weeks before Forever Evil #1, I believe The Outsider true identity will be revealed very shortly, and that he will be revealed as the Alfred Pennyworth of Earth 3!

UPDATE! Two pages from the Justice League: Trinity War Director's Cut #1 give more credence to my theory that The Outsider is the Alfred from The Crime Syndicate's Earth!

Justice League: Trinity War Director's Cut #1 is a reprint of Justice League #22, but featuring Ivan Reis's artwork in penciled form. In the back of the issue is Geoff Johns's full script for Justice League #22.During Madame Xanadu's horrific vision, Johns specifically calls for Reis to draw Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman in sillouette, and then refers to them as SUPERMAN-LIKE FIGURE, BATMAN-LIKE FIGURE and WONDER WOMAN-LIKE FIGURE. If these were the actual Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman, there would be no need for him to refer to them in that way.

No Caption Provided

But it's later in the script that he get the closest thing to definitive confirmation I feel like we're going to get until it's revealed in-story. Geoff Johns refers to The Outsider as Leader/Alfred. That's right. It's right there in the script.The leader of the Secret Society is Alfred.

No Caption Provided

I'm surprised DC would let that LEADER/ALFRED line go to print. I'm guessing it was an oversight by the team who put this script book together, as it is a HUGE reveal!

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TheFirstLantern

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@impossibilly: This makes a lot of sense, in the recent issue of JLD he says Pandora's Box is a doorway.

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Yokergeist

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I thought Alfred Pennyworth was good?

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JLDoom

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#3  Edited By JLDoom

Yay, someone else who shares my theory! And your reasons are even better than mine! Kudos, sir!

Although I don't think Madame Xanadu's vision is about Earth 3 since Superwoman has a cape and Owlman doesn't have those bat-ears. Maybe it's the League after being sent to Earth 3?

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batmannflash

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#4  Edited By batmannflash

I agree with this. I was thinking about this when I read Trinity War as well. It may also be possible that Ultraman is posing as Superman to stir up trouble, but I'm not sure about that

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impossibilly

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I thought Alfred Pennyworth was good?

Alfred Pennyworth is good on most Earths, but on the Crime Syndicate of America's world, the heroes are all villains and the villains are all heroes, so Alexander Luthor is the world's biggest hero and Ultraman, that world's Superman, is its biggest villain.

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entropy_aegis

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You should also add "Whatever happened to the Caped Crusader" by Gaiman as well,it had Alfred dressing like the Joker,I'm certain that's where Johns got his idea to give the Outsider a Joker like appearance.

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impossibilly

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I updated this blog post just now with more evidence to prove my case.

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JLDoom

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I updated this blog post just now with more evidence to prove my case.

Alright, I stand corrected. Nice find! (And damn, DC! Enough with the spoilers!)

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danhimself

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this actually makes a ton of sense...throw in the fact that he was able to get into the Batcave to steal the kryptonite that Bruce had there

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InFamous_Wolf

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This makes alot of sense....nice job

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TheManInTheShoe

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impossibilly

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anthonygiu

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#13  Edited By anthonygiu

Wow...that's a good theory and if it plays out that he is Alfred from Earth 3 then I am up for it. Sounds interesting.

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RazzaTazz

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Nice writeup :)

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UltimateSMfan

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Nice work! aside from the silver age bit that i didn't know about, i put it all together after reading that Director's cut of Justice League #22 . That was a pretty big screw up if they wanted it to be a big reveal that he's Alfred.

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entropy_aegis

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#16  Edited By entropy_aegis

Nice work! aside from the silver age bit that i didn't know about, i put it all together after reading that Director's cut of Justice League #22 . That was a pretty big screw up if they wanted it to be a big reveal that he's Alfred.

Not really he's just a pawn,the preview of the next issue of JL has him saying that he's doing this for his master aka Owlman.

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El_Evento_Principal

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This theory seems solid to me.

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Mezmero

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Now I know and knowing is half the battle.

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impossibilly

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@mezmero said:

Now I know and knowing is half the battle.

YO, JOE!
YO, JOE!

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evilvegeta74

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lifeofvibe

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@impossibilly: WOW you put this together like a puzzle bravo sir bravo

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#23  Edited By Mercy_
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knightofthechronicle

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Awesome stuff man, awesome stuff.

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Mezmero

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Madame Xanadu's cards even refer to him as The Outsider. It feels a lot more obvious now that I look back on the issues.

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JuliusTakalua

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Nice find!

But name and title and number of issue of each scans pls... I'm not familiar with most of them.

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Arkhamc1tizen

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I thought Alfred Pennyworth was good?

It's a different version of him from another universe.

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RustyRoy

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No Caption Provided
No Caption Provided
No Caption Provided

This is also further proof that he might be Alfred.

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clemj

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wow... this actually makes sense... very good, you convinced me

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impossibilly

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Nice find!

But name and title and number of issue of each scans pls... I'm not familiar with most of them.

Sure thing. Here they are, in order:

1. Justice League Dark #23

2. Detective Comics #356

3. Justice League of America #6

4-7. Justice League of America #5

8. Justice League of America #2

9. Justice League of America #5

10. Flashpoint #?

11. Justice League #22

12. Forever Evil Promo Poster

13. Justice League of America #4

14-15. Justice League: Trinity War Director's Cut #1

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Equonox

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@impossibilly I think you nailed it. Like...absolutely nailed it. I had this suspicion as well, but I think the detail to which you have guessed it is going to be surprisingly accurate.

Just one thing to add - in the panel of the "trinity" that Xanadu saw - I think it's likely that the "him" Batman/Owlman referred to is Earth 3 Alfred/The Outsider...would make a lot of sense (and you see their world destroyed, as The Outsider revealed to J'onn). All 3 characters in that panel are almost certainly shadowed and impossible to accurately distinguish for a reason.

The next two months are going to be AMAZING for DC Comics...

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Rubear

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Ha. It seems that there is another denizen of Earth 3 beside the Outsider. Could it be... Elemental Women?

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TheCheeseStabber

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I wonder if Death Of The Family's Jokerizing of Alfred was foreshadowment

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DecoyElite

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I wonder if Death Of The Family's Jokerizing of Alfred was foreshadowment

It wasn't.

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TheCheeseStabber

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@thecheesestabber said:

I wonder if Death Of The Family's Jokerizing of Alfred was foreshadowment

It wasn't.

Dont crush my hopes !

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DecoyElite

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@decoyelite said:

@thecheesestabber said:

I wonder if Death Of The Family's Jokerizing of Alfred was foreshadowment

It wasn't.

Dont crush my hopes !

*STOMP STOMP STOMP*

Everyone got Jokerized in that story.

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TheCheeseStabber

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#38  Edited By DecoyElite
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TheCheeseStabber

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@decoyelite: Pffffft

Im far eviler then you

Imarried AcidSkull :P

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DecoyElite

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@thecheesestabber: I killed a dude after throwing his baby into the sun.

BRING YOUR A GAME CHEESE!

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@decoyelite: I commited genocide on the Gnome village of etrock by sterilizing all the fathers and making the mothers poison there own children

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ThomasElliot

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#42  Edited By ThomasElliot

Good post!

I like Trinity War so far and love that we're also seeing other universes (personally, I always enjoyed that about DCU). My only, one, small beef with it all: Still no explanation about the events of Flashpoint. In order to 'set things straight', Pandora manipulated Barry into combining 3 universes (DCU, Wildstorm, Vertigo)... but why... and why did that 'reset' the entire multiverse? Its been 2 years since Flashpoint and its deus ex machina, I just kind of hoped for a little elaboration on it.

I know... those questions will never be answered and I'm supposed to not ask them.

Oh, also... "If the Joker could see me now"... i.e., the Joker of Earth 3 would be a HERO, and The Outsider is lamenting/gloating about his current success, not commenting on his own appearances.

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Trevel8182

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#43  Edited By Trevel8182

Thanks for putting this together, very interesting.

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Mrgreenlantern

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guys i just re-read justice league 6 and the outsider shows up at the end of the battle with darkseid and has this meeting with a figure in the shadows, anyone else go back and re-read past issues for clues as well?

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saoakden

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It could be, we'll have to wait and see.

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ScreamingGhost

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The Crime Syndicate designs are a bit lackluster and is that a butterfly on CS GL's chest?

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Ando123

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AMazing , I have realized everything ya said

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Ruvik_

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This theory is solid to me.

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impossibilly

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Good post!

Oh, also... "If the Joker could see me now"... i.e., the Joker of Earth 3 would be a HERO, and The Outsider is lamenting/gloating about his current success, not commenting on his own appearances.

Oh yes, I realize The Joker (or Jokester as was revealed in Countdown) of Earth-3 would be a hero. As for what that line, "The The Joker could see me now," means, I'm not completely sure. My best guess is that The Joker of Earth-3 was somehow culpable in Alfred's skin being bleached and getting a tic of saying "Ha." I have a couple of theories in my head about this. One involves the Earth-3 Joker trying to capture Alfred at the ACE Chemical plant, ending in Alfred falling into the same chemicals that created The Joker. The other is far more outlandish and involves a heroic Earth-3 Ra's Al Ghul and Joker, resuscitating a dead Alfred in a Earth-3 Lazarus Pit in order to discover Owlman's secrets. For some reason, the pit has the similar chemicals to the compounds that created The Joker, bleaching Alfred's skin and driving him mad. But both of these theories aren't based on any evidence in the books, and come across like fan-fiction, so I left them out of the blog post.

I would love to see an Earth-3 heroic Ra's Al Ghul though.

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impossibilly

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guys i just re-read justice league 6 and the outsider shows up at the end of the battle with darkseid and has this meeting with a figure in the shadows, anyone else go back and re-read past issues for clues as well?

Yup! That's the first appearance of The Outsider in the New 52 universe. I've been a bit obsessed with his identity since then. :)

Definitely re-read Justice League of America 1-5 again after reading this post.