The Batman Who Laughs
The Batman Who Laughs is a fictional character in DC Comics. He is a supervillain, and the evil counterpart and alternate version of Batman within the multiverse. He is depicted as a hybrid of both Batman (Bruce Wayne) and Batman's arch enemy Joker and is a member of the Dark Knights. His first appearance was in the crossover storyline Dark Nights: Metal, before later receiving his own series and will also serve as the main antagonist in Batman/Superman (2019) and DC Year of the Villain alongside Lex Luthor. He was created by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo.
|The Batman Who Laughs|
The Batman Who Laughs and his Rabid Robins as depicted in The Batman Who Laughs #1 (January 2018)
|First appearance||Dark Days: The Casting #1 (September 2017)|
|Created by||Scott Snyder|
|Alter ego||Bruce Wayne|
|Place of origin||Earth -22|
|Team affiliations||Dark Knights of the Dark Multiverse|
Legion of Doom
The Batman Who Laughs was created by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo first appearing in the comic book Dark Days: The Casting. The character was depicted as an alternate universe Batman who does not have a code against killing. Snyder explained his intent on the character in an interview by the Hollywood Reporter. "He's basically Batman's worst nightmare come to life: Batman, if he was infected by the Joker toxin and lost all sense of ethics. What he wants to do in Gotham is bring Bruce’s worst nightmares to life."
The character would then get his own solo comic book series drawn by Jock. Snyder's intention was to hope that he would be popular enough to get his own comic book series and that Jock "would be the perfect person to do it".
Fictional character biographyEdit
The Batman Who Laughs is a version of Batman from Earth-22. In that reality, the Earth-22 Joker learns of Batman's identity as Bruce Wayne and kills most of Batman's other rogues, along with Commissioner Gordon. He then subjects thousands of Gotham City’s citizens to the chemicals that transformed him, subsequently killing several parents in front of their children with the goal of turning them into a combination of himself and Batman. When Batman grapples with the Joker, it results in the latter's death as Batman is exposed to a purified form of the chemicals that gradually turn him into a new fusion of Batman and the Joker, one with Bruce Wayne's intelligence and physical strength and the Joker's psychopathy and warped, sadistic sense of humor. The process proves irreversible by the time Batman discovers what is happening to him. The Batman Who Laughs proceeds to take over Earth -22, killing off most of his allies and turning his son Damian Wayne into a mini-Joker and recruiting the children infected by the Joker Toxin as his "Rabid Robins". The Batman Who Laughs seems to be the leader or second-in-command of Barbatos' Dark Knights and recruits the other members.
After arriving on Prime-Earth (Earth 0), the Batman Who Laughs takes control of Gotham and oversees events at the Challenger's mountain. He distributes joker cards to the Batman's Rogues, giving them the ability to alter reality and take over sections of the city. Accompanying him are Dark Damian and three Rabid Robins, having intended to destroy all of reality by linking the Over-Monitor to Anti-Monitor's astral brain. The Batman Who Laughs is defeated when the Prime Universe Batman is aided by the Joker, who notes the alternate Batman's failure to perceive this scenario due to still being a version of Batman.
While assumed dead, The Batman Who Laughs is revealed to be in the custody of Lex Luthor, who offers him a place in the Legion of Doom. At some point during the formation of the Legion of Doom, Joker met with Lex Luthor and advised him not to bring the Batman Who Laughs into the group. The Batman Who Laughs talks to Lex Luthor where they talk about the worlds beyond the Source Wall as Joker listens in.
The Batman Who Laughs eventually resumes his attack on Batman, drawing in a string of alternate versions of Bruce Wayne to taunt his counterpart as he prepares for a mass assault on Batman. As an additional asset, the Batman Who Laughs is allied with the Grim Knight, a version of Batman who uses guns and turned his Gotham into a military dictatorship. With no other way to stop his other self, Batman is forced to 'accept' a twisted 'transfusion' from the Joker that begins to turn him into a variation of the Batman Who Laughs, attempting to fight it down while relying on the psychosis of the technically-treated James Gordon Jr. to try to predict his foe. When the Batman Who Laughs draws in a version of Bruce Wayne who has not even lost his parents yet, Batman is able to defeat his other self by luring him into a confrontation in the Waynes' graveyard, with Alfred subsequently using a transfusion from the other Bruce to restore Batman to normal before he is sent home and the Batman who Laughs is locked up in the Hall of Justice dungeon. However, his serums did manage to infect Shazam, Blue Beetle, Donna Troy, Hawkman, Supergirl and Commissioner Gordon, (the latter was infected during issue 7 of The Batman Who Laughs miniseries by Scott Snyder.)
A year later, The Batman Who Laughs is still locked up in the Hall of Justice, but with the help of his new Secret Six he begins to set his plan in motion. He starts by having Commissioner Gordon lead Batman and Superman to the cave under crime alley where King Shazam will infect Superman. Later, Superman appears seemingly "infected" (with Batman listening in.) making their way to the Hall of Justice weapons room. The Batman Who Laughs tells Superman that he plans to infect the world with his serum. He then makes an off-handed comment to Clark that his plan will be like the destruction of Krypton and Lois and Jon won't survive. Superman attacks The Batman Who Laughs, seemingly blowing his cover. However, the whole thing was revealed to be an illusion by Batman, with The Batman Who Laughs praising him saying that he had a similar system on his own world. The Batman Who Laughs' next step is having Scarab (the infected Blue Beetle) hack the Fortress of Solitude and Batcave computers. As this is happening, he begins taunting Clark saying that they were all evil inside and that he will soon know, but as Superman is about to be infected Supergirl catches the tainted Batarang and is unwittingly infected (as the batarang was designed to infect Kryptonians.) As the Legion of Doom signal shines in the sky, The Batman Who Laughs muses to himself that he is on a collision course with Lex Luthor, but isn't too concerned because as he puts it, "Batman always wins."
In the Watchmen sequel, Doomsday Clock, the Batman Who Laughs is among the villains who are analyzed by Doctor Manhattan when Guy Gardner uses his power ring to show the constructs of villains that they have faced.
Powers and abilitiesEdit
The Batman Who Laughs is depicted as having the same abilities as Batman, combined with the twisted nihilism of the Joker. This contributed to the reasons why Batman was forced to ally with the Joker to stop his counterpart, as he anticipated that his other self retained his existing tactical abilities and therefore an alliance between Batman and the Joker was the only thing his counterpart could never anticipate.
Like the inhabitants of the Dark Multiverse, The Batman Who Laughs has a weakness to Nth Metal.
The Batman Who Laughs has been commonly described as "horrifying" by website authors. Comic Book Resources describes The Batman Who Laughs as comprising all the "best" parts of Batman and the "worst" parts of the Joker.
In Other MediaEdit
Funko has released action figures of the character. Various figures from companies such as Diamond Select Toys and Prime 1 Studios have produced figures as well. Mcfarlane is also making a version of The Batman Who Laughs for their new multiverse line of 7 inch figures.
- McMillan, Graeme (December 3, 2018). "'Batman Who Laughs' Reveals Dark Knight's Worst Fears (Exclusive Preview)". The Hollywood Reporter. Los Angeles, California: Eldridge Industries. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
- The Batman Who Laughs #1. DC Comics.
- Teen Titans Vol. 6 #12. DC Comics.
- Dark Knights: Metal #6. DC Comics.
- Justice League Vol. 4 #7. DC Comics.
- Justice League Vol. 4 #13. DC Comics.
- Doomsday Clock #9. DC Comics.
- Polo, Susana (11 December 2018). "The Batman Who Laughs is back, and he brought a new Nightmare Batman". Polygon. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
- Pulliam-Moore, Charles (8 October 2017). "The Nightmarish, Joker-esque Batman From Metal Has an Amazing, Horrifying Origin Story". io9. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
- "There's a New Batman Who Laughs, and He Just Might Be a Good Guy". CBR. 17 February 2019. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
- LaPointe, Sarah (7 December 2018). "Dark Knight's Mettle: 15 Things That Make The Batman Who Laughs the Best (and Worst) Batman". Comic Book Resources. Quebec, Ontario, Canada: Valnet, Inc. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
- Brown, Dan (15 March 2019). "Brown: The Batman Who Laughs seems inspired by Judge Death". The London Free Press. London, Ontario, Canada: Postmedia. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
- Burlingame, Ross (July 12, 2018). "Scott Snyder and Jock On Their "Terrifyingly Expansive" Series, 'The Batman Who Laughs'". Comicbook.com. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
- Konrad, Jeremy (August 2, 2018). "Batman Who Laughs Gets a Ridiculously Awesome Statue From Prime 1 Studio". Bleeding Cool.
- Fallon, Sean (January 15, 2019). "The Batman Who Laughs Previews Exclusive Funko Pop is Almost Here". comicbook.com. Retrieved March 27, 2019.