The Joker has been absent from Gotham City for over a year. The last time he was seen, the Joker was captured and sent to Arkham Asylum. But, getting captured was part of his plan. The Joker had a scheduled meeting with the villain known a Death of the Family is a Batman Family crossover storyline written by Scott Snyder with illustrations by Greg Capullo. It was published in the Batman series with crossovers through Batgirl, Batman and Robin, Catwoman, Detective Comics, Nightwing, Red Hood and the Outlaws, Suicide Squad and Teen Titans.
The Joker has been absent from Gotham City for over a year. The last time he was seen, the Joker was captured and sent to Arkham Asylum. But, getting captured was part of his plan. The Joker had a scheduled meeting with the villain known as Dollmaker, who was given permission to cut off the Joker's face by the clown, himself. Escaping the asylum without a face, Joker practically dropped off the face of the planet.
The Joker returns to Gotham City after a year, appearing at GCPD Headquarters. He slaughters several cops and taunts Jim Gordon, then steals his own severed face out of the evidence room and leaves. Batman alerts the extended Batman Family that Joker has returned. The Joker kills John Claridge on live television, and swears that he will murder Mayor Hady by midnight. Batman and Gordon set up a protective GCPD cordon around Hady. Ironically, the Joker uses his venom to kill every single guard and leave Hady unharmed. The poison has been altered to leave victims frowning, and a clue leads Batman to Ace Chemicals where he first encountered the Joker. Harley Quinn is disguised as Red Hood, and traps Batman in a vat filling with chemicals. Harley warns Batman that Joker is not the same, and a prerecorded message by Joker announces that he will liberate Batman by killing Batman's family. The Joker visits Wayne Manor now wearing a loosely reattached face, and attacks Alfred Pennyworth with a hammer. Batman escapes the vat and returns home to learn that Alfred has been kidnapped. Joker needs a servant for an upcoming celebration and has chosen Alfred for his connection to Batman Incorporated. Batman visits Jim Gordon to protect him, but Gordon is hospitalized by poison in his old photos. They determine that Joker is revisiting his most famous crimes and reinventing them with new twists. Batman and Nightwing try to stop Joker poisoning the reservoir. Joker has instead rigged it to explode where Batman would have, injuring Nightwing in the blast, and filled the reservoir with corpses of those who would have been poisoned by it anyway. Joker ties up Batman in a trap and explains that he views himself as the "court jester" to Batman as "king." He believes his job is to deliver unpleasant truths to Batman that he wouldn't hear from anyone else. Joker announces on the radio that he has learned the secret identities of Batman's allies, and within 72 hours they will all be killed by Batman. The Penguin is enlisted to Joker's schemes through blackmail.
Joker kidnaps Batgirls' mother and will only release her if Barbara agrees to marry him. James Gordon, Jr. then arrives and will allow Joker to have his sister, if he releases his mother.
Batman and Robin
Catwoman is tormented by the Joker, who begins sending her possessions belonging to her dead friend Lola MacIntire. Trip Winter hires her to pull a heist that puts her right into the Joker's hands. The Joker puts Catwoman through a series of tests, revolving around the theme of different ways to skin a cat. He explains that her love makes Batman weak, and Batman would be stronger if she became his greatest adversary. Catwoman rejects this and accuses Joker of being the one in love with Batman. Joker grows bored of Catwoman and decides to leave.
While the Joker wreaks havoc around Gotham, he is not fighting alone. Many maniacs and thugs in the city take advantage of Joker's presence by attacking businesses themselves. One gang, the League of Smiles, is exceptionally dangerous. Their leader, the Merrymaker, is a maniacal mastermind who claims to have direct roots to the Joker, himself. The League's crime spree causes Batman to spread himself thin as he tries to find the Joker and the Merrymaker.
Red Hood and the Outlaws
The Squad is attending the funeral of Deadshot when Joker rain begins to fall and everyone but Harley is rendered unconscious after a laughing fit. Joker then appears and tells Harley he's come back for her to help with his plan for Batman. She resists him but ends up going back with him to the A.C.E. chemical plant, where he tells her she must remove her face like him if she wants to stay with him. She reluctantly agrees, but instead, Joker dresses her in his Red Hood outfit and sends her off to meet Batman in the first phase of his plan. After Batman leaves, Harley goes back to Joker only for him to turn on her and he tries to dump her in acid. They narrowly avoid falling in together, and finally, Joker subdues Harley and chains her in a room full of corpses in rotting Harley costumes, stating she's not the first Harley, and won't be the last. He says he will decide on keeping her or killing her later but when he returns from the next step of his plan she has gone. She had managed to cut her wrists to lubricate her chains and slip free, and she then returns to the Suicide Squad.
The Teen Titans discover an effigy of Red Robin, realizing he was kidnapped by the Joker. The Titans teamed up with Batgirl to find him, without realizing the clown set a trap for them, infecting Kid Flash with his toxin and making him spread it all over the city. Meanwhile, Tim awakens, only to find the Joker taunting him by wearing his gliding wings.As Tim confronts the Joker, the Titans confront a Gotham infected by Joker Toxin, surviving also thanks to the help of the Outlaws. Still, neither team is able to find and save Red Robin or Red Hood, as both of them remain prisoners of the clown prince of crime.
- Batman (Volume 2) #13 -- Knock Knock
- Batman (Volume 2) #14 -- Funny Bones
- Batman (Volume 2) #15 -- But Here's the Kicker
- Batman (Volume 2) #16 -- Castle of Cards
- Batman (Volume 2) #17 -- The Punchline
- Batgirl (Volume 4) #13 -- A Blade of Memory
- Batgirl (Volume 4) #14 -- A Courtship of Razors
- Batgirl (Volume 4) #15 -- Engagement
- Batgirl (Volume 4) #16 -- Ceremony
- Batman and Robin (Volume 2) #15 -- Little Big Man
- Batman and Robin (Volume 2) #16 -- Cast a Giant Shadow
- Catwoman (Volume 4) #13 -- Burnt Offerings
- Catwoman (Volume 4) #14 -- To Skin a Cat
- Detective Comics (Volume 2) #15 -- The Dirt Nap
- Detective Comics (Volume 2) #16 -- Nothin' But Smiles
- Nightwing (Volume 3) #15 -- Cleaning House
- Nightwing (Volume 3) #16 -- Curtain Call
- Red Hood and the Outlaws #15 -- It Only Hurts When You Laugh
- Red Hood and the Outlaws #16 -- Family Matters
- Suicide Squad (Volume 4) #14 -- Running With the Devil, Part 1
- Suicide Squad (Volume 4) #15 -- Running With the Devil, Part 2
- Teen Titans (Volume 4) #15 -- Teen Scream
- Teen Titans (Volume 4) #16 -- Gotham Runs Red!
- The Joker murders John Claridge on TV to announce his return. This is a reference to the first appearance of the Joker, where he killed John's father Henry Claridge in a similar manner to how Mayor Hady is targeted.
- The Joker leads Batman to Ace Chemicals, which is a reference to his origin as Red Hood.
- The Joker's attempt to poison the reservoir is an homage to his first true confrontation with Batman.
- This story serves as an inspiration for two 2017 episodes of Gotham, "Mad City: Smile Like You Mean It" and "Mad City: The Gentle Art of Making Enemies".
- Batman Recommended Reading
- Batman (Volume 1)
- Batman (Volume 2)
- Batman (Volume 3)
- Batman and Robin (Volume 1)
- Batman and Robin (Volume 2)
- Batman Confidential (Volume 1)
- Batman: Gotham Knights (Volume 1)
- Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight (Volume 1)
- Batman: Shadow of the Bat (Volume 1)
- Batman: Streets of Gotham (Volume 1)
- Batman Incorporated (Volume 1)
- Batman Incorporated (Volume 2)
- Batman/Superman (Volume 1)
- Batman/Superman (Volume 2)
- Batman/Superman: World's Finest (Volume 1)
- Batman: The Dark Knight (Volume 1)
- Batman: The Dark Knight (Volume 2)
- The Brave and the Bold (Volume 1)
- Detective Comics (Volume 1)
- Detective Comics (Volume 2)
- Superman/Batman (Volume 1)
- World's Finest (Volume 1)
Links and References
- Detective Comics (Volume 2) #1
- Batman (Volume 2) #13
- Batman (Volume 2) #14
- Catwoman (Volume 4) #13
- Catwoman (Volume 4) #14
- Detective Comics (Volume 2) #16
- Detective Comics (Volume 2) #17
- Teen Titans (Volume 4) #14
- Teen Titans (Volume 4) #15
- Teen Titans (Volume 4) #16
- Batman #1
- Detective Comics #168
- Batman: The Man Who Laughs
|Batman Family Storyline|
This event or storyline is specifically related to Batman, or to members of the Batman Family. This template will automatically categorize articles that include it into the Batman Storylines category.