"Images": In a derelict diner on Gotham City's outskirts, several gangsters are convened by a bizarrely discolored man styled the Joker, who boasts of a new extortion scheme on the city's rich and powerful. Before the scheme can be explained, [[Br
- Like the fella says, money can't buy friends, but it gives you a better class of enemies.
- — Joker
Appearing in "Images"
- Batman (Flashback and main story)
- Alfred Pennyworth
- Gotham City Police Department
- Melvin Reipan (Only appearance; dies)
- The Joker (Flashback and main story)
- Gotham Organized Crime
- Cal (Single appearance)
- Lou (Single appearance)
- Henry Haight (Only appearance; dies)
- George Partridge (Only appearance; dies)
- Otto Drexel (Single appearance)
- Muffin (Only appearance; dies)
- Gotham City
Synopsis for "Images"
In a derelict diner on Gotham City's outskirts, several gangsters are convened by a bizarrely discolored man styled the Joker, who boasts of a new extortion scheme on the city's rich and powerful. Before the scheme can be explained, Batman raids the diner and beats the gangsters senseless; watching in amusement, the Joker claims to be a kidnapped circus clown when questioned, and is allowed to leave. Only afterward does one of the reviving gangsters reveal the truth, mocking Batman for overlooking Gotham's newest criminal.
Meanwhile, the Joker rejoins his main accomplice: a brilliant but emotionally arrested chemist named Melvin Reipan. By playing on a number of childhood insecurities (and their bond as cousins), the Joker has manipulated Melvin into creating a highly potent nerve toxin, which forces victims to literally die laughing. After testing the toxin on Melvin's cat, the Joker sends out a tape threatening the life of banker Henry Haight.
The threat is intercepted by the police, with Captain James Gordon quickly connecting it to the same "Joker" who had threatened the city reservoir months ago; Batman, in turn, connects both with the man he had freed during the diner raid. Nevertheless, Haight refuses protective custody and insists on speaking at a state fundraiser, forcing the police to comb every inch of site while Batman discreetly attends as Bruce Wayne.
Despite these precautions, Haight dies laughing only a few seconds into his speech; too late, it is discovered that his speech-paper had been coated with the Joker's toxin, stirred into his pores through body heat. Chemical analysis of the toxin reveals many unusual compounds, which several Wayne Enterprises personnel are sent to further investigate. This lead, however, does little to improve Batman's spirits; against Alfred's advice, he continues to blame himself for being so easily tricked by the Joker.
For his part, the Joker finds himself a rising star in the Gotham underworld, and soon announces his next victim to be businessman George Partridge. Unlike Haight, Partridge immediately accepts protective custody, allowing himself to be locked inside a bank vault guarded by dozens of SWAT officers; even this, however, fails to prevent his appointed death. Only belatedly does Batman deduce that Partridge had been killed by a delayed-action toxin, injected long before the threat.
Giddy with success, the Joker has Melvin move their operations into the city proper. By sheer chance, their vehicle is spotted by Bruce Wayne, who - having learned of Melvin's existence and background from his personnel - gives chase as Batman. In the ensuing chaos, the Joker and Melvin plunge off a bridge; a search of the waters below recovers what seems to be the Joker's corpse, but Batman identifies it as Melvin's, crudely disguised with makeup and dye.
Thinking his trail covered, the Joker assembles several new accomplices and begins his first proper extortion, covertly demanding a quarter-million dollars from tycoon Otto Drexel. This backfires, however, when Drexel starts selling his most valuable possessions in a blind panic, piquing Batman's suspicions. After confirming the situation with Drexel, Batman apprehends and impersonates one of the Joker's accomplices, infiltrates the carefully-planned exchange, and corners the Joker on a rooftop.
At first unfazed - even cheerfully admitting his former identity as the "Red Hood" robber Batman had pursued through a chemical refinery several months ago - the Joker flies into a rage when mocked for his lack of technique. In response, Batman lays him flat with one blow and leaves him to the police.
Some time later, Bruce Wayne arranges a lavish burial for Melvin Reipan, solemnly (and naively) believing that the Joker's threat has been ended for good.
Appearing in "Visions of a Legend"
- Victor Fries
- Thomas Wayne
- Martha Wayne
- James Gordon
- Joe Chill
- Hugo Strange
- Robin (Tim Drake)
- Talia al Ghul
- Ra's al Ghul
- Alfred Pennyworth
- Killer Croc
- Clayface II
- Tweedledum and Tweedledee
- Gotham City Police Department
- The Ventriloquist
Synopsis for "Visions of a Legend"
A pinup section with interpretations of Batman from various artists.
- Opening quote ("So we beat on, boats against the current...") adopted from the closing line of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby.
- "Images" serves as a Post-Crisis retelling of Batman's first encounter with the Joker, loosely adapting events from Batman #1 into the status quo set by Batman: Year One.
- "Images" also adopts some minor elements from Batman: The Killing Joke, particularly the composition of its Red Hood flashbacks.
- Melvin hints that the Joker's real name begins with Ja - probably an oblique reference to Jack Napier, the identity given in Tim Burton's Batman.
- Melvin himself furthers the reference, as his family name Reipan is an anagram for Napier.
- Melvin's favorite periodical Boys and Girls Magazine appears to be a parody of Boys' Life, a magazine known for - among other things - collecting jokes from around the world.
- Indeed, the first known publication of the "big tipper" joke slipped into Haight's speech was in this magazine's November 1979 issue.
- Pinup number 7 by Ed Hannigan and John Beatty, in page 50, is a homage to Batman #406, from Batman: Year One. The pinup recreates the escape scene when Batman calls bats to his location while he uses a police motorcycle to get away.
- Pinup number 10 by Brian Stelfreeze, in page 54, is a homage to Detective Comics #659, from Batman: Knightfall. The pinup recreates the fight scene between Batman, Ventriloquist and Amygdala in a toy store.
- Catwoman's costume in pinup number 12 by Kevin Nowlan is based on her costume from Batman: Year One.
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- 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: 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)