Batman crashes his Batmobile over Thomas Wayne's tombstone, badly injured and in need of medical care. Alfred takes him inside, and heals his wounds: Pennyworth asks Mr. Wayne what was the cause of the da
Synopsis for the 1st Story
Batman crashes his Batmobile over Thomas Wayne's tombstone, badly injured and in need of medical care. Alfred takes him inside, and heals his wounds: Pennyworth asks Mr. Wayne what was the cause of the damage this time. Penguin's umbrella is the answer. While the butler stitches the cut, Batman recalls the history of all his major scars. And three of them, they were made by the Joker. Every time, a slightly different one, with a different weapon. Acid-spraying flowers, razor-edged cards and the stick of a tiny flag who was part of a toy gun. All this memories about pain, of course, make Bruce go to that scene, that moment of redefinition: the shooting of his parents by Joe Chill. The voice of Alfred and the news, telling about Joker killing the last members of the Moxon crime family, wake Bruce up from his thinking: he must head out to find the clown prince of crime.
Barbara Gordon is in the gym, running on a tapis roulant. She's listening to a commercial about the restless leg syndrome. The tv suddenly changes theme, with a news flash talking about the murder of a famous comedian, an Hawaiian artist who went by the alias of Fatman, an idiotic version of Gotham City's caped crusader. It seems it was the Joker the one responsible for it. Barbara steps down from the machine, broken by her frantic pace, and goes away, sweating. Back home, as she takes a shower, her fingers trace the scar that the Joker left her. There, a bullet made Barbara unable to walk and move her legs for a long time. She thinks back at her question to the madman: why was he doing it? To prove a point. That was the answer Joker gave her.
In a graveyard inside Gotham, the Red Hood is mauling down some thugs related to the Joker. He's following a trail, he wants to take him first and nothing will stop him from doing just that. For a brief moment, the criminals get the upper hand, getting Jason to think back at his most tragic moment: the Joker slowly but painfully beating him to death with a crowbar. Waking up from his trance, Jason finishes all his opponents, revealing them he knew since the start that they would have no useful information. He just wanted to stretch his legs.
Outside Ace Chemicals, Detective Bullock and Commissioner Gordon are inspecting a crime scene. Three men were murdered and tossed inside a vat of chemicals similar to the one that, in theory, made the Joker into who he is. They are all dressed like the original Red Hood. The cops are troubled: this murder was contemporary to the Moxon massacre and to the assassination of the comedian known as the Fatman. The Joker cannot be the man behind all three crimes, it is illogic to think he could. Jim knows Batman is approaching, and so he asks him to clear their doubts. Batman starts talking with Batgirl, hidden above, about the fact Joker used this murders as a diversion. The real danger was the fact he stole a truck full of his Joker-turning chemicals. Barbara also noted that the Joker wanted to be seen in all three crime scenes, including this one: he directly stared at all the security cameras in the area. It seems there are three Jokers in town tonight, but the truck could become a bigger problem if they are not able to find it.
Suddenly, one of the three supposedly dead men wakes up, laughing and asking for help. He gets loaded inside an ambulance, and Batman tells he will escort him to the hospital while he goes to the comedian's crime scene. Commissioner Gordon asks Batgirl if she needs a ride to the scene, but she answers him she's all right, calling for her motorcycle. While travelling, Bruce asks Barbara if Jim knows about her secret life, with the girl telling him he does not. Then, the driver of the ambulance starts to call for help: someone is attacking the victim inside. As Batman gets in, he discovers that Jason is the one beating the Jokerized man, as he wants information about what Joker said to him before making him take a bath. Batman is furious with the Red Hood's attitude, and tries to stop him.
Meanwhile, the Joker is driving the truck full of chemicals to an isolated house in the woods. He gets out and knocks at the door, starting a joke: another Joker, opening the door, finishes it. The one outside, the Clown, welcomes the answer with surprise, but the second Joker, the one inside, tells him that he wrote that line, after all. He's the Comedian, dressed in the same shirt he wore when he shot Barbara Gordon, paralyzing her. The Clown though tells him he should not wear his things, and the two start discussing about who was the one that crippled the daughter of the Commissioner. Still, they stop and get in as the boss is waiting. The Clown comments that he's the only one thinking he's the boss, while the Comedian tells him that someone has to be. Inside, the Criminal is waiting. A third Joker, he tells his two comrades about the plan: they have the chemicals, now they must set up the baths and find some talent. He tells the Comedian to come with him to evaluate candidates, while the Clown will organize the baths.
Back to the ambulance, Batman injects the antidote inside the victim, healing him. Jason comments that the guy was accused of domestic violence against his own son: he was worthy of every punch Jason gave him. Still, the three vigilantes need to focus on finding the Jokers and stopping their plan: their investigations lead them to the Gotham Aquarium. In there, they find a vat full of Jokerized fish, including a menacing shark, and while they start theorizing what the Jokers might be planning, they are attacked by a band of thugs led by Gaggy, a former lackey of the Joker that the madmen called his court jester. As the shooting from Red Hood breaks the glass, the shark comes out and eats Gaggy alive. In that moment, the Joker comes out, launching some piranhas at Barbara, and then shouts to Jason he wants more of his fear, of his pain. He can't get enough. Batman catches him by surprise and knocks him out, with Jason and Barbara sure he's the real deal. The laughs, the chemicals, it must be him. Batman does not answer and leaves searching for the other two, telling Batgirl and Red Hood to keep an eye on him while he organizes a transport to Arkham. Of course, he must stay alert, as the Joker always has a trick or two up his sleeve.
The two start questioning him, with the Joker of course laughing and tricking them with some gadgets. After eliminating all the traps the madman has on himself, the Joker starts sharing his thoughts about Red Hood's decisions in life. He's trapped in a cycle of violence, even taking the Clown's own former alias for himself. Joker provokes Jason: he wants him to shoot him in the head. And it seems Jason is not against his idea: he starts warming up at the thought, while Barbara tells him that's not how they work. As Batgirl tries to make Red Hood reason, the Clown reveals Jason a detail about their almost lethal encounter: the Joker left him alive on purpose. He wanted him to live to hurt Batman with guilt and remorse. Does Jason remember what he said to him to make him stop? That he would have been his Robin. Well, he's the Red Hood now, spreading violence and pain. He is the Joker's Robin after all.
Jason has got enough: even if Barbara tries to physically stop him, Todd puts a bullet in the Joker's head., killing him on impact.
A shocked Barbara leaves, after Jason tells her that even with all the ideals and the moral, she missed with her throw. He never saw her miss once, so maybe he was not the only one thinking the Joker was better if dead. Alone with the corpse of the man who changed his life, Jason hopes he was the real deal.
Appearing in the 1st Story
- Batman Family
- Joker (The Clown) (Flashback and main story) (Dies)
- Joker (The Comedian) (Flashback and main story)
- Joker (The Criminal) (Flashback and main story)
- Joker's Gang
- Gaggy (First appearance; dies)
- Bane (Flashback and statue)
- Catwoman (Flashback and statue)
- Joe Chill (Flashback only)
- Kelani Apaka (In picture only) (Deceased)
- Killer Croc (Flashback only)
- Martha Wayne (Dies in flashback)
- The Penguin (Flashback only)
- The Riddler (Flashback and statue)
- The Scarecrow (Flashback only)
- Stanley (Flashback only)
- Thomas Wayne (Dies in flashback)
- Two-Face (Statue only)
- Gotham Organized Crime (Mentioned only)
- Moxon Crime Family (Mentioned only)
- Red Hood Gang (Mentioned only)
- Robin (Mentioned only)
- Roger Huntoon (Mentioned only) (Deceased)
- Gotham City (Flashback and main story)
- Ace Chemical Processing Plant
- Gotham Aquarium
- Park Row (Flashback only)
- Seventeenth and Broadway
- Wayne Manor
- Arkham Asylum (Mentioned only)
- Blackgate Penitentiary (Mentioned only)
- Downtown Gotham (Mentioned only)
- Gotham Harbor (Mentioned only)
- Somerset District (Mentioned only)
- Hawaii (Mentioned only)
- Honolulu (Mentioned only)
- Batman's T-Rex
- Batrope (Flashback and main story)
- Batsuit (Flashback and main story)
- Giant Joker Card
- Giant Penny
- Joe Chill's Gun (Flashback only)
- Joker Fish
- Joker's Flag Gun
- Joker's Joy Buzzer
- Joker Teeth
- Martha Wayne's Pearl Necklace (Flashback only) (Destroyed)
- Penguin's Umbrella (Flashback only)
- Riddler's Staff (Flashback and main story)
- Scarecrow's Fear Toxin (Flashback only)
- Joker Venom (Mentioned only)
- The issue is dedicated by Jason Fabok to his grandfather George Weniger.