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"Friends": Tommy Blackcrow used to be a writer for the Gotham Gazette, but now, he is an inmate at Arkham Manor. He can't write anymore, and he thinks it's better that way, considering how much trouble it gets him into. A nurse stops by his


Quote1 No, seriously. I am asking someone to explain to me. What the hell is so scary about a clown? Quote2
-- Tommy Blackcrow



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Synopsis for "Friends"

Tommy Blackcrow used to be a writer for the Gotham Gazette, but now, he is an inmate at Arkham Manor. He can't write anymore, and he thinks it's better that way, considering how much trouble it gets him into. A nurse stops by his cell and informs him that he has a visitor - a friend. Incredulously, he responds that he has no friends, and she responds that everybody has a friend.

Five years ago, the Joker hijacked television feeds to announce the coming of his new circus, promising that in Gotham City, the circus finds you. Tommy had witnessed this broadcast with skepticism, having been gone from Gotham for five years. He had missed the Zero Year entirely, and he couldn't understand why anyone would find the Joker scary. Tiring of his rants, the Editor in Chief assigned him to cover the Joker story himself. Angrily, his once-friend, and crime-beat writer Warren Spacey warned him to both drop his ego and try not to get killed.

In fact, Tommy had been dragged back after a stint doing foreign correspondence by reports of people like the Joker. Warren had covered the Joker's crimes from the perspective that the killer was a monster - more than human. Tommy, however, wanted to give Gotham a different story; a story showing that the Joker was merely human. Following a somewhat obvious tip to an abandoned joke shop, Tommy snuck in and witnessed a meeting of the Joker with his goons. The coldness in the clown's eyes worried him, but he was drawn in by them as well. He watched as the Joker killed one of his own men who doubted his plan, before gleefully using the dead man's alternative proposal to fund the original plan.

Tommy couldn't help but laugh at some of the Joker's cracks, and his snort drew the Joker's attention. He had Harley Quinn drag Tommy out into the open. Seeing that Tommy was press, the Joker offered to answer his questions if he could answer why he was laughing. Tommy explained that he found it funny that the Joker seemed to hate his own men. It was ironic how he played at them being his friends when he clearly viewed them as less than human. The Joker admitted that it was pretty funny, but intended to make Tommy laugh harder by fatal means. He was prevented from killing Tommy, though, by Batman and Robin. While they saved his life, Tommy could only muse that something had gone wrong with Gotham that it needed costumed vigilantes to fight clowns.

One year later, Tommy had written his exposé on the Joker, pegging him as a lonely man, and Warren warned that the Joker had escaped after all that time with the article on his mind. Warren reminded that having said these things to the Joker's face likely makes him a target.

Tommy scoffed, returning to his apartment where an old war correspondent buddy was crashing for a while. When he turned on the lights, though, he found his friend's body strung up by meat-hooks like a marionette. Throwing his voice, the Joker commented that he had been giving a lot of thought to Tommy's words to him a year before, and he was right. He hadn't a friend in the world. He should have thought bigger. Now he was eager to have a friend in Tommy, and had killed Tommy's friend to remove the competition. He'd done his homework and learned every detail of Tommy's life, so that they would have a lasting friendship. After tying Tommy up and offering a hug, he took his leave, warning Tommy to stay out of the Diamond district while he's busy poisoning it.

Though Batman stopped the Joker and found him, Tommy couldn't return to work at the Gazette and had to change his name. Six months later, the Joker escaped custody again, and though he had changed every aspect of his life to hide, he still worried the Joker would find him. He discovered an open window, to his horror, and grabbed a knife from the kitchen to protect himself. Though he searched and searched, he didn't find anybody, and eventually fell asleep. When he woke up, he discovered a message reading "I miss you ♡," scrawled in blood on his floor.

Another year later, he heard of another escape by the Joker and grew worried about the safety of his wife, knowing that it was their anniversary. He sent a message urging her to meet him at a cabin upstate to get away from it. When she failed to pick up her phone, he hurried home and found that the Joker had her already - though she was alive. Grinning, the Joker explained that he wouldn't dream of killing his friend's wife, though he was a little bitter he wasn't invited to the wedding. Harrowed, Tommy begged the Joker to just kill him and let his wife go. The Joker reacted with surprise, claiming that Tommy was too important to him to give up. He was his only friend, and consequently, he wanted to share some of his achievements in a slide-show. He began showing pictures of his victims, with his trademark rictus grin.

When the Joker's face was being kept at the GCPD Headquarters, Tommy - under another assumed name - called Nancy Strode to beg her to confirm that the face was still there, in the evidence room. Despite her assurances that the Joker was probably dead, he insisted that he was out there somewhere - and had been free for so long without coming to see him again. It made him paranoid. Having moved to a cabin in the middle of nowhere, he was horrified when he learned that the Joker had left him a voice mail message.

The Joker had, in fact, been working in Tommy's own basement for months, without him even knowing, manufacturing the faces of the Batman Family, that he'd use for his grand finale. Unable to stand anymore, Tommy pulled a gun and fired on him, but discovered that all this time, he'd been using a water pistol to comfort himself. The Joker knocked him out, and when he came to, he called the police.

Unfortunately, despite having set up surveillance for himself, the police found nothing to indicate the Joker had even been there, and he was put in psych evaluation, which soon led to his being placed at Arkham.

Fortunately, Tommy's guest today is Warren, who explains the horror of what has been going on in Gotham lately, since the Joker's return. Warren reminds that Tommy can check himself out at any time, at this point, and begs him to come with him to Boston to escape what's happening. Tommy is suspicious, and Warren reminds that he's a friend. Tommy responds that he's only ever had one friend, and that man has taken care of him at Arkham for a long time, even sneaking him paper so he could write again. Tommy shrugs off Warren's warnings, and insists that he's fine now that he's got his friend Eric Border, who promises he'll never leave him.



Notes

  • This book was first published on December 24, 2014.
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