"Wildcard!": Commissioner Gordon and the GCPD find Judge William Patricks, also known as "The Hanging Judge", dead and hanging from a noose with an ironic joke attached to his clothes. While the pattern is not clear for many, Commissioner Gordon deduces that this
Appearing in "Wildcard!"
- Tim Drake
- Vicki Vale
- Professor Smith
- Marty (Only appearance; dies)
- Barbara Gordon (In a photograph only)
- Barbara Eileen Gordon (In a photograph only)
- James Gordon, Jr. (In a photograph only)
- Judge Williams Patricks (Appears only as a corpse)
Synopsis for "Wildcard!"
Commissioner Gordon and the GCPD find Judge William Patricks, also known as "The Hanging Judge", dead and hanging from a noose with an ironic joke attached to his clothes. While the pattern is not clear for many, Commissioner Gordon deduces that this is the Joker's signature. Gordon's attitude towards the criminal has hardened after the crippling of his daughter and all he wants is to find the criminal, death or alive. The news about Joker's return has distressed Gordon so much, that he breaks down as soon as he reaches home.
Elsewhere in a derelict flat, a broken man, still recovering from a past injury learns of the crime and can't understand or make sense of it.
At that moment, Tim Drake and the rest of his schoolmates arrive to Japan, in a trip sponsored by Bruce Wayne. Back in the Batcave, Bruce is notified that Tim and the rest of the kids have safely arrived and his concerns are relieved. Alfred notices Bruce's concern and he inquires as to what is bothering him. Bruce replies that knowing that Joker is still alive and back in action has made him worry about Tim Drake's safety, considering what happened to his last partner at the hands of the Joker. However, Bruce is also worried as to what he might do when he comes face to face with the Joker.
Later at night, a man called Curtis Base is having a ceremony to announce the upcoming investments of his bank to his wealthy clients. Commissioner Gordon and Detective Dana Hanrahan are invited and they go together, although reluctantly to be there. Vicki Vale interrogates Base about certain allegations of corruption, but she is quickly dismissed. Suddenly in the middle of the ceremony, a group of thugs breaks inside with scruffy dogs, trained to attack. Amidst the chaos and confusion, Gordon notices that the leader of the thugs is the Joker. After stealing from several of the people at the ceremony, Joker turns his attention to Gordon, who can't contain himself and brings up the crippling of Barbara. However, the Joker doesn't react to this and continues as if nothing has been said.
After stealing from all the guests and claiming some more victims, Joker and his thugs leave the main room and Gordon is left drained after the encounter. When he recovers his composure, Gordon uses the radio to contact the officers outside, who inform him that nobody has gotten inside or outside from the building since the ceremony started. Meanwhile, in a secret room in the building, Curtis Base reveals himself to his personal aide as the man who is impersonating the Joker, seeking to steal and enrich himself using the Joker's image. When his assistant takes a stace against his activities, Base simply pushes the man through the window and kills him.As the news about the "Joker"'s crimes spread, the real Joker is still recovering from the helicopter accident and his manipulation of Two-Face, and is offended by the man who has taken his image. Joker is disgusted by how his method of operation has made a mock-up of his legacy and he tries to get the joke back. In order to do so, he wears his Red Hood outfit to get the old feeling back, but he is reminded of his own atrocities and is forced to return to his bed and curl up in fear of what has happened to him.
The "Joker" continues his criminal spree and eventually, Commissioner Gordon and Batman deduce that the man behind the disguise is not the real Joker, as his methods and demeanor are different. When the media covers the crimes of the fake Joker in a massive scale, Joker is frustrated that his criminal reputation is being ruined by a sorry imitator and his bad jokes. Realizing that the Joker is being ruined by bad jokes, Joker starts laughing as he finally gets the joke and his twisted criminal sense of humor comes back.
- This story seems to confirm Batman: The Killing Joke as the real origin of the Joker, as the flashback scenes match those of that story.
- There are also flashbacks and mentions to previous events involving the Joker. The helicopter crash happened in Batman #429, the climax of Batman: A Death in the Family. The incident with Two-Face happened in the storyline called Batman: A Lonely Place of Dying, in which the Joker manipulated Two-Face.
- This story is reprinted in Batman: The Caped Crusader Vol. 3.
- No trivia.
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- Joker Recommended Reading
- Joker (Volume 1)
- Batman: The Killing Joke
- Batman: The Man Who Laughs
- "Batman: Lovers and Madmen"
- "Batman: A Death in the Family"
- Joker: Devil's Advocate
- Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth
- "The Joker's Last Laugh"
- "Superman: Emperor Joker"
- "Superman/Batman: With a Vengeance!"
- The Greatest Joker Stories Ever Told
- Joker (graphic novel)