"The Clown at Midnight": Chapter 1 - Putting Bozzo to Bed
- Both of us trying to find meaning in a meaningless world! Why be a disfigured outcast when I can be a notorious Crime God? Why be an orphaned boy when you can be a superhero? You can't kill me without becoming like me. I can't kill you without losing the only human being who can keep up with me. Isn't it IRONIC?!
- — Joker
Synopsis for "The Clown at Midnight"
Chapter 1 - Putting Bozzo to Bed
A group of clowns were at the funeral of one of their colleagues, Bozzo. They each shared something in common: they had all worked for the Joker at some point in their careers. At the funeral, there were red and black roses that started emanating toxic compounds that killed all eight clowns at once.
Chapter 2 - The Knight and the City
Batman was patrolling Gotham City as usual when he found the dead bodies of the clowns. He scanned the crime scene for evidence and found something that disturbed him deeply: the Joker's calling card. Batman took the car to the Batcave to analyze it but couldn't find any clues.
Chapter 3 - Down on Jollity Farm
Batman decided to go to Arkham Asylum and check on the Joker in his cell. He was allowed to get inside, only to find that the Joker was still recovering from the nearly fatal shot in the face he received from Bat-Cop. The Joker, unable to speak, had underwent a facial reconstruction surgery, leaving his face covered up with bandages while he was crippled and using a wheelchair. Despite these facts, Batman noticed an irregular pattern in the clown's blinking. It was Morse code and the message was H.A. D.E.A.T.H..H.A.H.A. Who let you in here? Batman told Jeremiah Arkham about the recent deaths and that he held Joker responsible for them. Arkham told him that it was impossible since Joker was unable to speak and the only person he was allowed to see was his speech therapist: Miss Wisakedjak. Batman realized the relation between that name and an Indian trickster god and deduced that Miss Wisekedjak was in fact Harley Quinn. He wanted to know about Harley's whereabouts but Arkham himself wasn't completely sure.
Chapter 4 - Her Special Day
A dwarf girl was getting ready for her wedding day, but it all came to an end when someone took her away.
Chapter 5 - Nirvikalpa Samadhi
Sometime elsewhere in Gotham, Batman was called by Commissioner Gordon to help the Gotham City Police Department solve a crime related to Joker. The police found the dead body of a dwarf man called Solomon dressed in a tuxedo. He was killed by some toxic agent found in a couple of red and black roses. Batman took a sample of the flowers to analyze it. Gordon was wondering how Joker managed to kill people from inside Arkham. Batman knew the answer but was more intrigued as to why Joker was killing every person who had worked for him at some point. Gordon had nothing but contempt for the dwarf, since he was one of the many disfigured people who tortured him after Joker shot Barbara.
Chapter 6 - Joker Maggot
In his cell, Joker was waiting for the big moment to happen. He had planned something for a long time and it was finally coming to life.
Chapter 7 - The Checkboard Doll
Harley Quinn had kidnapped the dwarf girl in a wedding dress and was planning to kill her. Batman found Harley and prevented her from killing the dwarf, who was also part of the Joker gang. Harley was furious at Batman for shooting Joker in the face and Batman tried to tell her that he wasn't the responsible, but that only made her more angry. Harley and Batman fought, with Harley's acrobatic skills eventually saving her while she escaped from an exploding building. Batman had no option but to let her go in order to save the second dwarf. Before leaving, Harley told Batman about Joker's great return that would happen at midnight. On his way to Arkham, Alfred told him that Arkham's alarm had been activated and Batman knew that the showdown had begun.
Chapter 8 - Joker Unbound
Back in Arkham, Joker had already set his plan in motion as he used some Joker Venom delivered by Harley. Joker put the venom in his mouth and when he had the chance, attacked the guard in his cell. The guard was killed with the grin caused by Joker Venom and Joker started moving his own body for the first time in three months. Joker left his cell and started a killing spree among the Arkham orderlies. Jeremiah Arkham locked himself in his office and activated the asylum's alarm.
Once Joker was in complete control of the Asylum, he decided that it was time to let the new Joker come to life but he needed to remove his bandages to do so. He had to see what had they done to him. Joker used medical equipment to remove the bandages, taking a look in the mirror once they were fully removed. The reconstructive surgery had changed his face almost completely. Joker's lips and mouth had been sewn into a permanent grin. The size of his nose and chin had also been reduced and when Joker saw that image his mind shattered once again. He started hearing many voices in his head and fell to the floor, rolling in desperation. He tried to remember how easy it was for him to adapt the first time he was disfigured by the chemicals of Ace Chemical Processing Plant. When he regained control of his mind, Joker stood up and looked in the mirror again, this time back to his "normal" deranged state.
Chapter 9 - Harlequin of Hate
Joker then grabbed a razor and waited for his guests to arrive. Harley arrived at Arkham and told Joker that she'd just led Batman to Arkham. At the sight of Joker, Harley was concerned and scared at first, but then her feelings for him helped her to overcome those fears. However, Joker said nothing and grabbed her and placed the razor near her throat. Batman arrived at that moment and told Harley that Joker wasn't planning to kill him, but instead Joker was planning to kill Harley and that he'd sent Harley to lead Batman there just to watch. Batman explained that Joker had been killing everyone who was involved with him in the past and that the last person remaining was Harley. The red and black roses were sign for that conclusion. Harley was overwhelmed by the information and wouldn't believe Batman at first. However, when Joker tried to kill her, she reacted by twisting Joker's arm and forcing him to drop the razor. Joker spoke for the first time, but it was all completely incomprehensible. However Harley knew that what he said was: "I'll let you live, but it would be better if you looked more like me". Harley took the razor and was about to cut the corner of her lips when Batman stopped her. Harley was faster than both Joker and Batman and with her agility she escaped from their reach. Batman seized the chance to attack the Joker and they started to fight in the Asylum's main hall. Batman tried to explain to Joker that it wasn't him who shot Joker but Joker wasn't listening. Joker then saw the Arkham exit door and headed there. Limping, he spoke to Batman, now with clear words and told him that it was destined to be that way between them.
Chapter 10 - The Unbearable Inevitability of Batman and The Joker
Joker saw the exit door from Arkham Asylum and went directly to it. Batman stood in front of him, blocking the exit. The punches Batman landed on Joker's face were having a secondary effect on the clown's face. The scars were not cured and thus they reopened and the Joker's grin was back to how it was before the surgery. Joker tried to reach the exit, explaining to Batman that without him, Joker would have no meaning in life. Before they could start fighting again, Harley took a gun and shot Joker in the shoulder and that was enough to incapacitate the madman. Harley told Joker that all she wanted was more attention from and asked him if he didn't love her anymore while Batman dragged Joker's weakened body across Arkham, back to his cell.
Appearing in "The Clown at Midnight"
- Gotham City Police Department
- Boys of St. Genesius (Only appearance; dies)
- Charlie Cheesemold (Only appearance; dies)
- Peanuts Parker (Only appearance; dies)
- Bozzo (Mentioned only)
- Cassius Collins (Only appearance; dies)
- Lou Perroni (Only appearance; dies)
- Solomon (Appears only as a corpse)
- Sheba (Single appearance)
- This issue shipped on February 14, 2007.
- New creative team begins with this issue.
- Follows up on events established in Batman #655 when it appeared as if Batman shot the Joker in the face with a handgun. The man that shot Joker was Joseph Muller disguised as Batman.
- Includes DC Nation editorial #48 by Jann Jones, themed for Valentine's Day.
- This issue is a departure from the standard comic format, and takes the form of narrative prose; with the pages filled with text, supplemented by John Van Fleet's illustrations. The story is divided in ten chapters, as described in the synopsis.
- This issue is reprinted in Batman and Son and Batman and Son: New Edition.
- This issue makes several references to Alan Moore's Batman: The Killing Joke. The dwarves from that novel, the carnival, James Gordon's experience and Joker's thoughts on the events are referenced in this story.
- In this issue is stated that Joker's blood is tained with some sort of venom or poison.
- Joker thinks to himself the fact that Batman is an orphaned boy. This hints that Joker already knows that Batman is Bruce Wayne.
- There is a reference to the Hiroshima bombings.
- Joker kills more than eleven people in this issue. Ten of them were killed by Harley under Joker's instructions.
- 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)