"After the Laughter!": The Roofs of Gotham City
- I have to develop an entirely new way of being Batman.
- — Batman
Synopsis for "After the Laughter!"
The Roofs of Gotham City
Bruce and Selina are talking about the situation developed after the end of the Joker War: Batman has fond memories of better times, when he used to be in the Manor with Alfred, called to action by the Bat-Signal. He would then meet the Commissioner, James Gordon, and go out on the hunt, with his partners or alone. A life he would like to have back. But the Joker changed everything this time, and also made him realize he always did it the wrong way.
One Week Ago
Batman approaches the residence of Lucius Fox, where Cole Cash, also known as the Grifter, awaits him, starting a fight. Fox comes out and tells him to stop: he was expecting Batman's visit, and he is no enemy. Batman is not surprised to know Lucius hired a bodyguard after what he experienced because of Joker, and wants to apologize to Lucius for what happened. Fox is still pretty messed up: he saw that Punchline made several videos promoting her innocence, with a movement called #freepunchline rising to help her. There are even t-shirts with the hashtag on. That woman almost made Lucius go crazy.
Also, several of the Joker's clowns are hiding, removing their masks and living like nothing ever happened. They could be anyone, not just street thugs, but friends, colleagues. There's a rumor that a kid is searching for them, trying to put them all down. And most importantly, the Joker himself is still out, free. Things need to change. And then, Lucius start speaking about the one matter Batman came to settle: the money. All the Wayne Family fortune was stolen by the Joker, but Selina got it back and then stored it in a hidden account now part of Lucius Fox's personal heritage. Lucius will do what Bruce wants with it, but he must know that authorities won't let him back easily.
All eyes are on the public figure of Bruce Wayne: if he gets the money back, he will have to justify every single penny he has. And of course, the board of directors in Wayne Enterprises wants him out. Lucius tells him that he can step away, while he'll make sure that Wayne Enterprises keeps on meaning something for the city. He will also fund Batman's activities, but it will become a more somber version of the Bat: no more rocket ships, no more satellites, no more automatic printers of Batmobiles. This time, if he breaks a car he'll have to fix it. Lucius also plans for Wayne Enterprises to absorb Foxtech, also bringing Lucas, Tamara and Timothy back in the fold: after what happened, bringing the whole family back looked like a logic thing to do.
As Batman steps outside, he has a message for Grifter: to tell his real boss that he knows what Halo is, and even with Gotham changing, this is still his city. And the Dark Knight always watches.
Back to the present
After explaining to Selina everything about his confrontation with Lucius, Batman tells Catwoman he will have to leave the Manor, start living in the heart of the city and keeping a low profile. Their relationship will be really difficult to maintain: Selina is now public enemy number one for Gotham's criminal society, as the money she stole contained also the fortune of several of Gotham's worst gangsters. Bruce tells Selina he could make a new identity for her, making Catwoman disappear, but he also know she would not be able to leave her other persona so easily. Selina answers him they both could take on new identities and leave the superhero life behind, living together away from Gotham. But without Bruce answering, she already knows it is impossible.
Catwoman gives Bruce one year. One year to become the new Batman, and settle in. During this time, she will clean up her name and get back to her normal status inside the Gotham society. Then, they will do things seriously and they will make it official.
Appearing in "After the Laughter!"
- Batman (Flashback and main story)
- Grifter (Flashback only)
- Alexis Kaye (On a TV or computer screen)
- Alfred Pennyworth (Flashback only)
- Christopher Nakano (In a photograph only)
- Clownhunter (Flashback only)
- Commissioner Gordon (Flashback only)
- The Joker (Flashback only)
- Luke Fox (Flashback only)
- Robin (Tim Drake) (Flashback only)
- Tam Fox (Flashback only)
- Tim Fox (Flashback only) (First appearance)
- Mayor Dunch (Mentioned only)
- Halo Corporation (Mentioned only)
- Justice League (Mentioned only)
- The Underbroker (Mentioned only)
- United States Government (Mentioned only)
- Wayne Enterprises (Mentioned only)
- Gotham City (Flashback and main story)
- Rio de Janeiro (Flashback only)
- Bat-Signal (Flashback only)
- Batcomputer (Flashback only)
- Batman's T-Rex (Flashback only)
- Batrope (Flashback only)
- Catwoman's Whip