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"The Joker War, Part Three": Tricorner Yards. Wayne Enterprises. Gotham City

Quote1 Killing you is easy. It won't hurt you enough. But making everyone in Gotham City relive your childhood trauma? Now that's what I call fun! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Quote2
The Joker

Batman (Volume 3) #97 is an issue of the series Batman (Volume 3) with a cover date of October, 2020. It was published on August 18, 2020.

Synopsis for "The Joker War, Part Three"

Tricorner Yards. Wayne Enterprises. Gotham City

The Underbroker just announced to Punchline that all the material necessary to prepare all the new Joker Toxin the boss wants is ready and delivered. Punchline loves being rich: she orders her clowns to bring all the material to the Ace Chemical plant they bought, so the producing process can start. But one of the clown reveals to her that 12 clowns were killed in the Narrows: it seems to be the most dangerous place for the gang to pass through. Punchline is confused: Bats never kill. But it seems something weirder lives in the Narrows.

The clown tells of someone who even hacked a Joker-converted Batmobile, killing two clowns in the process. He goes by the name of Clownhunter, and he seems to be just a kid. Punchline is not impressed: it's time that everyone starts dealing with the fact the Joker is in command of Gotham City. And who will they be more afraid of: a stupid kid, or the man who is about to kill the Batman?

Park Row. Crime Alley. The Monarch Theater

Batman is still under the effects of Punchline's toxin, still hearing Alfred's voice in his head, just like in the past when he was at the other end of Bruce's comm link. He's fighting an horde of zombies the Joker created thanks to the Designer's technology he stole: they are all the Gotham victims of the clown prince of crime, all the men, women and children he killed in his years of criminal activity. He will make them create more tragedies in the mold of Joe Chill, thanks to a special general command he has for them, stored inside a remake of the Mark of Zorro he calls the "Gotham Cut".

The Dark Knight knows that as long as he trusts his eyes, the Toxin will make him hallucinate so much that he will lose the fight. He decides then to fight blind, putting a blindfold on his eyes. Then, as he reaches the center of the battlefield, Batman takes out and EMP device that, upon being triggered, deactivates all the tech controlling the zombies and keeping them active. Losing consciousness outside the Theater, Bruce is once again rescued by Harley.

Meanwhile, Punchline reaches Joker, reporting to him about this new vigilante, Clownhunter, who kills their men. Joker loves it: he was able to change the rules even masked heroes apply to themselves with his conquer of Gotham. Once, every new kid that put on a mask did it in his symbol, trusting Batman's no-kill mantra. But now, as the Joker reigns king, even new vigilantes known there is no rulebook: this kid was born in the Joker's symbol. Still, he needs to be punished: he orders Punchline to send one of their heavy hitter towards him, telling Clownhunter should be publicly crucified on the street to show no one messes with the Clowns. Then, the Joker approves of Punchline's next move: getting rid of his former girl, Harley. It's time, and the Joker has a few suggestions on how to do it.

Under Gotham City. Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn's Eden

Harley brought Bruce inside Gotham's Eden, a place Ivy created for Harley to let her recover from her broken relationship with the Joker. A safe spot where Pamela and Harley could stay together, free and without thoughts. A place even Batman was not aware of. Harley tells Batman that this time, the Joker's attack is strange. It's not the same eternal dance he performs with the Dark Knight. Something's off, and only the true detective can solve the case, not a crazy version of it fighting blindfolded and talking with ghosts. Harley gives Bruce an antidote that will defeat the Toxin, even if it will make Batman's life hell on Earth for a while. Bruce drinks it, and the hallucinations amplify: Alfred himself appears, telling master Bruce it's time they have a serious chat.

Appearing in "The Joker War, Part Three"

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