Quote1.png When I was Bruce Wayne, I thought that with enough preparation, I would always win. But I was wrong. I was trapped in an unwinnable war, refusing to see the obvious answers right in front of me. The answers that are so clear to me now with victory right around the corner. To win, you need to adapt, and to adapt, you need to be able to laugh away all the restraints. Everything holding you back. You see... a Batman who laughs... is a Batman who always wins. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Quote2.png
The Batman Who Laughs src

The Batman Who Laughs is Bruce Wayne from Earth -22 of the Dark Multiverse. He was a lieutenant of Barbatos and the leader of the Dark Knights during the first Dark Multiverse invasion and, later, the infected heroes of the Secret Six. He convinced Perpetua, the original creator of the multiverse, to choose him as her lieutenant over Lex Luthor as his vision was limited by his ego.

Heroic Origin

The story of the Batman of Earth -22 was not much different from that of any other version of the Caped Crusader. When he was a boy, Bruce Wayne watched his parents get murdered in an alleyway. Vowing vengeance against crime, he trained for years and became the hero Batman, fighting super villains in Gotham City.

Batman took on many sidekicks as a vigilante, including Batgirl, Nightwing, Red Hood, and Red Robin, as well as a son he had sired named Damian Wayne.

Bruce was a member of the Justice League. When the Lex Luthor of his world decided to become a hero and tried to convince the League to let him join, Batman was the only one to oppose his acceptance, as he knew Luthor didn't really believe in being a hero but only was interested in himself.[1]

Joker's Attack

Everything went sideways for Batman when the Joker started a killing spree across Gotham City; the clown had discovered that he was dying from the same chemicals that had turned him into what he was and wanted to take everyone with him. He murdered all of Batman's enemies including the Penguin, Catwoman, Killer Croc and the Ventrioloquist. The Joker also killed Batman's friend Commissioner Jim Gordon, who accidentally sprung an acid trap in his notebook and melted his face off.[2]

Batman kills the Joker

Batman kills the Joker

Batman was later drugged by Joker, temporarily paralyzing his body but not his mind, so he could witness the chaos he caused without being able to do anything about it. The Joker bombed a hospital in front of Bruce and, to make it personal, shot dead the parents of many young children in front of him before proceeding to inject the children with an incurable, irreversible strain of Joker Venom.

Batman eventually regained movement and, so traumatized and angry over what he had witnessed, grabbed the Joker and broke his neck. Unbeknownst to Batman though, the Joker exhaled a toxin contained in his heart, which infected anyone close to him if he died. In this case, it was Batman.[2]

Transformation

Two days after the murder of the Joker, Batman and Superman talked about what had happened. Though he felt no guilt, he affirmed that he was not planning to make killing a regular thing. Superman assured him that the S.T.A.R. Labs branch in Metropolis had agreed to take care of all the kids who had been infected by the Joker Venom.[2]

Batman kills his allies

Batman kills his allies

A day later, Batgirl, Nightwing, Red Hood, and Red Robin were training in the Batcave and talked to Bruce about his worsening condition. Though they all offered to help the Bat however they could, Batman rebutted that he didn't want any help and surprised them by shooting them all dead.[2]

Bruce later convinced his son Damian to join his side and transformed the boy with Joker Venom to be like him.[3] He also retrieved all the Joker-transformed children from the original attack and turned them into his new army of pet Robins.

A week after the Joker's death, Batman slaughtered the rest of the Justice League by using the stockpile of various villains' weaponry they had built up over the years. He synthesized a strain of Black Kryptonite and used it against Supergirl that drove her insane and forced her to kill her own family before dying.

On the Justice League Watchtower, he cornered Superman by releasing a Kryptonite-infused gas into the air and stated that he didn't want to hold back anymore. Bruce then brought Clark's wife Lois and his son Jon before him,[2][4] and told the Man of Steel to lie to his family that everything would be okay, which Clark refused. Bruce tossed a shard of Black Kryptonite at the Kryptonians and watched as father and son went crazy and ripped Lois apart before dying themselves. As such, Bruce's transformation into "The Batman Who Laughs" was finished.[2]

Ruling Earth -22

The Batman Who Laughs went on to slaughter many of the Immortal Men, before realizing how many of them truly were there in the world.[5]

A world in ruins

A world in ruins

The people of Earth -22 fought back against the Bat's terrorism, but Bruce annihilated everything they threw at him until only he and his Robins were all that remained.[2] The last one to face him was his butler Alfred, who almost managed to defeat Bruce by rigging his cave, his vehicles, and all his equipment. However, by convincing Alfred that there was still hope for him, Bruce managed to trap Alfred in a lower level of sub-caves. Bruce kept him a prisoner for a long time, feeding him scraps and whispering to him to drive him insane. Bruce managed to break Alfred to become his loyal servant again.[6]

As his world began to fade from existence, Barbatos arrived and revealed the rest of the Dark Multiverse to him and his plans to go after the true Multiverse as well. Believing him to be the ideal Bat to help him, Barbatos made Bruce the spearhead for his plans to drag all of creation into darkness.[2]

Invading the Multiverse

The Dark Knights arrive on Prime Earth

The Dark Knights arrive on Prime Earth

The Batman Who Laughs went out into the Dark Multiverse to assemble the most twisted versions of Batman out there to aid in conquering the main Multiverse. Traveling to each of the Knights' worlds minutes before they were erased from existence, he appealed to their desire not only to live but to bring their unique brands of truth and justice to worlds beyond their own. Each Batman jumped at the opportunity, and they awaited their moment to travel to Earth 0.

Once the Court of Owls summoned them, his first act was to have his warped Robins slaughter the Court's leaders. He then set the Knights loose upon the hometowns of each member of the Justice League.

The Batman Who Laughs then attacked Cyborg aboard the Justice League Watchtower and explained that they had been called to this universe because of a great ringing and that, despite their nightmarish nature, they were needed to save the world.[7]

Games in Gotham

After taking over the Watchtower, each Dark Knight was given control of a city. The One Who Laughs was assigned to protect Gotham, as it was where Barbatos would fulfill his final plans.

Bruce fought his way through Arkham Asylum, causing a mass breakout, and offered magic playing cards made out of Cosmic Metallurgy to the worst of Batman's enemies, allowing them to manipulate reality the way they saw it. The villains to receive the cards were the Riddler, Poison Ivy, Firefly, Bane, Mister Freeze and Mad Hatter, who were then each given a section of the Gotham to manipulate and rule over to protect the newly formed Challengers Mountain sitting in the middle of the city.[8]

The One Who Laughs was able to see the carnage ensue from his mountain top, viewing each villain's actions with the reality warping powers of his cards. Eventually the Teen Titans, Green Arrow, Nightwing, and the Suicide Squad teamed up to form a sort of "Gotham Resistance" to take down Batman's reality-bent villains. [8] [9] [3]

During the conflict, the Batman Who Laughs' son Damian was killed, but Bruce was apathetically unmoved.

Bats Out of Hell

The Batman Who Laughs watched as his Dark Knights tortured the Justice League across the world, but his joy was interrupted by Cyborg, who rescued the League members.

As part of his plot, the Batman Who Laughs revealed that he had captured the Over-Monitor, who, when linked up with the Anti-Monitor's astral brain, would destroy all of reality, both the Dark Multiverse and the Multiverse and leave nothing but darkness. However, his plan was interrupted by the Justice League and their allies from throughout the Multiverse.

Having realized that the Batman Who Laughs could only anticipate every move Bruce Wayne would realistically do, the Batman of this world did something he would otherwise never do - team up with the Joker to save the day. In the final confrontation, Batman escaped his evil counterpart and rescued the Over-Monitor, while the cave they were in collapsed on the Batman Who Laughs and the Joker.

From a combined effort of all the world's heroes, Barbatos was defeated, and the invasion of the Dark Multiverse was stopped while the remaining Dark Knights were either apprehended or killed during their final battles with members of the Justice League.

After Barbatos

The Batman Who Laughs survived the cave collapse and continued his quest for world destruction, allying himself with the House of Conquest against the Council of Immortals.[10] The Batman Who Laughs aided in trying to start a global war, as part of the House of Conquest's motives was that humanity had gotten weak without a devastating longform conflict. [5]

Sometime after this, he went looking for Lex Luthor of Prime Earth, infiltrating LexCorp's Multiverse Research Lab. The Batman Who Laughs allowed himself to be captured by the Legion of Doom[11] so that he could share his multiversial knowledge of the Totality and Perpetua.[1]

The Laughing House

 

The Batman Who Laughs resurfaced in Gotham and partnered up with another Batman from the Dark Multiverse called the Grim Knight to work on a deadly serum from dead Bruce Waynes of the multiverse to cause maximum chaos. As part of the plan, they began by going after the Joker.

Though they succeeded in invading Arkham Asylum and making it to the Joker's cell, the real Joker had gone to Prime Earth's Batman to seek protection. Though Batman agreed to partner with the Joker again, this was all a trick, and the Joker attempted to kill himself to activate the toxin within his system that had created the Batman Who Laughs in his universe.

The Batman Who Laughs kidnapped Commissioner Gordon and brought him to the hideout that he shared with the Grim Knight. Laughs remarked that he hoped to form a strong partnership with Gordon - in his own twisted way.

Bruce vs. Bruce, a personal showdown

Bruce vs. Bruce, a personal showdown

The Batman Who Laughs encountered the real Batman at Blackgate Penitentiary and, though they fought, Laughs, while in disguise, tricked the guards into attacking the heroic Batman and escaped.

Laughs set up a meeting to try to ally himself with the Court of Owls, asking for a small favor, but they refused. They sicced their army of Talons on the evil Batman, but, thinking ahead, Laughs had severed all the undead assassins' arms off ahead of time, leaving the Court defenseless for his counterattack. The Court of Owls tried to flee, but the Batman Who Laughs proceeded to detonate explosives he planted earlier to reshape their labyrinth and make escape much more difficult. Laughs admitted the small favor he wanted was for them all to die.

The Batman Who Laughs met up with the Batman of Prime Earth again, who was almost overtaken by the toxin from the Joker's death. Laughs was excited to have another version of himself, though he saw Prime Batman as the weakest alternative in the multiverse, because he was the least compromising in his values and therefore the least happy. However, Laughs figured he could possibly be the ingredient in his evil Wayne serum he was missing and stuck a syringe in Prime Batman's chest to finish the transformation.

Thanks to the intervention of Alfred and a young Bruce Wayne from another universe, Prime Earth Batman was saved, and the Batman Who Laughs was subdued and beaten within an inch of his life by Batman with his own mother's tombstone. He was then taken and locked inside a dungeon within the Hall of Justice.

Infecting the Secret Six

Laughs and his Secret Six

Laughs and his Secret Six

Before being captured, The Batman Who Laughs came up with a plan to infect the entire world and required the energies of six different heroes to get the process started. Targeting members of the Justice League and their allies, the Batman Who Laughs used special Batarangs coated with the same toxin that the Joker used to initially infect him to infect four heroes to his cause: Shazam, Hawkman, Donna Troy, and Blue Beetle.

Laughs gave Jokerized-Shazam a Batarang and instructed him to find and use it on Superman, while the Grim Knight infected the last initiate - Commissioner Gordon.

Jokerized-Superman broke the Batman Who Laughs out of his cell in the Hall of Justice - his plan seemingly working. Superman asked the Bat what his ultimate goal was, which he admitted was destroying all life in the multiverse.

This was all a ruse though, and Superman was only feigning his brainwashing to learn the evil Batman's plan. Having never left his cell due to an illusion cast on him, the Batman Who Laughs was left in the Hall of Justice while the real Batman and Superman tracked down all the heroes he previously infected - who had all teamed up and become the newest Secret Six.

Hell Arisen

While Batman and Superman were busy trying to stop the Secret Six, the Batman Who Laughs escaped his cell under the Hall of Justice. The cosmic threat Perpetua, now working with Lex Luthor, assigned Luthor to recapture the Bat, stating the energies of the Dark Multiverse were a threat to her. Lex succeeded in outmaneuvering the Secret Six but realized that Laughs had infected 666 superheroes while retrieving a sample from Gordon. Luthor was however saved by the real Joker, who advised him to be himself in order to defeat the Batman Who Laughs. Luthor later assembled a team of villains he gifted powers to take on Laughs' infected heroes.[12]

During the fight, Lex Luthor stripped Laughs of his visor, knowing it was the only thing that was keeping him grounded on their Earth, but Laughs tricked Lex in turn with explosives and took back his visor. The nightmare Batman then ordered Supergirl to put fire in the area; mocking Lex due to the weakness to fire of his Human/Martian form and wished that Perpetua was watching as he dies.

The Batman Who Laughs usurps Apex Lex

The Batman Who Laughs usurps Apex Lex

However, Lex rose up from the ground and declared to him that he should have gone with the kill before stabbing him with a blade that contained the antidote to his dark infection, freeing those infected by the Batman who Laughs. Before the newly freed heroes could do anything Lex then teleports himself alongside Mercy and the subdued Batman Who Laughs back in the Godhead, where Lex showed to Perpetua his victory.

However it was all just a ruse from the Batman Who Laughs; as he rose to his feet he revealed everything he knew about her from Barbatos. He also revealed that that the Justice League were still alive and were sent by the Quintessence in a journey to end her for good if she didn't act quickly. Finally he pointed out that Lex was too egotistical to realize that the supposed future that he saw where all worshipped him might have been fake.

The Batman Who Laughs bowed, saying that she should choose him over Lex to be her second in charge. After depowering an insolent Lex for his arrogance and sending him and Mercy Graves back to Earth-0 the Mother of the Multiverse peers inside The Batman Who Laughs' mind, both laughing for what was to come. [13]

Powers

  • Nigh-Omnipotence: The Batman Who Laughs acquired the powers of Doctor Manhattan, due to his brain being transplanted into the corpse of a Bruce Wayne who had said powers. This transformed him into a quantum being of nearly unlimited power.[14] With Wally West's Anti-Crisis energy, he has the potential to become stronger than Perpetua.[15] After absorbing the energy from every Crisis in history, The Batman Who Laughs became more powerful than ever.[16]
  • Nigh-Omniscence: Bruce perceives time in a non-linear fashion. This means that he sees the past, present, and the future simultaneously. His powers allow him to view everything throughout time as well as the workings of the multiverse. Bruce is also aware of every Batman from the Dark Multiverse, and was able to pull aspects of the most terrifying and vicious of them, including their skills and experiences, and stitch them into his own mind.[19]
    • Cosmic Awareness: Bruce possesses an understanding of the workings of the universe on a cosmic scale. He states he is able to feel the Dark Multiverse as if it were a part of him.[19]
    • Precognition: Due to his ability to see the past, present, and future simultaneously, Bruce is able to look into the future of his own timeline, as well as the future of every Batman of the Dark Multiverse.[19]
    • Retrocognition: Due to his ability to see the past, present, and future simultaneously, Bruce can look into his past, as well as the past of every Batman of the Dark Multiverse.[19]

Abilities

  • Acrobatics
  • Driving
  • Genius Level Intellect: Bruce had displayed a great deal of cunning, often making his enemies into believing they're winning while having another plan all along.
    • Cosmic Awareness: Unlike most mortals in the Omniverse, Bruce was aware of multiple different realities even before acquiring the powers of the Final Bruce Wayne. He was aware of his own Dark Multiverse as well as the opposite Multiverse. He also knew how the Dark Multiverse was formed, as he was told by Barbatos.[23] Finally, he was aware of an ancient and all powerful being known as Perpetua, which few others in existence know of. He was so familiar with time travel that he could smell chronal energy on people.[1]
    • Escapology: Batman was able to escape from almost any precarious situation. He had proven himself capable enough to escape a magical cell strong enough to keep the incredibly powerful wizard Merlin locked up for a thousand years.[1]
    • Gadgetry
    • Investigation: On his world, Bruce was considered "the world's greatest detective". He was able to deduce the entire plan of Lex Luthor even though he was locked inside a cell with no plausible way of finding out his secrets.[1]
    • Disguise
    • Tactical Analysis: Batman was a master tactician. Using his knowledge of their various weaknesses, Batman was able to systematically eliminate every member of his Justice League. He went up against the people of his world, armies of villains, alien tyrants, and the wrath of gods. Still he prevailed as he used his methodical mind to exterminate all those who resisted him.[2]
  • Leadership: The One Who Laughs was the leader of the Dark Knights.[24]
  • Martial Arts: Bruce had all the same training and skills as the Batman of Earth 0 and has never lost a one on one fight. Laughs was able to take on the Earth 0 Batman and Joker at the same time for a short while.[23]
  • Peak Human Condition (Formerly): Prior to his transformation into the Darkest Knight, Bruce's strength, speed, stamina, agility, reflexes and coordination were at peak human perfection.
    • Peak Human Strength
    • Peak Human Durability
    • Peak Human Stamina
    • Peak Human Reflexes
  • Weaponry: Batman was a master in utilizing several types of weaponry.

Weaknesses

  • Mental Illness: Like the Joker, he suffered from insanity, which eliminates all facets of his personality that made him a good person, leaving only madness and bloodlust while transforming his personality into like that of the Joker. This however has shown little if any effect in being a barrier for his cunning and well-schemed plans.
  • Vulnerability to Nth Metal: Denizens of his universe vibrate at a different frequency to Nth Metal, and are particularly badly harmed upon contact with it.[25]
  • Visor Tether: Bruce relied on his visor to keep him anchored to the Multiverse. Without it, his connection would be severed and he would cease to exist outside of the Dark Multiverse.[12]

Equipment

  • Black Kryptonite (Formerly): Bruce possessed a modified strain of Black Kryptonite. This kryptonite forces the affected Kryptonian to kill the people they love most in the world, and then die. He used it to kill the Superman, Supergirl and Superboy of his Earth.[2]
  • Dark Metal Cards (Formerly): Bruce possessed a set of cards forged out of Cosmic Metallurgy. Cosmic Metallurgy is a material found in the Dark Multiverse with interesting properties. When in the "light" Multiverse the wielder of a Dark Card can manipulate reality to his or her whim.[8]
  • Dark Metal Visor: Using the visor, Laughs could peer through the membrane to the Dark Multiverse and see things which people most feared and desire. The visor made of Dark Metal to filter out the dark energy and the noise in order to focus on what he wanted to see.[26]

Transportation

  • Batplane (Formerly): His Batplane consisted of mandible-like wings and according to Batman of Earth 0 was quite fast.
  • Justice League Watchtower (Formerly): The modified base of the Justice League of his homeworld, fitted with Dark Metal and turned into a weapon that could infect any world like the Batman Who Laughs it was used upon. It also acted as a portal to the Dark Multiverse.

Weapons

  • Batarangs (Formerly): Bruce often used Batarangs against his enemies. Some of them were made of Nth Metal and laced with a toxin similar to the modified strain of Joker Toxin that infected him.
  • Modified Joker Venom: Laughs made a modified strain of the Joker Toxin that made him insane. The toxin eliminated all positive aspects of one's personality rather than completely driving them insane, leaving only feelings like rage and resentment.


  • The Batman Who Laughs represented Batman's fear of becoming just as bad as the Joker, how much he is defined by the never-ending war with the Clown Prince of Crime, and his regret that he can't stop the Joker for good without ending his life.
  • The Batman Who Laughs is somewhat based on Bat-Joker from Batman #341
  • During the battle in the cave, Laughs' fingers on his left hand were severed by a combination of Joker Acid and Joker's 'Bat Blades'. But it is rumoured he regrew them using the chemical component/metal known as Dionesium, famous for also reviving Batman and Joker after their brutal battle about a year before.
  • The Batman Who Laughs is referred to as "Laughs" by Devastator in Dark Knights Rising: The Wild Hunt Vol 1 1.
  • The character's name was influenced off of two silent films that inspired Bob Kane and Bill Finger to create both Batman and the Joker: "The Bat" (1926) and "The Man Who Laughs" (1928).
  • Laughs was revealed to be the victor in the category of "Villain of the Year", which was decided through votes cast by fans.[27]
  • The Batman Who Laughs is an alternate skin for Noob Saibot in Mortal Kombat 11 in the Kombat Pack.

Related

Footnotes


Batman Family 0001.jpg
Batman Family member
DC Rebirth Logo.png

This character is or was an incarnation of or an ally of Batman, and a member of the Batman Family. This template will automatically categorize articles that include it into the "Batman Family members" category.

Justice League 0002.jpg
Justice League member
DC Rebirth Logo.png

This character is or was a member of the Justice League of America, or the Justice League in any of its various incarnations, sworn by a duty to act as guardians of America and the world by using their skills and/or superpowers to protect Earth from both interstellar and domestic threats.
This template will categorize articles that include it into the "Justice League of America members" category.

Hall of Doom.jpg
DC Rebirth Logo.png

Legion of Doom member
This character is or was a member of the Legion of Doom, a team of supervillains culled together for the purpose of conquering the world and defeating the Super Friends, in any of its various incarnations. This template will categorize articles that include it into the "Legion of Doom members" category.

Batman Villains 0003.jpg
DC Rebirth Logo.png

Batman Villain(s)
This character, team or organization, is or was primarily an enemy of the Batman, or the Batman Family as a whole. This template will categorize articles that include it into the category "Batman Villains."

Villains-secret-files.jpg
Superman Villain(s)
DC Rebirth Logo.png

This character is or was primarily an enemy of Superman in any of his various incarnations, or members of the Superman Family. This template will categorize articles that include it into the "Superman Villains category."

Villainy Incorporated 001.jpg
Wonder Woman Villain(s)
DC Rebirth Logo.png

This character is or was primarily an enemy of Wonder Woman and the Amazons in any of her various incarnations. This template will categorize articles that include it into the "Wonder Woman Villains category."

Rogues 0005.jpg
DC Rebirth Logo.png

Flash Villain(s)
This character, team, or organization, is or was primarily an enemy of any or all of the various incarnations of the Flash. This template will categorize articles that include it into the category "Flash Villains."

Injustice League Unlimited 002.jpg
Justice League Villain
DC Rebirth Logo.png

This character is or was primarily an enemy of the Justice League, in any of its various incarnations. This template will categorize articles that include it into the category "Justice League Villains."

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.