I know I'm not exactly the Bruce you were hoping for. But I am Bruce. We all are. Let me remind you of a story we have in common. On my world, I developed ways to eliminate the Justice League... then they found out and were so disappointed in me. I betrayed their trust. It was a dark time for the League. But in all honesty... I was holding back. Now imagine if seven Bruce Waynes put their heads together... what horror they could be capable of. If they were to... say... develop separate murderous Batcaves meticulously designed with each of you in mind. So I hope you appreciate our work, because... you're going to die here. Ha. Ha. Ha.
I know you're scared right now. You don't need to pretend. I can see you trembling. You don't know why I brought you here, but you know the answer can't be good. And you're right. It's not. You really thought you had it all figured out. That you knew every combination in the deck. And it would thrill you every time you were right, when the hand came down in a familiar pattern. A familiar story... about an outsider who can see the good in all of us. About how we all have the power to fight for what is right. Or how we can each overcome our darkest moments. But this isn't any of those stories. There are familiar parts, but they're all in the wrong places. And there's nothing more frightening than when all the cards lay out on the table just right... but then another card comes and changes the meaning of the entire hand... and there's no way to know what's going to happen.
You're standing on the edge right now, Lex. You could be the ultimate version of yourself. Let go of what's always held you back. Like I did. The universe isn't destined for you, but you can still take it.
Out of every version of us across the universe, you're the most miserable. The least accomplished. You don't understand why yet, but you will. See, to me, to us, you're the nightmare Batman. The bad joke.
When I first joined the Justice League I felt intimidated. I was just a man in black with toys and training surrounded by gods. But with each adventure we shared I saw their flaws. And one day it hit me... their powers were no different than the guns criminals used on the streets of Gotham. And finally, I realized...the Justice League are a superstitious and cowardly lot!
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!
It's magnificent Oswald. From the amphetamines dissolved into ice cubes to the stolen imports you give away as prize cars, it's a nonstop party!
Stop me if you've heard this one... worlds will live, worlds will die... but imagine if your every fear, each bad decision, gave birth to a malformed world of nightmare. A world that shouldn't exist. And desperate as it fights to survive in the light of the true multiverse far above... these worlds are doomed to rot apart, and die, because they are wrong at their core. Welcome to the Dark Multiverse. Home to stories that should never be... It's all one big cosmic joke, except no one on this side is laughing. ...well, almost no one...
Heh. I know, I know. You want to be a bird, but that's because you're still young. You want to inspire others to follow you. But it never works, son. Good, evil, there is no higher calling. And in the end, what you learn is that there is no winning them over, there is only winning over them.
The World's Finest--back together again.
Even the most dominant Batman is still a reaction to some fear that has shaped him, built him into a newer, crueler incarnation, perfectly designed to overcome it. Now understanding this, I know I am not a Batman of any kind. Not a Batman Who Laughs, not a Batmanhattan, not even a culmination of all dark Batmen. I am more. And to be more, I must not be a reaction. I must be the thing that creates the reaction.
Stop. Just listen. You hear that? People think of birth as loud and death as silent. Things start with a bang, end with a whimper, but I'll tell you a secret. See, endings... endings are the loudest of all.
All items (18)
- The Batman Who Laughs Vol 1 1
- The Batman Who Laughs Vol 2 2
- The Batman Who Laughs Vol 2 5
- Batman/Superman Vol 2 2
- Bruce Wayne (Dark Multiverse: The Grim Knight)
- Bruce Wayne (Earth -22)
- Dark Multiverse
- Dark Nights: Death Metal Vol 1 2
- Dark Nights: Death Metal Vol 1 4
- Dark Nights: Death Metal Legends of the Dark Knights Vol 1 1
- Dark Nights: Death Metal Robin King Vol 1 1
- Dark Nights: Death Metal Speed Metal Vol 1 1
- Dark Nights: Metal Vol 1 5