- This is a violation of my civil rights! A man should be able to slaughter in peace!
- — Joker
Synopsis for "Detective Comics"
Somewhere nearby, a nude Joker is locked in a brawl with a man who is wearing a mask made out of human skin. In the struggle, the Joker rips out the man's throat with his teeth before stabbing him multiple times with a knife.
Batman manages to track the Joker down, using a remote-controlled batarang called a Ro-Bat. He tries to apprehend the Joker but the madman uses an explosive to escape, sending the building into flames. Batman prepares to go after him, but he is thrown off by the distressed cries of an eleven year old girl begging for help. At the same time, the Gotham City Police Department arrive on the scene and on Mayor Hady's orders, they treat Batman as a dangerous vigilante. Batman is forced to fight them briefly, until Commissioner Gordon arrives and commands his officers to tend to the girl, giving Batman a chance to flee.
Later, Batman answers the Bat-Signal on the roof of Gotham City Police Headquarters, where he and Gordon can talk about the Joker. Gordon warns that the recent murders are looking bad for the mayor, and that he is ordering that the GCPD catch the Batman, believing that the more dangerous crime element has been caused by Batman's presence. Gordon informs him that the rescued girl mentioned that Joker is hiding out above Roscoe's pharmacy. Batman suspects that it is a trap, but heads there anyway.
The police get there before him and have already entered the building. They think they see the Joker sitting in the middle of the room, but it turns out to be a dummy rigged to explode. From afar, Batman watches as the bomb goes off, killing all of the surrounding officers. He notices that among the gathering crowd, only one person seems to be walking away.
Joker hops onto a train and Batman pursues, engaging him in hand-to-hand combat. The Joker manages to stab two knives into Batman, and releases some of his toxic gas, but after all, Batman still manages to catch him.
Batman leaves the Joker at Arkham Asylum, where Dr. Jeremiah Arkham declares that he will take the clown on as a patient. After Joker is left alone, a man called Dollmaker enters the room. As it turns out, the Joker had planned to be caught and taken to Arkham for the sole purpose of an audience with this man. Joker tells Dollmaker that he killed his son earlier because he insists on only the father's expertise.
According to their plan, the Dollmaker cuts the skin from the Joker's face, leaving the madman ecstatic with the pain. Tonight, they will celebrate their rebirth.
Appearing in "Detective Comics"
- Charlotte Rivers (Mentioned only)
- Jeremiah Arkham (First appearance)
- Gotham City Police Department
- Harvey Bullock (First appearance)
- Detective Barnes (Single appearance)
- Mayor Hady (Mentioned only)
- Olivia Carr
- Pandora (Cameo)
- Gotham City
- Reprinted in The Joker: A Celebration of 75 Years and The Joker: 80 Years of the Clown Prince of Crime: The Deluxe Edition.
- Pandora makes a brief cameo appearance to witness the events of this story, as she does all #1 issues published as part of The New 52. She can be seen among the crowd after Batman lands on the patrol car.
- This issue contains several references to Frank Miller's Dark Knight, specifically his characterization in The Dark Knight Returns where he is shot at on sight by the police department. The opening splash page is an homage to another panel by Jim Lee. During his fight with the SWAT team, he kicks a man very similarly to a classic Miller panel. On the subway train, his fight with the Joker heavily resembles a different one.
- 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)