"The Batman Who Laughs": The Batman Who Laughs is sitting at one side of a table, explaining to an unknown character, whose face is drenched with blood and covered in bandages, that this story is not going the usual way, in reference to the classic heroic stories of Superman, Batman or Wonder Wo
- 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.
Appearing in "The Batman Who Laughs"
- Batman Family
- Justice League (Earth -22)
- Lois Lane (Earth -22) (Dies)
- Superboy (Earth -22) (Dies)
- Dark Knights
- The Joker (Earth -22) (Dies)
- Batman Villains
- Over-Monitor (Unnamed)
- Commissioner Gordon (Mentioned only) (Dies)
- Supergirl (Mentioned only) (Dies)
Synopsis for "The Batman Who Laughs"
The Batman Who Laughs is sitting at one side of a table, explaining to an unknown character, whose face is drenched with blood and covered in bandages, that this story is not going the usual way, in reference to the classic heroic stories of Superman, Batman or Wonder Woman.
In a flashback we are presented with the origins of The Batman Who Laughs. Many years ago, in the Gotham City of Earth -22, that reality's Joker has complete control of the city and has killed even his fellow rogues. Batman is tied in laces and forced by the Joker to watch as he kills an overwhelming number of kids' parents in front of them, as it happened to Bruce in his early years. The Joker's goal is to finally make him cross his line: to kill him so that this horror may stop. Eventually he manages to infuriate Batman so much that the line is crossed indeed: Bruce strangles Joker, releasing a strange, green toxin from his arch-nemesis's mouth.
Two days later, Batman and Superman consider options to take care of the jokerized kids whose parents had been killed during the above-mentioned night. Superman lets Batman know that one of the kids tried to rip a psychologist's throat out: to that, Bruce grins, but quickly recomposes himself.
Three days later, as the Bat-family tries to enter the Cave, they are attacked by powerful machines designed by Bruce: their bet is, he's testing their skills as usual, but with a higher level of difficulty. As they overcome the menaces, Batman reveals to them that the Joker had planned for the toxin to be released with his own dying breath, infecting the cerebral spine of the closest person around (Bruce). The effect of the nanotoxin is to rewire the affected's mind to become evil, without losing his intellectual abilities. Realizing the stakes, the Bat-family try to find solutions to the problem, like imprisoning Batman somewhere safe while they find an antidote. However, Batman reveals that the real reason he called them was that he knew that they would do everything to help him...something he cannot allow to happen. And then, unexpectedly, he pulls out of his cape two machine-guns, wiping out his Family: his transformation is now out of control.
One week later, in the Watchtower of the Justice League, Superman is the only member of the League to still stand against Batman's homicidal folly. All his friends, from the Flash to the Plastic Man, have been killed brutally, and he himself is bleeding from his eyes as Bruce explains that his interest in every weapon the JL has ever recovered from their many enemies is now explained. Lois and Jonathan (Clark's son) appear and immediately embrace Superman. Batman reveals that his goal is to destroy their world completely, then throws a modified strand of Black Kryptonite at Superman, causing him and Jonathan to go mad and kill each other and Lois.
The world is now in the Batman Who Laugh's hands. He has destroyed everything he could imagine with the aid of his jokerized Robins, and he believes "there's no lower to sink". On the contrary, one day Barbatos shows him the bigger picture: the Dark Multiverse and the Earth where the original Batman lives. This gives him new purpose, as he gathers the Dark Knights to be ready for the attack.
Back to the beginning, The Batman Who Laughs explains to the unknown character that the next step Barbatos and the Batman Who Laughs have in store for Prime-Earth is the invasion of "every nightmare this Multiverse has ever had". He continues arguing that the Joker wasn't perfect, but he understood the potential of merging his carelessness with Batman's methodical intellect: "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".
- This book was first published on November 15, 2017.
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