Warning: This article contains GRAPHIC content
Batman has faced some of the most iconic villains in comic book history, but if you thought that The Joker was his greatest foe, it's time to catch up. Because Bruce Wayne's newest villain isn't just strong enough to beat him... he's the nightmare that Batman eventually becomes.
The new villain is going to be a surprise to Batman fans who missed out on last summer's METAL event. Still, even casual fans have seen different versions of Batman from across DC's Multiverse: the reality where Batman was a pirate, or Bruce Wayne was born a woman, and so on. But the small army of Batmen who attacked in METAL weren't fantasies; they were darker versions of Batman, born on worlds doomed to die, showing how far Bruce Wayne would go to save them. And of all the nightmare 'what-if?' questions these dark Batmen answered, their leader was the most frightening of all. What if Batman became the next Joker?
- This Page: Bruce's True Enemy? The Batman Who Killed Joker
- Page 2: Why Batman Who Laughs is a Better Villain Than Joker
The Batman Who Became The Joker
The origin of The Batman Who Laughs could be pitched as "the version of Batman created when he killed the Joker," and be embraced by fans who feel that such an act would corrupt Bruce's mission. But the real cause was Joker's "last laugh" - a booby trap to guarantee that if Batman really did kill him, Joker would infect his rival with enough Joker toxin to transform him into the new Joker. And on this dark Batman's reality, that's exactly what happened. Batman then killed his family and the rest of the Justice League, making it look easier than even fans would think.
Now, The Batman Who Laughs has come to the main DC Comics reality in his own comic miniseries. And with Scott Snyder writing it - one of the most acclaimed Batman writers, period, after his New 52 run - fans knew there was more to the villain's mission than just 'beating' Batman. No, after traveling the Multiverse The Batman Who Laughs has come to show Bruce Wayne the truth: that of every Batman in every parallel Earth, DC's most iconic Batman is the worst version.
Screen Rant got the chance to speak with Scott Snyder alongside the release of The Batman Who Laughs #2 (available now from DC), who explained his new villain's motives. According to Snyder, and despite what some readers might suspect, this new villain isn't trying to deceive. And if Bruce won't see the truth of his own failures, then he must be made to see:
The Batman Who Laughs isn't lying, he really believes this. Having traveled the Multiverse he comes here saying, 'I am the apex predator, I am the version of you that you're meant to be. But i'm going to show you why you're the absolute lowest on the food chain of Batmen. And why we all despise you'...' He believes very passionately that this Bruce Wayne on our Earth is the worst version across the Multiverse of Batmen. The weakest, most ineffective, least content. And he's here to say, 'I'm going to fix all that.'
If it sounds like Snyder has created a memorable story, that ain't the half of it. Judging by the writer's comments, it sounds like Joker's time as Bruce Wayne's greatest foe is over. But even if The Batman Who Laughs is the "final villain" that Bruce Wayne will have to face before Snyder bids farewell to the caped crusader, can he really pose a more offensive, evil, and twisted threat than The Joker?
Based on the first two issues... absolutely.