The minds behind DC's METAL promised twisted versions of Batman, and nothing's more twisted than the Bruce Wayne who became The Joker. Fans may have to wait to see the villain's entire origin story explained in his very own comic, titled THE BATMAN WHO LAUGHS, but before that book arrives in November, this evil Batman doppelganger will make his appearance in Dark Nights: METAL #2 coming on September 13th, 2017. And from the looks of him, Bruce Wayne is in for some serious trauma.
As the masterminds of the METAL event, writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo have made clear from the start that the name of the game is all-out entertainment with a shortage of angst. Hopefully, that means that even 'The Batman Who Laughs' will be presented as a twisted, next-level inversion of Batman produced by DC's Dark Multiverse to torment the star of the larger METAL event. Now that we've gotten our first detailed looks at the Joker-Batman hybrid - and his 'pet Robins' - it's clear at least he's enjoying his role in the story.
THE BATMAN WHO LAUGHS is just one of seven evil Batman doppelgangers coming to terrorize the Justice League as the first wave of the true villain of METAL's invasion. When Snyder and DC unveiled the evil Batman designs at San Diego Comic-Con, they kept the mysterious 'Batman Who Laughs' under wraps. As these newly released images show, the combination of Batman with his greatest nemesis is deserving of a coming-out part all to himself. And who knew Joker's grin could get even creepier?
The artwork is courtesy of Riccardo Federici, the same artist who depicted the other six evil Dark Knights fusing the soul of Bruce Wayne with other Justice League heroes, or their most iconic villains. There's RED DEATH, the Batman who stole Flash's speed, the DEVASTATOR Batman who became his own Doomsday, and even MURDER MACHINE, a Cyborg-Batman hybrid who killed the Justice League on another of the countless nightmare realities of the Dark Multiverse.
By contrast, it might seem that this version of Bruce Wayne who became Joker is far less deadly without superpowers. To be clear, Snyder explained that these nightmare Batmen are the result of Bruce's greatest fears, envisioning the depths to which he might have sunk had his life gone differently. We're assuming the 'Batman Who Laughs' is the version of Bruce who saw his own psyche fracture like Joker's, and not a version of Joker who somehow stole Bruce Wayne's legend. Both are possible, but it may be the nightmare's sidekicks that raise the most eyebrows.
Some would go so far as to claim that Batman is nobody without Robin, his 'Boy Wonder.' Apparently that's an opinion held by this laughing Batman, too. But he didn't stop at just one:
The above artwork is taken from TEEN TITANS #12 and the cover of THE BATMAN WHO LAUGHS #1 by artists Mirka Andolfo and Jason Fabok, respectively. Despite the artwork being released ahead of the villain's September debut (also claiming the cover of METAL #5), DC is still keeping the specifics of his character to themselves. For instance, the origin or identities of the Robins - and how they wound up looking so vampiric - is anyone's guess. Did the Dark Multiverse's Batman-Joker turn Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Tim Drake, and Damian Wayne into his pet slaves? It seems as likely as any other theory.
As to why these Robins will make their first appearance in the pages of TEEN TITANS on the same day this nightmare Batman debuts in METAL #2? The book beings the four-part METAL tie-in story called the "Gotham Resistance," showing how the heroes of NIGHTWING #29, SUICIDE SQUAD #26, and GREEN ARROW #32 try to stem the tide of these Dark Multiverse invaders. Fans can dabble in the expanded storyline if they choose, but stick with the mainline METAL to get all they need from 'The Batman Who Laughs.'
Check out the full schedule of these Dark Knights one-shots, and the announced creative teams listed below:
- BATMAN: THE RED DEATH #1 by writer Joshua Williamson and artist Carmine Di Giandomenico (September 20th)
- BATMAN: THE MURDER MACHINE #1 by writer Frank Tieri and artist Ricardo Federici (September 27th)
- BATMAN: THE DAWNBREAKER #1 by writer Sam Humphries and artist Ethan Van Sciver (October 4th)
- BATMAN: THE DROWNED #1 by writer Dan Abnett and artist Philip Tan (October 18th)
- BATMAN: THE MERCILESS #1 by writer Peter J. Tomasi and artist Francis Manapul (October 25th)
- BATMAN: THE DEVASTATOR #1 (on sale November 1)
- THE BATMAN WHO LAUGHS #1 (on sale November 15).
DARK NIGHTS: METAL #2 and TEEN TITANS #12 arrive September 13, 2017. THE BATMAN WHO LAUGHS releases on November 15, 2017.
Source: DC Comics