One of the most interesting new characters to grace the pages of DC Comics over the last year is The Batman Who Laughs. He was created by writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo for the Dark Nights: Metal event.
His first appearance was in Dark Night: Metal #2 (November 2017).
Or is it Teen Titans #12 (November 2017) where he has a cameo on the last page?
Or is it Dark Days: The Casting #1 (September 2017) where he is seen in silhouette on the final page?
That is a debate that is going to last for a while. The Batman Who Laughs is the Bruce Wayne from Earth-22 in the Dark Dimension. That Earth’s Joker was dying from the toxins that made him who he was and he wanted to go out while driving his Batman to break his one rule: no killing.
The Joker dissolved Jim Gordon in acid, killed most of Batman’s top villains, and made a captured Batman watch as he killed children with his Joker toxin in front of their families. Batman escaped and finally beat the Joker badly and killed him by breaking his neck.
The problem is, Joker had a new strain of his toxin in his body, set to escape upon his death. It turns Batman into a psychopath who kills the entire “Bat Family,” except Damian Wayne, who he turns into one of his Joker-Robin “pets.” Batman kills the entire Justice League, including Superman, who he first drives berserk with Black Kryptonite, which makes the Man of Steel kill Lois Lane before it destroys him. Batman then turns his attention to the rest of the Earth and decimates it. All with a big smile on his face.
He has become The Batman Who Laughs.
He’s a terrifying new villain, one that combines Batman’s meticulous nature and genius with the obsessive lunacy of the Joker. It’s quite an original take on the character, but is his appearance that original?
Capullo used a wide, gaping smile that we have seen in many a Joker iteration. He added a spiked band around his eyes (he doesn’t need to see because of a “cosmic awareness” power), bulky shoulder pads, and a leather outfit.
Now I want to introduce you to Judge Death, who first appeared in the black & white British comic magazine 2000 AD #149 (January 1980) as part of the Judge Dredd story by writer John Howard and drawn by artist Brian Bolland. That was more than 35 years ago! This is the first page of his first appearance, and a close-up from a later, colored comic book appearance.
I have yet to see any comments from Capullo about his inspiration behind the appearance of TheBatman Who Laughs, but the similarities are unmistakable.
What do you think? Tell us in the comments section below.
By Rob Otto