DC Comics writer, Geoff Johns, has pulled off something truly remarkable. His ending chapter of Batman Three Jokers has redefined Batman and Joker’s conflict for years to come.
Issue 3 reduces the playing field to one clear-cut choice for The Joker in this DC Universe. But despite the Joker holding all the cards over Batman’s head, the Dark Knight has an ace up his sleeve the will rock the foundation around the origin of the Joker.
The premise of Batman: Three Jokers was that there were three different versions of Joker running around the DC Universe: The Criminal, The Clown, and The Comedian. In issue #1, Jason Todd/Red Hood executed The Clown (The Joker that tortured and killed him as Robin II), leaving just The Criminal and The Comedian. By the end of The Two Jokers’ showdown with Batman, Batgirl, and Red Hood, The Comedian executes The Criminal as well, leaving himself as the only Joker.
Batman and The Comedian ride together in the police van, where The Comedian reveals that he was indeed the original Joker – the force of chaos and nihilism who has no true origin at all. The Comedian also reveals another big secret: he’s known that Batman is Bruce Wayne all along, but will never reveal the truth to anyone else because their twisted game would be forced to finally end. The entire point of Three Jokers was getting Batman to confront and make peace with the tragic death of his parents – which in a weird way, is exactly what Joker does, by having Batman (and Bruce Wayne) reconcile with Joe Chill. As Joker, The Comedian, sees it, he is now the only true trauma in Bruce’s life, and that’s all the victory he needs.
However, it’s revealed in an epilogue that Batman, as usual, has the upper-hand on his insane nemesis. While Joker knows who Batman really is, Batman reveals to Alfred that he always knew The Comedian was the real Joker, because he’s always known who The Jokerreally is.
So why has Batman never uttered the Joker’s real name? Because he has an even deeper, more important, secret to protect.
In the final scene of Batman: Three Jokers, Bruce Wayne travels to Alaska to check in on the secret he’s protecting: Joker’s wife and son, whose location Bruce has known for all these years while checking in and keeping them safe from both The Joker and the dark stain of his legacy.
In this ending of Batman: Three Jokers Geoff Johns basically taps Alan Moore’s origin for The Joker from The Killing Joke as the official Joker origin – and then twists it. Instead of The Comedian’s pregnant wife dying in that electrical fire (as Moore told it), she was helped by the police to escape from her increasingly insane and criminal husband. This drastically changes the dynamic between Joker and Batman – and the potential danger the villain poses, if he ever finds out the truth.
If the purpose of Batman: Three Jokers was to create some renewed intrigue in this hero/villain rivalry, Geoff Johns may have accomplished (at least) that.
I would say it has. The Joker has gone through ingenious reinterpretations on film over the years, however, he has been stale as a character in the comics since the New 52. This revelation that harkens back to The Killing Joke storyline by Alan Moore, sets the table for some intriguing new confrontations between Batman and the Joker.
What did you think of the ending of Batman Three Jokers? Let us know in the comments below.