In the Dark Nights: Metal tie-in “The Batman Who Laughs,” we learn the origin of perhaps the worst villain imaginable in the DC multiverse: a Batman who lacks all morality––or, more precisely, a Batman who has the amorality of the Joker.
“The Batman Who Laughs” opens in the past of Earth-22 (for those unfamiliar with the DC multiverse, it is composed of multiple universes designated by their Earths). The Joker has managed to pull off the murder of nearly everyone in Gotham, and he has Batman drugged and tied to a chair. He taunts Batman about the Dark Knight’s “one rule”––the rule not to kill––and with a gruesome description of Jim Gordon’s death. Enraged, Batman breaks free of his bonds and attacks the Joker, who promises that he will “never stop.” Batman breaks the Clown Prince’s neck––only to discover that doing so releases a poison gas from the Joker’s mouth, a poison that is specifically designed to target the parts of his mind that determine his morality while leaving his exceptional intellect intact.
In other words, it combines Batman’s most dangerous characteristics with those of the Joker. Continue reading ““The Batman Who Laughs”: The Monsters That We Could Be”