Batman Who Laughs instantly became a fan favorite character ever since his first appearance in Dark Nights Metal #2/Teen Titans #12 (they both came out the same week). We won’t count Dark Days: The Casting #1 since it was just an ad and not part of the story-line. The creator/writer, Scott Snyder, says the first appearance is Dark Nights Metal #2 since those events occur before the events depicted in Teen Titans #12. Either book is highly sought after due to the Batman Who Laughs appearance.
For those not in the know, let me explain just Batman Who Laughs. The Batman Who Laughs is a version of Batman from Earth 22. In that part of the Multiverse Joker learned Bruce Wayne is actually Batman. He killed Commissioner Gordon and most of Batman’s villains. Joker then subjected Gotham to the chemicals that transformed him, much like the plot of the original Keaton Batman movie.
Batman fought and killed the Joker, but was exposed to a purified form of the chemicals as a result. Those chemicals gradually turned him into a new Joker. By the time Batman figured out what was happening, the process was irreversible. He thus became The Batman Who Laughs. He killed most of his allies and turned his son, Damian, into a mini-Joker. The Batman Who Laughs becomes a follower of Barbatos and helps in his attempt to take over Prime-Earth (our part of the Multiverse).
The Batman Who Laughs is presumed dead after a battle with Prime-Earth Batman and Joker. The new teaser for Batman/Superman #1 shows us he is not only alive, but deep into another plan to take over Prime-Earth. The teaser graphic asks “Who are the Infected?” It appears he is infecting our superheroes with his Joker chemicals and using them as pawns. The Year of the Villain initiative is focusing heavily on Batman Who Laughs. I, for one, couldn’t be happier.
DC’s Year Of The Villain #1 kicked off with a 32-page one-shot. It leads into to some of the biggest story arcs that make up Year of the Villain, with stories by Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev, plus details on Snyder’s The Batman Who Laughs, Tom King’s “City of Bane” story arc in Batman and the recently announced Batman/Superman by Joshua Williamson and David Marquez.
Joshua Williamson and David Marquez’s Batman/Superman #1 goes on sale August 28.
The first arc of Batman/Superman will follow the two titular heroes as they hunt down six infected heroes in the DCU—people revealed to be infected by the Batman Who Laughs with a deadly pathogen that violently transforms them into the evilest versions of themselves. The Dark Knight and the Man of Steel must journey into the depths of Gotham City to learn which of their fellow heroes has been transformed into the horrifying horseman of their most dangerous and deranged foe ever.
But who are the Infected? Fans have already been shown a sneak preview of Batman/Superman #1, revealing that The Batman Who Laughs’ plot is bigger than either the Caped Crusader or the Man of Steel realized and showing the devious killer’s first sentinel: a jacked-up, Dark Multiverse-infected Shazam! Who else has been targeted for similar transformations?
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