The Batman Who Laughs is a twisted version of Batman from the Dark Multiverse that embodies Bruce Wayne’s worst nightmares. After being exposed to a unique strain of Joker toxin, this alternate Batman was driven insane and ended up killing his version of the Joker and proceeding to wipe out entire worlds.
With his chilling visage and ruthless tactics, the Batman Who Laughs has cemented himself as one of DC’s most formidable villains in recent years. He serves as the main antagonist in the 2017-2018 Dark Nights: Metal crossover event that details the discovery of the Dark Multiverse and its invasion into the DC Universe.
The Batman Who Laughs combines Batman’s intelligence, physical strength, and strategic mind with the Joker’s psychopathy, warped sense of humor, and complete lack of ethics. This makes him an incredibly dangerous and unpredictable threat capable of destroying entire realities.
Where to start?
To properly understand this iconic villain, readers should start with the Dark Nights: Metal event that introduced him. Spanning several tie-in issues and one-shots, this epic crossover provides a crucial backstory on the nature of the Dark Multiverse and the rise of evil alternate Batmen.
Within the core storyline, we witness the Batman Who Laughs leading a team of sinister Dark Multiverse versions of Batman, all serving the dark god Barbatos in his quest to plunge the multiverse into chaos. It is here that we first glimpse the chilling nature of the Batman Who Laughs and his nihilistic hatred of Batman’s morality.
The Batman Who Laughs Reading Order
Here is a breakdown of the crucial comics needed to follow the journey of the Batman Who Laughs from his first appearance onwards:
|Dark Nights: Metal
|The main event detailing the invasion of Dark Multiverse Batmen
|Dark Nights: Metal: The Resistance
|Teen Titans #12, Nightwing #29, Suicide Squad #26, Green Arrow #32, The Flash #33, Justice League #32-33, Hal Jordan and The Green Lantern Corps #32, Hawkman Found #1
|Tie-in stories show the efforts of heroes to resist the invasion
|Dark Nights: Metal: Dark Knights Rising
|One-shots for all evil Batmen + Dark Knights Rising: The Wild Hunt #1
|Origin stories for each Dark Multiverse Batman, including the first solo story for The Batman Who Laughs
|The Batman Who Laughs continues the attack on Prime Earth
|The Batman Who Laughs
|#1–7 + The Grim Knight #1
|This villain’s ongoing quest to infect the DC Universe with his unique brand of evil
|The Batman Who Laughs creates his own “Secret Six” by infecting heroes with a toxin that turns them dark
With multiple limited series and tie-ins centered around him, The Batman Who Laughs has cemented himself as one of DC’s most prominent multidimensional threats. His charismatic sadism and ambitious vision will likely see him continue to antagonize Batman and the greater DC Universe for years to come.
Tracing the journey of the Batman Who Laughs requires an exploration of several key DC Comics events, crossovers, and limited runs. His story intricately weaves through the fabric of the DC Multiverse with immense ramifications. For fans of complex villain backstories and compelling character arcs, The Batman Who Laughs represents DC at its finest.
The recommended reading order provides a crucial sequence to follow to fully appreciate his twisted origins, motivations, and the extent of his malevolent plans.
As arguably DC’s most terrifying evil version of Batman, understanding the crucial events that birthed the Batman Who Laughs allows readers to witness the rise of a fascinating rogue who will haunt Batman’s legacy for years to come.