Joker has always been obsessed with Batman, but the Three Jokers conclusion takes it to sickening levels
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Batman: Three Jokers #3, by Geoff Johns, Jason Fabok, Brad Anderson and Rob Leigh, on sale now.
Batman: Three Jokers has reached its chilling conclusion and it has redefined the Joker and Batman relationship on top of revealing long-hidden secrets from the Batman: The Killing Joke. The Killing Joke is used as the benchmark story of the Joker’s origin and Three Jokers expands upon and twists the Clown Prince of Crime’s lore into something even more cleverly sinister. While the revelation that there have been three Jokers all along is startling enough, the last Joker standings revealed twisted motivations — even by Joker’s own lofty standards.
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The three Jokers have been terrorizing Gotham in search of the perfect specimen to become the newest and best Joker to date. “The Criminal” Joker tells Batman in the Monarch Theater that Thomas and Martha Wayne’s murderer, Joe Chill, is next in line to inherit the Clown Prince of Crime’s throne. Batman manages to save Joe from falling into a vat of Ace Chemicals and stops Joker in the process. Shortly after Joe Chill is rescued, “The Comedian” Joker comes out of nowhere and shoots “The Criminal” in the head and turns himself in. “Take me in Batsy. I want to get off this crazy ride.“
Batman is riding to Arkham with “The Comedian” in the back of a prisoner transport while he interrogates him. This is where Joker tells him he has Batman exactly where he wants him because his plan was just executed to perfection. Joe Chill was selected as the new Joker not because The Comedian thought he’d survive the transformation, but because he wanted to get to Batman in a brand new way. He wanted to help heal Batman’s childhood trauma and make peace with Joe Chill. Joker knew that if Batman read Joe Chill’s letter to Bruce Wayne he’d see he’s truly a changed man and Batman would have no choice but to forgive him — which in turn would help heal his spirit. But why would Joker want to heal Batman?
The Joker wanted to heal Batman of his greatest pain for one reason — so that Joker would be the greatest single source of pain in Burce Wayne and Batman’s life. Joker wants to be the star of the show when it comes to torturing Batman. He even knows his secret identity, but won’t tell anyone because he wants Batman to keep the cape and cowl. “I’ll hurt you. I’ll keep twisting that knife until the day we both die together,” Joker tells Batman.
Joker has proved once again he’s a psychotic and obsessive Batman fanboy to his very core. Joker has always gone to incredible lengths of sadism and destruction to keep Batman’s attention, but this is different. Joker wants Batman’s attention so bad he was willing to heal his “greatest wound,” even if it happened through a psychotic spiral of events. Not to mention, the irony of the Joker leading Batman down a path of forgiveness has to be hard for Batman to live with. While Batman was able to keep the secret of Joker’s long lost family from him and lock him back away in Arkham, it’s clear the emotional, mental, and physical trauma inflicted will have everlasting ramifications. Even though Joker is locked up at the end of the story, it still feels like he got a big win. The Three Jokers dug a deep scar into the Bat-Family legacy that will never be forgotten.
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