WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Batman: Curse of the White Knight #2 by Sean Murphy, Matt Hollingsworth and AndWorld Design, on sale now.
The alternate reality of Batman: Curse of the White Knight has thrown its Caped Crusader's life into an unprecedented tailspin. As Bruce Wayne wrestles with the notion of leaving the burden of the cowl behind, Joker (no longer the cured Jack Napier) has escaped Arkham and is playing one last chess game with Batman, since he wants to defeat his nemesis once and for all.
In the latest chapter, the Clown Prince of Crime moves one step closer to this ambitious checkmate by going after the Dark Knight's inner circle. In his efforts to destroy the symbol of the Bat and the family who helped him safeguard Gotham for years, Joker outs Barbara Gordon as Batgirl in a very public manner.
The unmasking occurs live on television as Joker targets Commissioner Jim Gordon as part of his sadistic endgame. He discovered key intel on Bruce Wayne's family in his cell, and he's been using it since to make the vigilante pay, starting with the creation of Azrael. But Joker wants the very foundation ripped out from under the Bat's feet too as he and Jack formed the Napier Initiative, which is meant to end the elite's control of Gotham and their appropriation of crime for their own benefit.
This isn't the kind of chaos Joker envisioned for his city in the long-term, and he's decided revenge must be served so he can break Batman's mind, body and soul. When Jim holds a press conference to reveal he's running for mayor so he could see the Napier Initiative through to the end to restore order and redistribute wealth to the city, a disguised Joker storms the event.
As he's pinned down by security, he airs footage of Barb unmasking as part of the Gotham task force created by Jack. This unit saw vigilantes like her and Nightwing (Dick Grayson) working together without unmasking so it remains to be seen if Dick will be outed too. It's only a matter of time as Joker does know Bruce is Batman, so at this point it's blatant he's fully intent on watching Bruce squirm as his loved ones suffer.
Jim's also paying the price, since his family is now a target with the news going viral. We don't know Barb's history or how long she's been active in the Murphyverse, but her dad is livid, since he thought Bruce would unmask at some point and take the heat by himself. Now, the Gordon family is thrown into disarray, and there's nothing Bruce or Jim can do with her superhero alter ego exposed.
Barb's a total mess, and her life in Gotham is well and truly over now that her secret's out. She's always enjoyed her stint as Batgirl, but it has endangered her loved ones officially thanks to Joker's antics. We're still unsure why he doesn't just out Bruce, but it seems to be part of a slow burn and an overall process he wants to enjoy. Dick could be next, since Joker clearly got the footage from spy cams at the city's police department.
Given that Joker also knew Jason Todd was Robin, it's just a matter of time before the next domino falls and Bruce is already counting down the days to the next strike. All Batman can do in the meantime is hope it doesn't come to pass anytime soon, but for now, it looks like the Bat-family is on the verge of crumbling, thanks to the Joker.
Batman: Curse of the White Knight #3 goes on sale Sep. 25.