WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Batman: The Dark Prince Charming Vol. 2, written and illustrated by Enrico Marini, in stores now.
In 2017, superstar European artist Enrico Marini released the first volume of his Batman: The Dark Prince Charming story, a haunting tale that took place outside of the main DC Universe continuity. It was the first part of a two volume story, the second of which was only just released this past week. It was a long wait, but finally the conclusion of the story set up months ago is finally upon us.
The first volume of Marini's story quickly set itself apart from the usual Batman mythos by having an unexpected guest drop at Bruce Wayne's door. A woman with whom Bruce had been intimate with nine years ago, and who now claimed that the daughter she had was his. However, before Bruce could find out if this woman was telling the truth or not, the Joker kidnapped the young girl, and the Batman, pushed by nascent paternal feelings, scoured Gotham City with a rage that burned hotter than any we've seen in him before.
Volume 2 brings this story to a close, but not in the way anyone expected -- the series ends with a chilling twist that completely alters the Batman/Joker relationship.
Over the years, many Batman stories have cut to the heart of his relationship with the Joker. And, more often than not, these stories heavily involved the people closest to Batman -- his children, adopted or otherwise. Batman may have started his vigilante career on his own, but it wasn't long before he had Dick Grayson's Robin at his side, the first of many in a long line of sidekicks. There was Jason Todd, Tim Drake, Barbara Gordon, his biological son Damian Wayne and more recently Duke Thomas.
Many of the big Joker stories see the Clown Prince of Crime take out his rivalry with Batman on others. The Killing Joke saw the madman attack Jim Gordon and leave Barbara Gordon crippled, while A Death in the Family saw the Clown Prince of Crime do the impossible and kill a Robin. Even Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns universe explored the twisted relationship of Batman and the Joker through the lens of Jason Todd's death. In Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo's "Death of the Family" storyline, the Joker sought to fracture the sacred bond of trust between Batman and all of his children, and the creative team's following storyline, "Endgame," took that even further by unleashing the Joker as a monster.