SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for The Batman Who Laughs: The Grim Knight #1 by Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Eduardo Risso, Dave Stewart and Sal Cipriano, on sale now.
As if The Batman Who Laughs wasn't twisted enough, the current miniseries introduced another evil Batman in the form of the Grim Knight. In Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV and Eduardo Risso's appropriately titled one-shot The Batman Who Laughs: The Grim Knight #1, the Darker Knight gets his own origin story. And just like almost every other incarnation of Batman, his grim career begins on the fateful night his parents were murdered. But the path that career takes puts him against a foe he never had to face in the mainstream DC Universe.
That Defining Moment, Altered
A wrong turn after a night at the theater results in the deaths of Thomas and Martha Wayne, as usual. The young Bruce Wayne of this Dark Multiverse world is understandably traumatized, just as he is in other realities, but a key divergence changes his response to his parents' unexpected murders. When this incarnation of Joe Chill stops to search for Martha's broken pearl necklace, Bruce grabs the distracted criminal's gun, and in turn shoots him in cold blood. There's a bit of instant street justice in this dark world, as Chill has now met the same fate as Bruce's parents. But that moment transforms the broken Bruce into a wholly different kind of dark "hero."
While this tragedy fostered an aversion to guns in our Bruce, it instead induces an obsession in this one. While Bruce trains himself in an array of fighting techniques, he comes to realize that his mission as a dark crusader isn't complete without a complimentary array of firearms to go with it. Rather than using his intellect to create an inventive arsenal of non-lethal weaponry, he simply confronts his foes, or would-be foes, with deadly force. As a result, his classic and colorful rogues' gallery comprised of foes like the Joker, Riddler and Penguin never come to be in this world.
But there's another who rises to become the Grim Knight's one, true enemy.
His Ally, His Enemy
The Grim Knight's wanton criminal murder spree draws the attention of the man who's been one of his greatest allies across the rest of the multiverse: Gotham Police Lieutenant Jim Gordon. While some of Gordon's fellow cops are all too cool with the Grim Knight's homicidal methods -- it is the Dark Multiverse, after all -- Gordon himself remains stoic and just. He doles out justice the way law enforcement is sworn to: By the book, just like his mainstream counterpart.
This mindset has historically made Gordon Batman's perfect crime-fighting ally. While Gordon and the GCPD keep order as they best can, Batman handles the foes they cannot, and in ways that they cannot. But in this world, their polarizing differences make Gordon the Grim Knight's perfect enemy -- and the only one who dares stand up to him. Despite the misgivings of some of the officers under him, he actually proves to be a formidable match for this evil Batman, more so than his subordinates working for him.