Batman Destroys the DC Universe, Or At Least One of Them
One week later, Batman has taken his madness up to the Justice League Watchtower, where he turns the weapons gathered there against his one-time colleagues, including Superman and his family. Before Clark, Lois, and Jon's demise, though, the psychotically insane Batman brings forth not only the once-absent Damian, now similarly transformed, but also his ghastly pet Robins – presumably selected from the children previously poisoned by The Joker. The twisted pseudo-family of the Batman, who now laughs, watches Superman turn and kill his own family off-panel after Batman exposes him to a sample of black Kryptonite.
The Batman Who Laughs is next seen sitting comfortably on a throne comprised of his victims' bodies, and along with his Robins-on-a-leash, is now adorned in his trademark spiked blindfold – completing not only his journey into madness, but also his seeming affinity with B&D fashion. All opposition thrown against him has failed, and having conquered his world, this Batman feels that there's little else for him to accomplish – that is, until Barbatos arrives, and enlists him in his quest to cast his darkness outside the sphere of the Dark Multiverse. This chronicle essentially brings The Batman Who Laugh's history into the present day, but there's still more that the character has to share regarding Barbatos' intentions.
Who Is That Masking-Taped Man?
The one-shot's entire narrative is a first-person account from the character who was once Earth -22's Batman, who relates his tale to an unknown and tormented figure who's been bloodied, bound in tape from head to toe, and chained to a wheelchair. The mysterious figure remains unidentified, although the Batman Who Laugh's ever-increasing madness combined with the now-absent Damian points towards one fairly obvious guess. There is precedent for a toxic aggressor/victim relationship between The Joker and Robin, after all, and this Batman is far more deadly and insane than The Joker ever was.
The Batman Who Laughs goes on to reveal to his victim the issue's coup de grâce – the pending incursion of something far worse than the Dark Knights. Yes, there is something worse – namely, a multiverse full of even more nightmarish versions of the Justice League. Among the corrupted versions of characters shown in Rossmo's two-page closing spread are additional iterations of Batman, including one who appears to be a primitive version akin to Bruce Wayne representing the game-changing Bat-tribe, and one who's possibly some kind of undead zombie. One prominent image appears to show a Superman/Parasite mashup, and another Superman bears a very strong Darkseid influence. The Flash, Green Lantern and Aquaman are also given the Dark Multiverse treatment.
The Batman Who Laughs #1 not only completes the backstories of all seven Dark Knights, but also furthers the events of Dark Nights: Metal since the release of that series' most recent issue. The imminent invasion from the Dark Multiverse is set up to storm into Earth-0 in Dark Nights: Metal #4, on sale December 20.