WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for The Batman Who Laughs #7 by Scott Snyder, Jock, David Baron and Sal Cipriano, on sale now.
The Batman Who Laughs has gone to great lengths to make Gotham a breeding ground for more villains like him. In Scott Snyder and Jock's The Batman Who Laughs #7, Batman appears to thwart his plan -- but does he? The upcoming "Who Are the Infected" storyline has already hinted that Batman's evil counterpart at least partially succeeded in his plan. This issue's final panel unveils The Batman Who Laughs' first victim. "Who Are the Infected" serves as part of the DC's Year of the Villain event.
While Batman was going toe-to-toe with his doppelganger, Commissioner Jim Gordon was doing the same against The Grim Knight -- another evil Batman brought to this world. Gordon successfully stops The Grim Knight from infecting Gotham's water supply with The Batman Who Laughs' toxin, but at a cost. While the water supply was spared and Gordon walked away from the conflict, it's revealed he was exposed to the toxin.
It's no surprise, really -- The Grim Knight nearly drowns Gordon in a reservoir of the contaminated water before Gordon's son James ultimately helps his father get the upper hand. It hasn't been established how much of the toxin needs to be consumed to become infected, but it's likely that Gordon either inhaled or swallowed enough to succumb. At the end of the issue, Gordon exhibits a similar kind of red-eyed creepiness that Batman himself nearly fell victim to as the series progressed.
Other upcoming victims are already known, or at least suspected. DC itself has revealed that Billy Batson -- aka Shazam! -- is fated to become infected, as is Supergirl. But Gordon is chronologically the first known DC Universe character to suffer such a transformation in the wake of The Batman Who Laughs' capture. Whether some of Gotham's tainted water leaked outside of the city, or if the heroes are transformed by other means, is unknown.
Gordon's early transformation doesn't necessarily mean he's a goner, though. Alfred indicates that Batman himself had fully transformed, yet the Dark Knight was ultimately able to again find the light. Batman had a decent supply of the anti-toxin he needed to counteract The Batman Who Laughs' poison, so Gordon's change could potentially be halted early on with Batman's help. Though, the impact of an evil Jim Gordon running the GCPD would be a fun exploration of the character.
The caption at the end of the issue teases "the horror continues" in the launch of the upcoming new World's Finest title, Batman/Superman #1, by Joshua Williamson and David Marquez. The issue goes on sale Aug. 28.