EXCLUSIVE: Geoff Johns Clarifies Where Batman: Three Jokers Fits in DC Continuity

At Comic-Con International in San Diego, writer Geoff Johns sat down with CBR to chat all things DC, from the recently announced Star-Girl live action series coming to the DC Universe platform to his ongoing work on Doomsday Clock.

Of course, we took the opportunity to get a closer look at one of Johns' most esoteric upcoming projects: Three Jokers, a prestige format, three-issue miniseries being released under DC's brand new Black Label imprint. Black Label, it's been explained, is specifically designed for more "edgy" stories that exist outside of the mainline DC Universe continuity -- but, as Johns explained, that might not always be the case. During discussions at various DC-run panels at the convention, Black Label was likened to stories like The Dark Knight Returns and The Killing Joke -- stories that may not intentionally exist within the constraints of continuity upon release, but are eventually folded into the bigger picture based on success or popularity with fans.

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However, that might not always be the case. When asked if Three Jokers fit into the mold of Miller and Moore's iconic graphic novels in terms of continuity, Johns said flat out, "For [Jason Fabok] and I, this is continuity."

"Three Jokers is an in-continuity story. It really focuses on Bruce, Barbara and Jason and the pain that the Joker's inflicted on them as individuals. It's a mystery about the three Jokers operating at the same time and what that means. It's an exploration on healing and pain and healing right versus healing wrong. I think there's a lot of different ways to heal [...] Since The Killing Joke was published, there's been so much expansion in the Batfamily and so much that's happened, so [Fabok] and I really wanted too -- If we're going to tell a Batman story and a Joker story, we decided we needed to tell the best most emotional story we could possibly tell. It's going to change their relationship with the Joker and how you see the Joker forever."

As for whether Three Joker's in-continuity status will have an aftermath that echo across the larger DCU, or if the effects would be more focused on Batman's world, Johns confirmed it would be the latter. "It's going to be introspective, sure, but I think in a way that changes these characters emotionally [...] but we're really, [Fabok] and I are really just focused on these three issues and this story."

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It would certainly make sense for Three Jokers to exist and have consequences for the Rebirth DCU, considering the issue was explicitly addressed in DC Universe Rebirth #1 after being introduced on a conceptual level back in the New 52 Justice League ongoing. However, the tenuous place of Black Label projects' official status in the timeline means we're likely going to just have to wait and see just how much of an impact this series has on the greater DC Universe.

The first of Three Jokers' forty-eight page prestige format issues is set to hit shelves later this year.

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