SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for DC Comics' Dark Nights: Metal #2 and Teen Titans #12, both of which are on sale now.
DC Comics’ event series Dark Nights: Metal is underway, and this week not only sees the arrival of the evil Batmen the Dark Multiverse, we get our first full taste of The Batman Who Laughs in Teen Titans #12 from Benjamin Percy and Mirka Andolfo.
The issue follows a few of the threads that began in Metal #1-2 as the Gotham Resistance of Robin, Nightwing, Green Arrow, Harley Quinn and Killer Croc make their way towards a mysterious mountain in the heart of Gotham City in search of Batman, who has gone missing.
If you're a dedicated reader of Teen Titans and haven’t been following what's been unfolding in Metal, you might be curious as to where the dark, ominous mountain came from, and why it's surrounded by rings dedicated to some of Batman’s greatest rogues. But we're guessing your biggest questions will be what the deal is with the gothic figure referred to as the Batman Who Laughs, and his cadre of evil Robins.
Gotham's New Dark Mountain
Inside the pages of Dark Knights: Metal #1, the Justice League investigates a mountain radiating with dark energy right smack in the middle of Gotham. As it turns out, Batman must not have found time to relay to his son, Damian Wayne, what the team found in the structure, because once his father goes missing, Robin leads the Teen Titans directly to it.
Even though the mountain screams more "horrific" than “heroic” on first glance, it is actually Challengers Mountain, the home base of the Challengers of the Unknown. Created by Jack Kirby in 1957, the team of explorers consisting of “Prof” Haley, June Robbins, Rocky Davis, Red Ryan and Ace Morgan debuted in Showcase #6. What makes the appearance of Challengers Mountain in Gotham so confusing is it usually can be found in the Rocky Mountains. Plus, it normally doesn’t have waves of dark energy beaming from it, or is surrounded by labyrinths dedicated to the likes of the Riddler, Poison Ivy, Mr. Freeze, Mad Hatter, Firefly and Bane.
The reason for these video game levels of boundaries ahead of Challengers Mountain is the fault of one of the evil Dark Multiverse Batmen: the Joker-inspired Batman Who Laughs. But what's his goal, how is he planning to achieve it, and who are the Robins he's brought with him to the DC Universe?