DC Comics did it right when they began the New 52 with the Joker having his face cut off……and then keeping us in suspense for a year!
Along the way, Gotham policemen pranked each other with it, Harley Quinn tried to steal the face, and had a twisted moment with it and her new boyfriend, Deadshot.
And then the Joker returned, and he didn’t disappoint! Right away he kills an entire station of Gotham policemen. When we see him, he has his face horrifically strapped to his head, and stretched into a gruesome smile. He spends no time catching up with Batman, and having some famous dialogue about how his “bat-family” makes him weaker.
This was also a cool trip through the New 52 origin of the Joker, (and Harley Quinn, too.) DC portrayed the Joker as remixing his original crimes. All of this echoed stuff from the old DC universes. Now it seems there is a solid origin story. Batman knocked The Red Hood into a vat of chemicals, and it made him into the Joker. That whole bit about him being a chemist also still seems to be true.
The Joker slowly picks off each Bat-Family member. He does the biggest number on Batgirl, capturing her mom, removing her finger, and using it to propose to BatGirl. Of course, she has to play along, or her mom will get blown up! NightWing has his circus scared away because one of the clowns was killed for resembling the Joker. Red Hood, Red Robin, and Robin (Damian) all get captured and thrown together in a cell. (Damian’s book was really gruesome.) Also, Alfred was attacked and Joker Gassed. Every Bat Family member’s story ends with a suspenseful panel of the Joker holding a giant dinner platter about to open the lid….
The Bat Family is disenfranchised because apparently Bruce knew that the Joker might have figured out his identity, and thus was able to figure out everyone else’s. It is never clear exactly how he figured out all of the personal details of how to get at the family members. But Bruce seems to think that the Joker doesn’t want to know, and also blinds himself to what must be obvious to someone as brilliant as him with his insanity. This detail is reinforced a couple of times if you think back. In “Red Hood and the Outlaws #0” the Joker quickly cuts off someone who is trying to point out Batman’s identity, etc.
I suppose that the Joker really does need Batman and Family to keep him busy. Otherwise he could have easily killed them all off in the end. Instead he “plays a joke” on Batman by presenting their severed faces on a platter. (not their real faces)
How is he defeated? Of course Batman had no trouble saving the family members. Then when he chases down the Joker and threatens him that he has figured out his identity, Joker won’t hear of it and throws himself down into the sewer, dropping his face in the process.
So far, the Bat Family members are rather irked at Bruce. It is a wonder they won’t answer his calls and stuff….Damian was just killed. They are not helping their mentor mourn. They are THAT MAD.
Where will this go? I wonder about the Joker’s face. Is he going to appear as someone else, with a healthy face next? The future is wide open on the part of the Joker. He kind of always comes and goes, and now this won’t be much different. I wonder if a whole “Joker in disguise” storyline might be coming up. Or maybe he will grow his face back? Or something else? Anyone else out there have any theories?
I think maybe DC was trying to create some space around Batman. Give him more room. Isn’t this kind of process always going on? Now he doesn’t even have an official Robin. Batman is working alone for the most part. It won’t be long though before the family is close again, so…..
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