We know how inhuman the Joker can be, from pulling macabre magic tricks to selling beauty products that only your undertaker will know you use, but DC’s newest vision of him in Dark Nights: Metal #2 actually shows him as a life-form on the edge of humanity (if he even has any left). He’s also, as the name of the comic suggests, totally metal.
As the seventh of evil alt-verse Batpeople spawned in Dark Nights: Metal, Joker looks like a xenomorph tricked out in a Batsuit that could only have emerged from some abandoned medieval dungeon. The buckled leather armor is beyond badass. He whips around chains like they were party favors. Even his helmet is spiked, and the bat ears look like blades that could slice you to shreds if you’re the next unfortunate victim he head-butts. Don’t even get me started on his Robins, which are nightmarish demon-slaves with pointed ears and dagger claws that somehow resemble deranged leprechauns. The BatJoker is evil incarnate if evil had a face. If you need any further convincing, just check out those teeth.
If you’re not already freaked out enough, this warped version of Bruce Wayne—appropriately called The Batman Who Laughs and illustrated by Jason Fabok (top) and Mirka Andolfo—isn’t the only alt-Batman coming to Dark Nights: Metal. Think other incarnations that have corrupted members of the Justice League beyond recognition. There’s a skull-faced BatBorg otherwise known as The Murder Machine and a beastly BatFlash whose Red Death persona is right on. He’s what you’d get if you could blast Edgar Allan Poe’s The Masque of the Red Death into the dystopian future of Gotham.
What may be even creepier is that the maniacal Robins chained to The Batman Who Laughs, whose creation may or may not have had something to do with finding a playing card with a certain creepy face, really aren’t too far off from Bruce Wayne’s seeking out underage apprentices and training them to be dangerous vigilantes. If you really think about, this is really that concept on steroids.
The Batman Who Laughs will be grinning in his own one-off, The Batman Who Laughs #1, on November 15. The new Robins and their sadistic master will first crawl into both Dark Nights: Metal #2 and Teen Titans #12 on September 13. They definitely look like they bite.