One of DC’s most twisted villains is believed to be dead. Recent events as well as hints from his last appearance suggest otherwise though.
WARNING: The following article contains spoilers from Justice League Incarnate #3, on sale now.
As the Justice League Incarnate fights for control over the multiverse fracture, The Batwoman Who Laughs reveals that the multiverse is becoming more and more like the Dark Multiverse. Her appearance also hints that this may lead to the return of one of the DC Universe’s most dangerous villains. In Justice League Incarnate #3 (by Joshua Williamson, Dennis Culver, Ariel Olivetti, Nik Virella, Todd Nauck, Mikel Janin, Andrei Bressan, Tom Napolitano), the original Batman Who Laughs may still exist and planning something nefarious. The question here is: Is he really? There is evidence to suggest otherwise.
The first major piece of evidence is the Batwoman Who Laughs herself. The fact that the multiverse has been corrupted enough to make a female version of the Batman Who Laughs indicates that its possible he could be reconstituted in the main multiverse. In a world of infinite possibility, there are multiple worlds where a Batman has been corrupted by the Joker. Even more concerning is that this would be a Batman Who Laughs whose home universe is forced to suffer his existence forever.
There also exists the possibility that he has already been reborn in the Dark Multiverse. As many fans know, the Dark Multiverse is a perverse parody of the main multiverse. The worlds that comprise it are made of the nightmares of the multiverse’s heroes and villains alike. During his tenure as DC’s main villain, the Batman Who Laughs managed to terrorize quite a number of people, all of whom probably fear him and what he is capable of, meaning there could be a new nightmare world down below where he waits for revenge.
Past events even suggest this was the villain’s backup plan. The evidence for this can be found in the story “The Batmen Who Laugh” from Dark Knights of Metal Last 52: War of the Multiverses (by James Tynion IV, Alex Maleev, Matt Hollingsworth, Rob Leigh). During the events of this story, the corpse of the Batman Who Laughs was reanimated and fought his main counterpart, wherein he stated that it was possible his godly self could lose the battle.
If that was the case, then the Batman Who Laughs had to ensure that he scared enough people to be reborn in the Dark Multiverse, thereby creating a form of semi-immortality. The Batman Who Laughs isn’t so much a person as an idea, and ideas can never truly die. So long as someone fears him, he will be revived on one or multiple dark Earths. So, it’s entirely possible that the Batwoman Who Laughs is merely the prelude to the return of one of the most terrifying villains in recent memory.
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