In Justice League Incarnate #3, several residents of the DC Multiverse just revealed how tired they are of dealing with The Batman Who Laughs.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Justice League Incarnate #3, on sale now from DC Comics.
Over the past few years, DC has seen a new villain become one of its most popular characters. During Dark Nights: Metal (by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo), DC’s heroes faced twisted versions of the Dark Knight from throughout the Dark Multiverse. The most intriguing of these dark variants was the Batman and Joker hybrid known as the Batman Who Laughs.
Although he met his final end in Dark Nights: Death Metal, a new version of the Dark Multiverse Batman, the Batwoman Who Laughs, has emerged. Although the original version of the character was a major threat, the various characters of the DC Multiverse no longer seem to think so. They have a much different opinion of them in Justice League Incarnate #3 (by Joshua Williamson, Dennis Culver, Ariel Olivetti, Nik Virella, Todd Nauck, Mikel Janín, Andrei Bressan, Hi-Fi and Tom Napolitano).
When the Batwoman Who Laughs emerged very much alive from the wreckage of Justice League Incarnate’s House of Heroes, Darkseid’s loyal followers, Kalibak and Grail, didn’t see her as much of a threat to their mission. In fact, they saw her more as a nuisance than anything else. Kalibak complained about how it was pretty much obvious that she would survive. Grail on the other hand was downright annoyed by her existence, believing that the multiverse had finally seen the last of the Batman Who Laughs only for a Batwoman Who Laughs to take his place.
This is a humorous moment that highlights the place of the Batman Who Laughs in the modern era of DC Comics. The character first appeared only a few years ago, in 2017, and yet has already become an iconic villain. After his debut in Dark Nights: Metal, he seemed to show up almost everywhere. The character’s popularity granted him his own series by Snyder and Jock and he even became a major threat to the Justice League.
In Batman/Superman, he corrupted some of Earth’s greatest heroes, including Shazam and Supergirl, and it wasn’t until the limited series Hell Arisen (by James Tynion IV and Steve Epting) that the heroes were freed from his control. The “Infected” story had many spin-offs that included him as a major villain as well, giving the character a ton of exposure over the course of a mere five years.
Although The Batman Who Laughs still remains immensely popular, many believe that he now suffers from overexposure. Considering how much he’s done since his relatively recent debut, it’s easy to acknowledge that point. The Batman Who Laughs even crossed over into the video game franchise Fortnite, before more venerable DC characters like Green Lantern. With so many iconic villains populating their universe, DC’s commitment to pushing the Batman Who Laughs above them all may have done the character more harm than good.
This is what prompts such a response from the characters in Justice League Incarnate #3. What should be seen as a major threat to the multiverse, a Batwoman Who Laughs, is brushed off by everyone else as an annoyance. There’s still a chance that this once fearsome character could reclaimed their reputation, but that would most likely mean removing them from the spotlight, at least for a short period of time.
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