If you’re not a fan of reading comics but love to know what’s going on, this is definitely worth checking out because after a year of silence, the Joker has returned to wreak havoc on the citizens of Gotham City, especially the Bat-Family in the new story arc, Batman: Death of the Family.
The following is a spoiler-filled synopsis of Batman #13 when the Clown Prince of Crime finally returns to torment the Dark Knight and his allies, with a trail of death and destruction. Included are a couple pages from within the book as well so enjoy!
Commissioner James Gordon and Detective Harvey Bullock feel something strange in the air while on the roof of GCPD, a strange van heads into Gotham. Gordon heads downstairs to meet with some of his officers when some of the lights go off and Gordon makes out a mysterious figure that entered the room covered with blood to be none other than the Joker. The rest of the lights suddenly go out as Joker makes his way through the room while attempting to tell jokes, but is constantly interrupted by other officers so he cracks their necks. Jim eventually draws the attention of the Joker in order to save the other officer’s lives, while Joker addresses Jim as an “old friend” and asks how his daughter is, revealing personal stuff like the location of Jim’s last pack of hidden cigarettes under his bed. After the lights come back on, the Joker has disappeared with his face and Batman stands over Gordon.
Back in the Batcave, Bruce and Alfred talk about how Joker’s return was inevitable, but Damian relays how unimpressed he is with the Clown Prince of Crime, believing he lost his edge, but Bruce warns him otherwise. Tim and Dick eventually check in regarding the rumors of Joker’s return and mention if they have told Barbara, to which Bruce mentions that he has not because he believes it’s in her best interest. But Barbara does end up checking in after finding out on her own, slightly angry that Bruce hasn’t kept her in the loop. Shortly after, Alfred picks up a signal being broadcast over all TV airwaves of a man painted up like the Clown Prince, but his arms are not of his own, rather the Joker hiding behind him, using the man as a puppet in order for him to proclaim the mayor’s death at midnight just before shooting the man in the head on air.
The voice recognition on the Batcomputer later identifies the murdered man as Henry Claridge who happens to be the son of the Joker’s first victim and when the rest of the Bat-family offers to help Bruce, he declines believing this to be a personal matter. Later, the Jim puts the mayor on lockdown within a room along with 20 or more GCPD cops along with Batman hiding in the vents elsewhere, who tells Jim that the mayor’s blood, water and air supply are clean, but the Dark Knight feels something is off. Bruce then goes through all the recent events in his head until something clicks and he rushes into the secure room to find all the cops poisoned with Joker Venom with the mayor perfectly safe. Batman takes a sample and Alfred analyzes it to find that the new venom makes the victims frown instead of smile now as well as three compounds in it (aspirin, chlorine and ethane) which serve no purpose except the fact the first three letters of each word spell ACE.
Batman then heads to ACE Chemicals, finding the Joker waiting for him, dressed in his old Red Hood costume and Bruce charges him, only to be knocked into an empty vat by a comically large hammer. The vat then closes and begins to fill with chemicals, but as the Joker takes his hood off, it’s revealed to be Harley Quinn who is a bit disturbed herself by the new Joker. As Batman starts to run out of time, he demands that Harley tells him where the Joker is which turns out to be Wayne Manor. Meanwhile, Alfred hears a scratching at the door, finding a two-headed lion cub waiting on the doorstep and hears a voice behind him saying, “There’s my little guy! I’ve been looking everywhere,” and finds Joker waiting for him, with a hammer held high.
Well fanboys and girls, there you have it…the return of the Joker! Just below is the checklist for Death of the Family which continues in November with Batman #14. Does the Joker know Batman’s secret identity? I guess we will have to find out.