r/DCcomics - Batman: Three Jokers – After-issue Post 3 – Final Breakdown and Theories - (SPOILERS)
r/DCcomics - Batman: Three Jokers – After-issue Post 3 – Final Breakdown and Theories - (SPOILERS)

Three Jokers

This is Part 3 of my After-Issue posts:

After-Issue Post 1

After-Issue Post 2

I wasn’t sure if I was going to make this at first, but after reading the final issue, I just had to. Like the last two, I’ll break down the issue, find some references/easter eggs, theorize and give my thoughts.

I thought there wouldn’t be much left to theorize but fortunately for me, there’s still quite a ton. I recognize that reception is a bit more mixed, but I personally really enjoyed this book with a few minor disappointments IMO. I’ll get into that.

This’ll also be my big farewell to this series after theorizing on it for almost two years. So, I know I’ve said it before, but this is the biggest post I’ve made, ever.

I. The Briefing

The issue begins with the trio, after a brief fight, putting aside their differences and finally focusing on detective work. Something hinted at last issue with Bruce looking into his leads on the Jokers.

Credit to u/XxRambo-ApocalypsexX for the following image from his post:

[Comic Excerpt] Flashbacks (Batman: Three Jokers #3) from DCcomics

Flashbacks

First let’s break down each.

The first we see is the Criminal, who Bruce confirms is the first he encountered and points out his more serious and focused personality. A calculating mastermind indeed.

The flashback is from a panel in Batman #1 (1940, the Joker’s first appearance), specifically the very first Joker story (there are two in this issue).

If you’ve been following my posts, this should be familiar as I pointed it out in the first post as Jason Fabok teased this on Twitter earlier this year.

r/DCcomics - Batman: Three Jokers – After-issue Post 3 – Final Breakdown and Theories - (SPOILERS)

I called it!

As I said last time, this means that the original version of their encounter takes precedence over Man Who Laughs retconned version. Dick Grayson is now once again already Robin, so the Criminal likely stole jewels as well as murder his victims. His conflicts with organized crime may also be back.

Next up is the Clown, and we once again see a reference to Gaggy (the Original Court Jester and Sidekick of the Joker) and his first appearance in Batman #186 (1966). The way Bruce describes him of course matches what we know, and also very much reminds me of Mark Hamill’s Joker. Like I said in the first post, he’s my personal favorite, even if he’s the least in depth as a character.

But finally, here we have the Comedian.

Credit to u/WarWolf343. It is the obvious choice, and that actually adds a lot to the Comedian in the end which I’ll get to. Of course, that means that Rebirth image was inaccurate after all.

The implication of this of course is that Scott Snyder’s run IS considered canon to this story (which is a given if this is in main continuity), meaning Zero Year is canon. The story featuring a new version of the Red Hood gang, with Red Hood One being a true criminal mastermind, not a decoy, leading several Red Hoods. This could explain how there could be more than 3 Jokers if Bruce only had 1 encounter with RH.

Bruce points out a level of sadism under his smile that’s different from the others. I can see where’s he coming from. To me, that smile just looks fake compared to the Clown, who looks genuinely happy. Just my thoughts.

II. The Confrontation at the Monarch Theatre

r/DCcomics - Batman: Three Jokers – After-issue Post 3 – Final Breakdown and Theories - (SPOILERS)

“Joker The Immortal”

Next up we have the climax taking place in the Monarch Theatre, the cinema Bruce watched Mark of Zorro in with parents that fateful night.

Sound familiar?

We’ve had similar Joker confrontations happen in both Arkham City and recently in Joker War.

Jw’s wasn’t quite a climax as it took place in the middle of the arc, and there’s also a horde of zombies that Bruce sees as Jokers (and so fights them blindfolded). Funny similarities there but I doubt any of this is intentional. 3 Jokers was written long ago and Jason Fabok and James Tynion IV both support the idea that Joker War was made without any knowledge or consideration of 3 Jokers.

However, I’d like to talk more about Arkham City.

This was also the big ending of the game. I still remember playing it for the first time. Here, the Joker died after accidentally preventing Bruce from curing him. This was after it was revealed that he was still poisoned and that there was a second healthy Joker which was Clayface in disguise.

Hmmm. Sounds familiar.

Does this live up to those two?

IMO? Absolutely. Jason Fabok and Brad Anderson make this a fiery climactic battle while Geoff Johns does, IMO, a great job tying up what he’s set up since #1 (get to that in a bit).

The Joker’s death in AC was of course more impactful than the Criminal’s, but his and the Comedian’s plan here was great and the twist is just as good. I’ll get to that in a bit.

Lastly, Geoff Johns apparently has advised on Origins and Knight’s stories. Knight of course has the weakest, but IMO the character arcs in Origins makes it the best. The way there were “multiple Jokers” in Knight and City might have inspired him to make this. Also, both City and Knight has at least one line from thugs talking about there being or possibly being Three Jokers.

This could be a whole post on its own so better go back to the book.

The Criminal Joker reveals he wants to turn Joe Chill into the new Joker.

As I’ve said before, Jason Fabok points to Jack Nicholson’s Joker as an inspiration for him, who killed the Waynes and not Chill. Because of that, Michael Keaton’s Batman then aimed to kill him for revenge.

This confirms he did not hire Chill (who is not a hired killer).

Now, why would the Criminal want to do that….

III. Batman’s Greatest Scar

This book made clear from the very first pages and in interviews with GJ and JF that the main theme is about scars. Physical and emotional.

r/DCcomics - Batman: Three Jokers – After-issue Post 3 – Final Breakdown and Theories - (SPOILERS)

This in fact the whole purpose of the scars montage with Bruce.

He’s had many, many scars from his rogues gallery, but we see that the Joker has caused them the most.

But no matter what, the scar caused by Joe Chill will always be deeper than the others.

More than Penguin, Bane, Scarecrow, Riddler, Catwoman…

More than the Joker

Well, from the Joker(s)’ point of view, that’s just not right.

To the Criminal, this meant he had to fix the Joker. To make a new one that’ll far surpass him, his other two “apprentices”, and mean more to Batman than ever. Someone “far younger and more powerful” maybe (more on the Sith Lords later)?

He’s old and tired. He can’t even laugh without crying over the pain. He wants the Joker reborn better than ever, mattering more to Batman than ever, so he could finally rest.

In my last post, I pointed this out as the motivation for the Joker and recalled how Jeremiah Valeska (Proto-Joker 2) from Gotham had a similar gripe with it.

r/DCcomics - Batman: Three Jokers – After-issue Post 3 – Final Breakdown and Theories - (SPOILERS)

“I want to be the star of the show!”

So what did HE do to try and fix that?

Reenact the Wayne murders with Jim Gordon and Leslie Thompkins, complete with Crime Alley, pearls and Bruce being there to see it of course!

Now, both plans have flaws.

All Jeremiah is doing with this rehash would be to remind Bruce of that original trauma anyway. Even if Selina wasn’t there to stop him, this probably won’t make him mean more to Bruce than Joe Chi- err- Matches Malone (see: Gotham).

Unlike the Jokers in this book, Jeremiah failed to realize that Bruce will never be more broken from what he can do over than what Chill/Malone did.

The Criminal would be pulling a Batman ’89, as Bruce would know the Joker’s identity. Something the Comedian doesn’t want.

Which leads me to the twist on what the Comedian’s plan was, and to me it was genius and out of the box. Far surpassing Jeremiah and the Criminal.

He didn’t rehash or steal that trauma.

He took it out of the equation entirely.

He. Healed. It.

“It wasn’t the Joker that was broken. It was the Batman”

-more on that quote later

After the Criminal failed to turn his new potential successor, he planned to kill him and Batman instead, only for the Comedian to shoot him dead.

The Comedian was playing him all along in a plan to become the last remaining, definitive Joker and become the worst source of suffering Batman has ever had. Something foreshadowed last issue when the Criminal confirmed that it was his suggestion to reveal their secret.

And in the end?

It worked.

And it would only not work if Bruce didn’t have forgiveness in his heart.

It was checkmate.

BRIEF DETOUR

An evil master (cough Darth Sidious/Emperor Palpatine) failing to turn a prospective apprentice/successor (cough Mark Hamill cough), then deciding to kill said person only to be betrayed and killed by his current apprentice who tended to plan behind his back (cough Vader)? His other apprentice (The Clown and Dooku) being killed by another younger, edgier prospective apprentice (Jason/Anakin) before this?

Sorry I just had to bring that up lol. I haven’t watched Mandalorian S2’s premiere yet to not get distracted from this or my IRL responsibilities which also delayed this.

But seriously, the Criminal emphasizing the rule of threes (which is actually a real thing) last issue did remind me of the rule of two. His search for a successor and his traitorous relationship with his protégés here really, really made me see them like Sith Lords lol.

DETOUR ENDS HERE

u/Hmz_786 and I discussed before about how the Comedian could have been planning to betray the Criminal and the others all along. Maybe even seeing the Clown’s death coming. It seems that may be the case after all. Which I will delve into more later.

Besides Jack Napier from Batman ’89 and Jeremiah Valeska from Gotham, one Joker that I got reminded of in this was John Doe from Telltale’s Batman and Batman: Enemy Within. His last lines to Bruce in the Villain ending (there are 2 versions depending on your choice of dialogue to him) evoke the themes of this story or parallel what the Comedian says here.

r/DCcomics - Batman: Three Jokers – After-issue Post 3 – Final Breakdown and Theories - (SPOILERS)

(“Sure we’ve had some good times”) “I hope you’ll look at that scar and remember those good times”

r/DCcomics - Batman: Three Jokers – After-issue Post 3 – Final Breakdown and Theories - (SPOILERS)

(“I wish we never met”) “I’ll be the knife on your side until the end of time”

Back to Bruce and Joe Chill.

Definitely the best part of the issue and this story, is Bruce forgiving Joe Chill and healing his greatest scar. I’ve seen people say this has been done before. That’s true, but never exactly like this, not quite to this extent.

He didn’t forgive him in his mind as an old man after witnessing a new gang of criminals act far worse than him. He didn’t just spare him and leave him to die by either suicide or murder by his fellow criminals or to just rot in poverty.

This Joe Chill was truly remorseful, dying of cancer and wasn’t active as a criminal anymore.

Bruce stayed by his side and held his hand as he passed.

This is the most positive closure Bruce has ever had with Joe Chill, ever IMO.

r/DCcomics - Batman: Three Jokers – After-issue Post 3 – Final Breakdown and Theories - (SPOILERS)

“Forgiveness is Freedom”

So, the Comedian Joker won.

He healed Bruce’s greatest scar.

He killed the Criminal and became the last Joker.

But most of all, the ambiguity behind who the Joker is remains.

Or does it?

IV. The Joker’s Name

One thing I brought up in my last post is that the Comedian hates memory and remembering the past.

Since he is the Endgame Joker after all, that means he likes to tell his false origins as supernatural, demonic or nightmare fuel stories that prey on his victims (the back up stories).

Which in retrospect, fits with the idea that he doesn’t want people to know about his tragic past. He wants people to think he’s chaos incarnate, but he’s not.

Which is why in Death of the Family, he panicked and fell when Bruce claimed he knew his real name, which would prove he was human.

Then in Darkseid War, Bruce got the Mobius Chair.

He asked it two questions. One rhetorical for a test, and the other we assumed wasn’t. He asked who killed his parents and then asked what was the Joker’s real name, only to learn the premise of this very story. There were Three Jokers.

Here we learn that Bruce DID know the Joker’s name all this time. This means that it was also a test (which Jason Fabok has confirmed on Twitter to multiple people).

Let’s go back to The Killing Joke

The Joker attempted to drive Jim Gordon insane to prove his absurd, nihilistic thesis that life is a joke and anyone can see that just like he did by going through “One Bad Day”. Which in turn is to prove to Batman that they are alike and that he should be insane just like him.

Thing is…

He failed.

Jim wasn’t driven mad. Bruce wasn’t convinced and instead tried giving a counteroffer of rehabilitation. But the Joker refuses because he thinks A) He’s too far gone and B) He doesn’t trust that Bruce will keep the light on and commit to doing it.

The Joker did not prove his point and yet couldn’t accept an alternative hypothesis. If this was an official social experiment for research, he’d get an F (and then get kicked out and thrown in jail for unethical human testing without consent).

And really the flashbacks themselves prove it.

The flashbacks take more than one day. He was a struggling comedian in poverty and at times vented this on his wife.

r/DCcomics - Batman: Three Jokers – After-issue Post 3 – Final Breakdown and Theories - (SPOILERS)

No, that is not an invention of this book. That panel is directly adapted from TKJ.

We don’t see more from this scene in 3 Jokers, so it’s left ambiguous whether they reconciled or not the way we see in TKJ, but I think the latter works still. Even after apologizing the comedian still vented and ranted about his life. He made it clear he wants to get out of there, but he didn’t try more comedy gigs or getting his old job back at ACE.

No, instead he gave in to crime. Not too different from Joe Chill.

Note, there is an unspecified time gap between that scene and his meetings with the criminals.

He’s had 2 in fact.

He had to find them first, possibly introduced to them by the Criminal (more on that later) and then have that first meeting planning the heist and setting him up as a decoy Red Hood. From dialogue, their next meeting will be “next Friday” right before the heist. At least a week has passed then.

“One bad week” doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.

But that’s not the point.

He gave into crime even before the accident and he relied on that to save his family.

What would Jeannie think if she heard about him being willing to associate with criminals?

How would he act toward her in that 1 week where he still hasn’t fixed his life?

Whatever the case, we don’t learn his name

but we do learn that Jeannie lived.

Whatever happened in that lost week, she eventually couldn’t take it anymore and got help from cops to escape. She and her son (who IMO btw has to be 15-20 years old, or at least older than Damian) are alive in Alaska. Which is why Bruce wasn’t looking at missing Comedian files earlier, and instead looked at his globe.

This does feel like a very similar situation to the psychiatrist who tried curing the Joker in Killer Smile, only to end up driving his wife and son away and nearly killing them in the Joker’s plot to make him like him.

We then learn why Bruce can’t reveal his name, and possibly why he can’t kill the Joker.

If he reveals the Joker’s name, people will find his family and they wouldn’t be safe. The Joker would find them too.

As for the latter, if Bruce kills the Joker, he would be taking a father away from his son (more on the son of the Joker in the bonus segment!)

So in the end, Bruce had the last laugh.

He knows the Joker isn’t the devil. He was a man once. He had a wife who he loved before turning to insanity. The Joker failed in keeping the ambiguity behind himself, a week after Bruce fought the Joker (the Criminal?). He failed a long time ago.

And now,

Both refuse to reveal the identity of the other.

V. Is the Joker Broken, or Chaos Incarnate?

Now, a lot of people think this book is painting the Joker as someone who was always bad and that this ruins TKJ. I kind of already talked about that in the previous segment, but here I’d like to bring back an old post I made discussing the conflicting views of the Joker:

r/DCcomics - Batman: Three Jokers – After-issue Post 3 – Final Breakdown and Theories - (SPOILERS)

From IGN

Alan Moore of course argued for the Joker being a dark reflection of Batman. Both born from tragedy.

but

Frank Miller argued the Joker was pure evil. Satanic even. Evil incarnate. Not insane. Evil.

“I am chaos. I am the devil. I am everything to you and nothing. It wasn’t the Joker who was broken. It was the Batman.”

Putting that quote in that context, it looks like Miller’s version is what’s coming here.

But I don’t think so.

As I’ve pointed out, the Comedian is a liar that takes credit from the other Jokers and pretended he was an immortal supernatural boogieman in Endgame.

This is how he wants to be seen, because he’s afraid of the truth.

In reality, he’s the only one of the Jokers who has a desire outside of Batman and apparently the only one with One Bad Day. The Clown said he loved to take credit, he teased him about being a failed comedian and the Criminal called him out for wasting time with fantasies. They were the ones pushing him down. It was the Criminal trying to get him to focus on what matters.

He almost comes off as the bullied co-worker that gets reminded every time about where he came from and he HATES that. This was his revenge. By killing them and taking credit for all their work. He became the Joker who mattered. Not Chill, the Clown or the Criminal.

r/DCcomics - Batman: Three Jokers – After-issue Post 3 – Final Breakdown and Theories - (SPOILERS)

“Says the failed Comedian” “There is no her. There is no one else but the Batman”

Clearly, he still loved his wife. Despite him venting to her, she and their unborn son were still the reason for him going insane. Even now he secretly fantasizes them being with them.

Another thing to take note of is that, in both the Killing Joke and Three Jokers,

He NEVER reveals this specific origin to others

It’s always flashbacks and fantasies. When he does tell false origins, it’s always to paint him as this bigger force of chaos. A façade to hide his real past that the other Jokers see right through and belittle him for. With them dead, no one else knows now…except Bruce.

Speaking of which, this makes him more like Batman.

Because the way he wants to be seen by others,

is just like how Batman wants to be seen by criminals

Pretending to be a supernatural force of nature to strike fear is now common among the two victims of trauma. He failed to prove anyone can be like him in TKJ, so he decided to embrace the idea that no one can be like him.

In many ways this also relates to the Joker movie, where Arthur pretended, he killed those people for no reason other than them being awful. Hiding his pain by embracing evil. Of course there’s also the fact that, it hurts when he laughs and likely cannot control it.

I discussed that in the last post, but it’s based on a real condition: Pseudobulbar Affect.

The Criminal’s age makes it, so he cries almost every time. But from what he asked Jason, and the Comedian in Doomsday Clock, I’m betting all the Jokers have this trait to varying effect.

Finally, before moving on, one of the most important things to take note, is that the book spent a lot of time blurring the line between Jokers and victims.

r/DCcomics - Batman: Three Jokers – After-issue Post 3 – Final Breakdown and Theories - (SPOILERS)

Jokers and Victims

The jokerized Red Hood/Comedian lookalaike at the beginning of the story, the horde of Jokers at the pool, and of course, Jason himself. Being the Joker in this story seems to be about taking your pain and trauma, then inflicting that onto others. Which is again, the exact opposite of Batman, which all about taking that pain, using it to do good and making sure no one else has to face it alone.

In the end, can the Comedian be redeemed?

Maybe. Maybe not. But if even Joe Chill can, maybe one day the Joker can too. Or not

This again reminds me of Telltale Joker (voiced by Anthony Ingruber). One path lets him become a vigilante modeling himself after Batman, but in the end, he just couldn’t change his fate even with Bruce’s help, and he will become a villain anyway unless you offer your friendship to him.

r/DCcomics - Batman: Three Jokers – After-issue Post 3 – Final Breakdown and Theories - (SPOILERS)

“I really wanted to be a hero you know. But…I-I just can’t!”

I honestly did think we could’ve gotten a redemption for the Joker. I even had a theory (never published) about how Bruce’s new yellow oval having a flashlight as a reference to the titular Killing Joke and him not turning it off. But since this book does want to be canon somehow, it’s stuck from fixing that status quo even if they wanted to.

In the meantime, we have White Knight by Sean Gordon Murphy for those who want it.

VI. Who is the “Real”/Original Joker?

This is definitely something the book, and the Comedian specifically, want to keep ambiguous. But just to theorize, let’s list down the points for and against them.

Case for the Criminal

  1. He states to Jason that he was the first Joker, and that he ran Gotham before Batman.

  2. Bruce confirms he reminds him the most of their earliest confrontations. That briefing scene and the scars montage include flashbacks that clearly feature him as the first.

  3. Why would the Comedian only show up WAY later if he was the original?

  4. IRL he literally is the original Joker.

  5. He is the oldest and his laughing condition has been the worst. He wishes to retire after this.

  6. The captions place as him as number 1.

  7. He’s the only one to not claim to be the “real” Joker, as to him the Joker is an idea. Meaning he’s the only one willing to create new Jokers in the first place. The others don’t want to share the spotlight as both the Clown and Comedian claim to be the definitive Jokers.

  8. The Criminal acts like a boss and strict mentor to the Jokers, specifically the Comedian.

  9. The Comedian, from the first pages he’s introduced to the ending, is a liar.

Case for the Comedian

  1. He is the Joker who Bruce identified the past of a week after their first encounter.

  2. He “has a good eye for talent” meaning he probably did find the others.

  3. His normal-ish life before this and desire to hide it means he has the most to gain by making new Jokers. They hide his identity and teach him various skills. The Criminal can teach him marksmanship and planning. The Clown can teach him to be more creative and actually be funny. Meanwhile he was an ex-chemical engineer who worked at Ace so he has the means.

As you can see, I favor the Criminal, with three times the points as the Comedian’s 3.

However, if ever this becomes fully canon and referenced, there is a 90% chance the others will be retconned into being fake Jokers made for this story and there is an explanation for it.

BUT

What’s the THIRD option?

What if they were all born on the same night? This was hinted at in the first issue with the 3 Red Hoods jokerized. If Zero Year is recanonized, well then that explains how there can be multiple Red Hoods.

The most skilled and experienced at being the Criminal, the Criminal took the lead and taught the other two until they were ready.

The Comedian having the most normal life, made him the easiest and first choice for Bruce to deduce.

VII. Who are the Three Jokers?

How did they become to be?

Now that is a question that’s been in my mind for a long time.

Earlier this year I made several posts about the Three Jokers. Last year made several Doomsday Clock posts which was what got me known.

But before all that?

Almost two years ago now, this book was announced. I was curious.

Whenever I was waiting for a car, bus, commuting or whatever after class, after training or whatever on my way home, I didn’t have anything to do but use my phone. Except I didn’t have data and I grew out of mobile gaming. Usually I bring comics to read, but one day I decided to use that time to type down notes on who I thought the Three Jokers would be. For fun. Who knows maybe I’ll be close?

I used that to also read a lot of old classic Batman-Joker comics and even episodes of BTAS, Batman ’66, Brave and the Bold etc. A few months later, I realized how long it ended up and decided, what the heck, what if I make this an write up and post it on Reddit or something.

And so I posted this:

My Theory on the Three Jokers from DCcomics

It was really long and REALLY messy. Very outdated too.

I didn’t make anything like it again until the Doomsday Clock stuff, but this was the first. Then a few months ago I did more when the covers were released.

So, without prolonging this any longer, the Three Jokers, who they are and how they came to be:

r/DCcomics - Batman: Three Jokers – After-issue Post 3 – Final Breakdown and Theories - (SPOILERS)

The Criminal

The Criminal Joker was the original Joker. A calculating and cold criminal mastermind with a method to his madness. He challenges Batman and the police. He likes to mess with gangsters because he hates organize crime. Batman is his ultimate rival. As the oldest of the three, the pain of his laughs has grown to the extent that he cries uncontrollably when doing it. Because of this he rarely laughs and smiles now.

In the past he was a criminal who grew up on the streets of Gotham. He was a rebellious young man who injected chaos onto organized crime. He was skilled in hiding his identity and was smart enough to stay a step ahead. Bank robber, jewel thief, hitman, enforcer, con artist, gambler he’s been them all. Skilled with guns, knives, explosives, poisons and more. The world’s greatest criminal like Batman is the world’s greatest detective. Eventually he rose to the top as a mob boss. He ran Gotham before Batman came in. Due to boredom he created the Red Hood gang. He named himself the Joker after the wildcard, as he planned to rob the Monarch Playing Card company next to Ace Chemicals.

Today due to his old age, he’s the one that looks the most different from the other two and so in the decades since he’s avoided fighting Batman again out in the open. Preferring instead to mentor and boss his successors. His last known appearance was in-universe was War of Jokes and Riddles.

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The Clown

The Clown Joker is the classic Joker. A theatrical but murderous prankster-thief with a creativity and charisma that surpasses the others. He only kills when it’s funny. His plans are smart but also outrageous and non-sensical. He loves using gags and trick novelties, at times weaponizing them to be lethal. He recruited Gaggy from a circus as his sideckick but later ditched them and killed his henchmen. He made the Laughing Fish. He killed Jason Todd because it was funny, and it would get to Batman. No real other reason. He doesn’t need a big point. He’d love to have this fun forever if he could.

In the past, he was likely a clown. He might’ve ran away to the join a circus once and met Gaggy there. After that he left to stay in Gotham and tried to be a clown at children’s parties and such. It didn’t work out and he joined the Red Hood Gang as the Criminal’s right hand man. But really he’s the one whose origin we have no clear knowledge on other than his title.

Today he’s the substitute Joker who does the smaller acts for fun and to throw Batman off their trail.

r/DCcomics - Batman: Three Jokers – After-issue Post 3 – Final Breakdown and Theories - (SPOILERS)

The Comedian

The Comedian Joker is the modern Joker. The one with the most meaning. He believes life is a joke. He’s the most sadistic and crazy Joker. His ability to evolve and change himself is due to his Super-Sanity. He thinks outside the box all the time, even as Batman tries to make a new one around him. He is the most unpredictable and dangerous. His obsession with Batman is the strongest, yet unlike the others it’s ironically not the only thing he wants. Unfortunately, he can never have the other thing, and that’s why he’s the most hateful. Love and Hate are almost the same to him.

In the past, he was a former chemical engineer at Ace chemicals who gave up his job to achieve his dream to be a comedian. It didn’t work out. He was a poor desperate man with a pregnant wife he loved and wanted to provide for but vented his anger on due to stress. He turned to the Criminal and Clown who made him a decoy Red Hood in their gang. Before their heist, his wife left him and faked her death, which broke the man. He didn’t want to do it anymore, but he had no choice.

Today, he’s the main and only Joker left. He’s learned enough from the other two. He surpassed them in intelligence and insanity.

How they look similar?

I believe they are brothers who were separated, not at birth but early in life, taking different paths but ending up in the same place. The Criminal being the eldest at 10 years older than the youngest but looking much older due to his lifestyle pre-Joker. The Clown and the Comedian are possibly twins. That’s how the Comedian found a job with criminals so fast. That’s how they were so familiar with each other. That’s how they (somewhat) trusted each other as Jokers. That’s how Jeannie became horrified and left him. She also likely informed the police of their heist which is how security increased and Batman got there. Which is also likely how Bruce discovered the Comedian so easily. His wife was the one who tipped him and the police off.

But if ever the other two are retconned as fake later, they could always either use:

  • Cadmus Tech cloning (the Joker apparently used this in ROTJ according to Terry in Epilogue)

  • Multiverse/Metaverse side effect after the constant reboots and anti-reboots making them all matter (cough Doomsday Clock cough Death Metal cough Generations Shattered and Forged cough Prime Time Punch)

  • Facial surgery done on the other two

Why should there even be 3 Jokers in the first place? Super-Sanity is better.

Super-Sanity isn’t mutually exclusive IMO. At least 1 of them has one with the Comedian being Morrison and Snyder’s Joker, but considering how the Clown also changed to be more lethal I’d say he too has it.

What this adds is the ability to give ambiguity to the other two Jokers while giving one a defined origin. You see Alan Moore believed the Joker wasn’t a very good character. I believe it’s partly because he couldn’t have a real origin. TKJ didn’t invent the trope of a mysterious origin for him. That appeared in Dennis O’Neil’s Joker run and Brian Bolland himself says he didn’t originally plan on making an origin for him when he pitched the book. That was Moore’s decision and the main point of TKJ hinges on it being at least generally true. So no gangster Joker who was always evil.

With one Joker having a defined origin, we have a deeper understanding of his character and motivations while still having mystery on the others. With Super-Sanity, the Joker can have an infinite amount of personalities, motivations and fake origins but since we can never know which is real, they might as well all false. Which is what the psychiatrist concluded in Serious House on Serious Earth. “He has no real personality”.

VIII. Who is the Best Joker? Who is my favorite?

Now if we’re going by who’s the most in depth character and best villain, then the Comedian is it. His origin gives meaning and depth to his character and motivations while making him a parallel to Bruce. His rant on the other two sums it up pretty well. He doesn’t want to give the Joker the identity like the Criminal or Tim Burton did. He was more than the Clown.

BUT

He’s not my favorite or best Joker.

u/mojothemobile said it best on a thread I saw earlier. The best Joker is the one you can laugh at as much as be scared off. A hilarious Joker that can make such vile acts seem funny. The kind of the Joker who would try and copyright fish infected by Joker venom, kill people with deadly pranks, make a Christmas special, stalk some guy who cursed at him on the road, attack Gotham with an army of bane-like Titan monsters, pull a fake Joker ga-

“Wait a minute, are you just describing Mark Hamill’s Joker?”

Yup. He had Criminal elements in Mask of the Phantasm, was the Comedian in the Killing Joke movie and maybe Return of the Joker, but in pretty much everything else (BTAS, TNBA, JL, JLU, JL action, Arkham Asylum, City and Knight (Troy Baker was more Comedian in Origins)), the definitive Joker voice played the Clown archetype.

Brave and the Bold and Batman ’66 adapted this Joker well.

Nothing beats the classics. But I understand it’s up to preference.

IX. BONUS ROUND

Did I have any disappointments with the book

Sure. Like I said I almost expected Bruce to try and rehabilitate the Joker again. I did wish we had more closure with Jason and Barabra.

On how little they reveal on the 3 themselves, IMO they gave enough for me to make this so I’m grateful lol but it’s probably necessary to keep ambiguity for it to be canon.

Otherwise a great book for me overall. Is it on the same level as Long Halloween or even Killing Joke?! Maybe not. But I’d personally put this equal to or greater to Hush which has similar strengths and weaknesses. Though not sure where I’d put it compared to DOTF and Endgame, but IMO this is above Joker War for me.

Before moving on, I’d like to add a random bit. The panel in the police car with the light shining on the Joker declaring he’ll be Batman’s pain until they die, absolutely great art. I think this was what Jason Fabok talked about when he said Brad Anderson homage the original colors of TKJ by John Higgins.

What about Jason and Barbara?

Jason, I think had the second most important part just below Batman. His arc is about realizing how close he is to becoming the Joker, and maybe realizing that he might need to find a new identity, which Bruce offers to him. But of course that can’t happen here or they can’t really be in continuity fully.

Barbara doesn’t get to do much but she does act as the heart of the trio who understands both and wants them to reconcile (but. She initially wanted to bring Jason in, but seeing him vulnerable as he was made her understand him more. In turn Jason seeing how she became this way inspires him to be better.

“Don’t tell me you’re a Jaybabs shipper Earthmine!”

Relax I’m not calling for that at all. I’m not really into shipping period and I do think the book could improve without it. But their relationship and parallels are important in this story and I think it was well done.

By the way, I like the idea of Jim knowing Barbara and Barbara knowing he knows.

What about Harley?

Harley in continuity appeared during No Man’s Land. That plus the Comedian wishing he still had Jeannie, means he likely filled that void with Harley, only to be abusive to her. She reminds him too much of Jeannie. Punchline doesn’t though.

I would like to share a theory I’ve had a long time now. In Case Study, it’s reveled that it was Harleen who made the report, concluding the Joker is sane, should be retried and executed. She changed her mind about it after meeting the Joker herself. She discovered the past of the Criminal, but by then he was semi-retired. If the Criminal found out he probably had the Comedian change her mind. The Clown of course likely avoids her since he hasn’t had a sidekick since Gaggy.

So she only worked with, and maybe met, 1 Joker.

Will it Canon?

please don’t sue me Watchtower Database, big fan

So, after all’s said and done, is this canon?

Well it can be. I’d say, in the past of the next new timeline which restores more Pre-New 52 (including Pre-Crisis) history.

I understand reception of this is more mixed than Doomsday Clock (which wasn’t universally loved either) and not everyone, maybe most people, aren’t sold with their being 3 Jokers.

But they can easily retcon that premise out for the other things or once again give multiversal, excuses. There really is a lot of potential to deal with all of this.

Detective Comics #1000: The Last Crime in Gotham

The son of the Joker.

Gee that sounds familiar. Maybe Geoff Johns already used this concept before?

He did! In his short story in ‘Tec 1000. There are plenty of themes of family in this. The Joker died due to the chemicals that created him and somehow his son became just like the father and died too. His last act was a gift to Batman and Gotham. He left a note, emphasizing the importance of family.

Besides that, this possible future includes Barabra and (a) Jason being married and Bruce and Selina having a daughter. Though at the end it’s implied to just be a wish by Bruce.

I recommend reading this after Three Jokers. It serves as a good extra epilogue IMO.

Post-Script

Well that’s it.

This was a great series for me and I’m glad to be able to do this.

Thank you so much for giving your time reading these and special thanks to the following users I’ve had discussions about this. Whether in Reddit threads, DMs, Disqus, Twitter and more. Whether short or long they’ve helped me a lot in making this, either by giving me more ideas or motivating me to keep doing this crazy thing. Thanks also to those who appreciated these so much they used their had earned coins for rewards. I’m really glad these aren’t just for nothing, thank you.

All of these include (but definitely aren’t limited to):

u/Hmz_786, u/WarWolf343, u/HelloGoodbyeOhGawd, u/xXRambo-ApocalypsexX, u/ScottishRyzo-98, Joe57039631 from Twitter, u/Tough-Part, u/Badbatmanman, u/mrwiyagi, u/NewsYouDontNeed, u/Ricky_Ticky_Tangy, u/Ozymandias2019 and many more I probably missed looking through my history, my sincerest apologies in that case.

Thanks to you all.

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