Why DC’s Multiverse is Tired of the Worst Dark Knight, Batman Who Laughs

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Justice League Incarnate # 3, for sale now from DC Comics.

Over the last 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 Dark Knight from across the Dark Multiverse. The most exciting of these dark variants was the Batman and Joker hybrid known as the Batman Who Laughs.

Although he met his last end in Dark Nights: Death Metal, a new version of Dark Multiverse Batman, Batwoman Who Laughs, has appeared. Although the original version of the character was a major threat, the various characters in DC Multiverse no longer seem to think so. They have a very different opinion about them Justice League incarnated # 3 (by Joshua Williamson, Dennis Culver, Ariel Olivetti, Nik Virella, Todd Nauck, Mikel Janín, Andrei Bressan, Hi-Fi and Tom Napolitano).

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When Batwoman Who Laughs appeared very vividly from the wreck of Justice League Incarnates House of Heroes, Darkseid’s loyal supporters, Kalibak and Grail, did not see her as a major threat to their mission. In fact, they saw her more as a nuisance than anything else. Kalibak complained that it was pretty clear she would survive. Grail on the other hand was downright annoyed at her existence and thought the multiverse had finally seen the last of Batman Who Laughs only for a Batwoman Who Laughs to take his place.

This is a humorous moment that highlights Batman Who Laughs’ place in the modern era of DC Comics. The character first appeared just a few years ago, in 2017, and yet has already become an iconic villain. After his debut in Dark Nights: Metal, he seemed to appear almost everywhere. The character’s popularity gave him his own series of 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 was first in the limited series Hell occurred (by James Tynion IV and Steve Epting) that the heroes were freed from his control. The “Infected” story had many spin-offs that also included him as a major villain, giving the character a wealth of exposure in just five years.

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Although Batman Who Laughs is still hugely popular, many believe he is now suffering from overexposure. Given how much he has done since his relatively recent debut, it is easy to recognize 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 Batman Who Laughs over them all may have done the character more harm than good.

That is what causes such a response from the characters in Justice League incarnated # 3. What should be seen as a major threat to the multiverse, a Batwoman Who Laughs, is being brushed off by everyone else as an annoyance. There is still a chance that this once fearsome character could regain their reputation, but that would most likely mean that they removed them from the limelight, at least for a short period of time.

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