DC Comics Reveals A New Origin Story For The Joker


One of the most intriguing elements of the Joker‘s character is his complex backstory and multiple origins. While we’ve had efforts to tie the villain into Bruce Wayne’s origin story, courtesy of Tim Burton’s Batman, most tales have provided deliberately conflicting accounts, further adding to the character’s mystery. More recently, both the Christopher Nolan Batman series and Joker have muddied where the character came from and who the ‘real’ Joker is. The latest issue of DC’s Batman title has, however, revealed what appears to be a new origin story for the villain that sheds fresh light on him.

Issue #90 of Batman stepped up a plot whereby many of the Dark Knight’s adversaries, including Catwoman, have known of a secret plan to commit a ‘perfect’ crime and take over Gotham City. It’s Catwoman who explains the truth to Bruce, and the role played by the Designer, a villain that’s been pulling strings in Gotham from behind-the-scenes. The Designer apparently called Selina Kyle, Penguin, Riddler and Joker to a secret meeting, where he offers them a chance to advance their burgeoning criminal careers with a master plan to take down Batman.

However, it seems that the Joker’s time with the Designer led him to a breakthrough that transformed him from a flamboyant criminal to the figure that would become Batman’s greatest enemy. While the exact nature of his long-term plan isn’t shown, Catwoman’s story is enough to emphasize that the Joker moved to a new level of evil, with consequences for the future of Gotham. It now appears that this is a build-up to the “Joker War” arc in DC Comics, which includes the Clown Prince of Crime’s new love interest, Punchline.

As ScreenRant explains it:

While it’s unknown exactly what takes place in the room between Joker and The Designer, Catwoman is confident enough to offer her best guess to Bruce (and the readers). All that’s known for sure is that once The Designer helped Joker evolve his thinking to a grand enough level, he bursts from the room with one command to his men: “Kill them all!”

According to Joker’s eventual explanation, he simply told The Designer a joke he didn’t find funny. Thus ended the story of the masked mastermind, as the rogues all saw their plans turn to dust without his money to make them possible. But as Penguin and Riddler destroyed the evidence of their meeting, Catwoman only had eyes for Joker. Not the one who had entered the room a criminal like the rest of them (even if he was far crazier). But a new man, with eyes locked on Gotham City, and the Bat-Signal in its skies. In short, the Joker who would eventually become the Batman family’s worst nightmare.

While the events of Batman #90, put together by recently appointed series author James Tynion IV, don’t explain exactly how someone actually became Mr. J, they do tell us how the character evolved into being a cut above other members of the Dark Knight’s rogues gallery. And given what we know now, we’re certainly looking forward to how Tynion extends this take on the Joker and his relationship with Batman, adding to what continues to be a diverse set of representations of the villain on the page and screen.