The "Joker War" is nearing its big finale in Batman comics, and it seems that this much-touted "final battle" between Batman and The Joker is indeed going to be quite the DC Comics milestone! (SPOILERS) Batman #99 sees the Dark Knight rallying his forces for the big final salvo in the war for Gotham City. But while Batman is taking the much-needed step of reopening his heart to the Bat-Family after the loss of Alfred, Joker is (happily) busy making his own endgame moves. With Joker, everything is theatrics, and for his final fight with Batman, there's only one suit that Joker sees fit to wear:
The interesting thing about this big twist in "Joker War" is that Joker's Batsuit isn't just a flashy gimmick. Writer James Tynion IV's two big Batman storylines - "His Dark Design" and "Joker War" have actually had a strong thematic throughline. While villains (Joker, Designer, Punchline) and anti-heroes (Deathstroke, Clown Killer) have taken the spotlight, the actual Batman focus of the stories has been somewhat profound.
Tynion has scrutinized what Bruce Wayne has or has not accomplished for Gotham City as Batman, and what the ultimate goal is. Bruce has started to consider the idea and task of actually using his wealth and influence to build a better Gotham City - both literally and figuratively. The suit Joker wears was Lucius Fox's design for a Batman who would be a shining beacon of a much brighter and better build of Gotham City. Joker's big goal in "Joker War" has been to usurp Bruce's fortune and influence to build his own version of Gotham City. Joker's Gotham is one of savagery, chaos, and death - and he's ready to twist the knife as deep in Batman's gut as he can.
As you can see, Joker's Batsuit is the twisted perversion of the ideal that Batman hoped to rise to - another psychological "joke" to play against his old foe. If that wasn't enough, Joker also used Designer's strange power to seemingly re-animated Alfred's rotting corpse; and he has masses of Gotham residents filing into movie theaters, in order to recreate the Wayne Family murders on a mass scale. Joker's assault on Batman hasn't felt this personal since Jason Todd and/or Barbara Gordon were maimed and/or killed by the clown.
Yet, this Batman vs. Joker-Bat mirror of himself battle could clear the way for a truly new era of focus in Batman's mission, and his character. It's arguable that this battle could be seen as Batman finally confronting the dark, gritty, edgier version of his character which emerged from the Joker stories of Alan Moore, Frank Miller, and even Tim Burton's film, in the 1980s. It would be interesting to see what new foundation Tynion and DC Comics lays down over that...
Batman #99 is now on sale.