Batman/Superman has been barreling toward a conclusion to the current arc for weeks now. Issue # 4 finally gives fans a look at the vaunted lineup of the “new” Secret Six. Readers had already met the Batman Who Laughs’ other allies in Shazam and Blue Beetle in previous issues. Now, they’re about to get a lot more than they bargained for in the pages of Batman/Superman #4. The stage is set for the sinister foil to Batman’s evil plot and he’s got more than enough firepower to make things difficult for the duo as they try to limit the already impressive damage that the villain has already sewn across their universe. The entire plot of this story has been mounting for exactly this moment as the villain finally explains what his motivations for all this upheaval are, besides just delighting in destruction in general. *Spoilers for Batman/Superman #4 are to follow.*
So, the Batman Who Laughs has successfully turned Donna Troy, Jim Gordon, Shazam, Hackman, Supergirl, and Blue Beetle to his side. The villain has played on their one common flaw in an effort to help get bat the dark batarangs that the duo took off the evildoer from another dimension. All of these characters have some form of guilt or feel like they’ve been disrespected by the higher rungs of authority in the DC universe. From Gordon feeling inadequate around Batman, to three young heroes feeling unheard and despairing in Donna, Shazam, and Blue Beetle. It’s been a long fall from grace, and that was before the Batman Who Laughs got his hands on Supergirl. Here’s hoping Batman and Superman have a plan for what’s next because they’re going to need one.
“We discover, through the Batman Who Laughs series that the Batman Who Laughs has been working on this massive plan since [Dark Nights: Metal],” Williams told The Hollywood Reporter, referring to the DC Comics’ popular event series. “What it is is, he has sleeper agents throughout the [DC Universe]. They’ve been infected, and they’re slowly turning into the worst versions of themselves. Some of them know they're changing, some don't. Some aren't aware it's kind of like a Jekyll and Hyde situation where they're not aware of [what] the other side is doing.
“This is happening to six people — we’ve been calling them the new Secret Six — who have been turned. But who could be turned? Who are they? [Batman and Superman] have to go out and figure it out. But that means spying on other heroes, friends, allies. We talked about the end of The Thing, where it’s the two of them and they’re like, ‘It could be you, it could be me, but now we have to work together.’”
That mystery surrounding the Secret Six has proved to be a core part of this book, and that is something Williamson hinted at early on. “It becomes this mystery across not just this book but really the line,” Williamson said. “It's a thing where it's not just going to be focused on this one book; it starts here, but you're going to get a situation where, if you are reading the line, you might start piecing some stuff together before like bigger reveals happen. You might be like, 'Oh this weird thing's happening over here, I wonder if that's connected to the story here,' and that's cause, yeah. It is.”