DC Comics has launched its new Dark Nights: Death Metal event series - the sequel to the Dark Nights: Metal series that ran from 2017 - 2018. Death Metal of course returns one of DC's most successful villain creations to the forefront: The Batman Who Laughs. The fusion of Batman and Joker in one horrific being, Batman Who Laughs is re-introduced to DC audiences in Dark Nights: Death Metal while sporting a flashy new costume. It looks like something out of The Lord of The Rings and its fearsome Nazgul undead warriors - which is a pretty fitting fashion statement for someone like The Batman Who Laughs:
If you're not familiar, The Batman Who Laughs made his debut as part of Dark Nights: Metal. He is Bruce Wayne of Earth -22, who lived through a horrific ordeal with The Joker, which changed him forever. Batman was the hero we know and love (with his Bat-Family and Justice League allies) until Joker found out the chemicals that made him an insane clown were also killing him. Joker reacted with a scorched-Earth approach, murdering Batman's rogues with chemical attacks, and using an acid trap to brutally murder Commissioner Gordon. If that wasn't enough, Joker drugged Batman and forced him to watch the atrocity of blowing up a hospital, executing a bunch of parents and injecting their kids with Joker venom. The Joker succeeds in his one true goal: pushing Batman over the edge and finally forcing Bruce to kill his nemesis.
In Bruce's dark moment of murder he seals his fate. Joker installed a booby-trap in his heart to go off when Batman kills him: a special toxin that "infects" Bruce with a Joker psyche. The "Batman Who Laughs" was born, and quickly proceeded to murder the Bat-Family, Justice League and his world. Batman Who Laughs was such a nightmare creation of the Dark Multiverse that he became the top "Dark Knight" servant of its god, Barbatos; when Barbatos fell in Dark Nights: Metal, The Batman Who Laughs survived on Earth-Prime.
Last year's "Year of the Villain" saw The Batman Who Laughs escape Justice League prison and go up against Lex Luthor. That story ended with Batman Who Laughs being promoted to being a top lieutenant of Perpetua, the mother of the Monitor, Anti-Monitor, and creator of the Dark Multiverse's World Forge. The Batman Who Laughs secured his place by showing Perpetua a plan to defeat the Justice League for good - which is exactly the plan that's now unfolding in Dark Nights: Death Metal.
Don't get too attached to The Batman Who Laughs new costume: his current form was seemingly destroyed by Wonder Woman and her invisible "Chainsaw of Truth", with a brand new Doctor Manhattan body seemingly ready to replace it.
DC's Dark Nights: Death Metal #1 is now on sale.