DC Reveals A Twisted New Generation of Villains is Coming

DC Comics' rogues gallery is one of the most famous in the entire comic book genre, as foes like The Joker, The Penguin, Lex Luthor, Deathstroke, and even The Riddler have all become big mainstream figures, thanks to DC films and TV series. However, DC Comics is now setting the stage for an entire new generation of villains to potentially keep the Batman and co. busy for years to come - and these new foes come with a terrifying twist! The new Joker series by James Tynion IV has taken Jim Gordon on a globetrotting manhunt to kill The Joker once and for all - but now he and Joker have stumbled into a much bigger conspiracy that's been brewing in the DC underworld! 

(WARNING: SPOILERS For Joker #9 Follow!) 

In Joker Chapter Fifteen: "The Monster Maker", Gordon and the new female Bane, Vengeance, track Joker to the island of Majorca. It's there that they find the mad clown with one Dr. Friedrich Baum, whose mansion home Joker has wired to explode. Baum demonstrates his power and authority pretty concisely when he makes Vengeance fall unconscious by simply speaking a three-word sequence. 

Joker's whole "gag" is getting Gordon, himself, and Dr. Baum alone in order for Gordon to have to learn the mad scientist's truth. Tynion's Joker series has introduced "The Network," a clandestine cabal of wealthy/powerful people who can provide services to criminals and supervillans, such as hiding them away in luxurious remote mansions, in between capers. However, Dr. Baum's role in The Network is the stuff of true nightmare fuel...

The mad doctor's monologue to Joker and Gordon reveals that he is a geneticist who was originally paid to grow cloned body doubles for underworld criminals looking to fake their own deaths and/or take on new identities. However, Baum's work was so good that the wealthy elite began to find more uses for his... talents, such as growing human meat for consumption by rich people bored with conventional menus. Baum's point is simple: his inclusion in The Network puts him above the law, at the service of people with unthinkable whims. One of those whims is going to turn Batman's world upside down, because Gordon learns that someone has been paying the doctor to clone The Caped Crusaders enemies! 

That horror reveal comes when Baum shows Gordon and Joker vats of failed Joker clones - all living, laughing, deformed nightmares. Baum confirms his mysterious client ordered the Joker clones - and that Vengeance is a Bane clone he designed. All of this is revealed to be headed to one end purpose: creating a new market of custom-made and controllable supervillains, with Batman and Gotham City as the targeted testing ground for this new product line: 

"Think of it this way," Baum tells Gordon. "You have the honor of being killed by the first in a generation of new designer villains, before they've even had a chance to hit the open market." 

(Photo: DC Comics)

Obviously, Joker won't just sit back and let his trademark be co-opted in such a grotesque way. That said, no matter how this story arc turns out, Dr. Baum and The Network are now potentially seeded as means for DC to turn out new variations on old villain concepts, through this cloning process. Could be fun, could be a hard miss, depending on the character. Comic fans can get pretty triggered when the subject of clones comes up... 

DC's Joker series is now on sale.