Detective Comics published the first story of "The Bat-Man" in May of 1939, written by Bill Finger and illustrated by Bob Kane. In the years since then, Batman has become one of DC's premier superheroes; along with Superman and Wonder Woman, Batman comprises a vital part of DC's Trinity. And in the decades that have followed his debut, the Caped Crusader has been influenced by a slew of great artists and writers; each having a unique interpretation of the character and a good number leaving a lasting impression on the Dark Knight and his world. Yet being published in at least one, then two, book(s) continuously for 70 years presents two problems: (1) how to keep the character of Batman interesting and (2) how to keep the character from becoming too esoteric as time goes on. Batman, like most of the DCU, had at least two attempts to reconcile this, by first separating the Golden Age Batman from the Silver Age Batman and then later by partially rebooting Batman's history with the Crisis Crossovers of Crisis on Infinite Earths and Zero Hour.In the wake of Infinite Crisis, Batman's history was rebooted yet again. But as the readers would soon discover, this reboot would not remove anything from Batman's past this time around; in fact the exact opposite occurred.After the end of Batman's "One Year Later" story, noted writer Grant Morrison became the head writer for the eponymous "Batman" monthly magazine. As Morrison's run went on, fans soon discovered that all of the previously removed portions of Batman's history had been restored to full Canon status in some way or another. ALL OF IT. (Even the bits that contradict the other bits!)Morrison has stated that he intends his work to be part of a series, with "four [collected] volumes and, if the cards are right, a fifth volume, a final volume": The work he has done so far includes the following:
Batman and Son (After putting most of Gotham's super-criminals away, Batman is introduced to his and Talia's son, Damian al Ghul-Wayne. After looking out for the boy, Batman is forced to fight Talia in a fight which ends with Talia and Damian's temporary disappearance.)
The Three Ghosts of Batman (A former cop in a Batman costume had shot The Joker and then died. Another "Bat-Cop" is killing prostitutes while taking Venom and Monster Serum. And the threat of another looms in the immediate future. Batman realizes the possibility he may be a target for an unseen foe, which holds ties to the GCPD and possibly Batman's own past.)
The Third Man has been activated and has returned to attack Gotham PD. The truth behind the "replacement Batman" comes to light as Batman is being held captive by "Bat-Devil". But what other secrets are held by the mysterious doctor behind the program? And what is his connection to the Dark Knight...?
The Black Glove (A reunion of the International Club of Heroes goes horribly wrong as the "Batmen of All Nations" realize they have been targeted by a person or organization calling itself "The Black Glove". After escaping with his surviving comrades, Batman realizes the threat of the Black Glove is far from finished.)
Batman R.I.P. (A Bat Family Crossover in several "parts". The main story involves the full assault of the Black Glove against Batman. After trying to destroy Batman's mind, a long forgotten contingency plan comes into play. And no, the R.I.P. was supposed to have been the goal, not what actually happens. Yet.)
Last Rites ("The Butler Did It" and "What the Butler Saw") (Part R.I.P. epilogue, part Final Crisis tie-in, Batman is experimented on by evil New God scientists in order to create elite soldiers for Darkseid. Upon fully realizing where he is and what had happened to him, Batman escapes by turning his own memories into weapons.)
The Missing Chapters (A two part story detailed in Batman #701-702, that helps better fill in the mysteries of Bruce Wayne's journey from the end of R.I.P. to the start of "The Return of Bruce Wayne". 701 deals with the immediate aftermath of R.I.P. as Bruce drags himself from the helicopter crash in the Gotham River and details his recovery, having to deal with a revelation that Hurt had found the Hidden Room of Wayne Manor and his being alerted of his "final case". 702 deals with Bruce during the events of Final Crisis in better detail, with the revelation that after being hit by the Omega Sanction, Darkseid released his Omega Adaptor to twist time to push Bruce into becoming a living bomb of Omega energies to destroy everyone in the event of Darkseid's defeat.)
Batman and Robin (In the aftermath of Battle for the Cowl [which Morrison did not write], Dick Grayson assumes the mantle of Batman with Damian Wayne acting as Robin. So far, the story deals with the emergence of new foe Professor Pyg and the return of the infamous Red Hood who turns out to be none other than Jason Todd...)
As Dick and Damian continue to act as Batman and Robin, strange mysteries concerning Bruce's ancestors and Wayne Manor begin to come to light. With the discovery that the Batman corpse recovered at the end of Final Crisis was only one of Darkseid's failed clones, it appears that there was more to Bruce's death then what was originally thought...
Batman #700 (In the landmark 700th issue of the Batman monthly title, we visit upon a long tale whose origins start in the Silver Age. Professor Carter Nichols once developed a form of Mental Time Travel long ago and subjugated Batman and Robin to it while under pressure from a villain team-up led by the Joker. Years later, the former-Robin and current Batman Dick Grayson, along with the current Robin Damian, discover the murdered body of an inexplicably older Nichols. And in a possible future, Damian, under the guise of Batman, winds up in a case with strange ties to the past. The link between Nichols and the mythical Joker Jokebook is explored in a tale that spans three generations of Batmen... and a possible view of what is beyond...)
The final struggle of the remains of the Black Glove have come to destroy Gotham City in an insidious plan as Dr. Hurt makes his return as the mastermind behind the Pyg and Flamingo. Meanwhile, two familiar faces return to Gotham to save it from this final assault: Bruce Wayne, in full Batman uniform, to stop Hurt, who's real name is Thomas Wayne, the colonial ancestor of Bruce who sold his soul to Barbatos, who was truly Darkseid's Hyper-Adapter in disguise and Oberon Sexton who is the Joker, wanting to end the Black Glove once and for all...
Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne (Many have faced Darkseid's Omega powers, but very few have ever survived to tell the tale. Starting from his exile in the Stone Age, Bruce Wayne begins his journey to return back home to his own time while facing one of his greatest obstacles: History itself.)
Batman: The Return (With Bruce Wayne back and stepping back into the cape-and-cowl, he attempts to begin the shift of the Bat-Family into Batman, Inc. However, information that Bruce seems to have picked up during his stay at Vanishing Point appears to have alerted him to a vast criminal organization in the midst of creating artificial metahumans and it seems that Batman has overcome one vast ordeal just to meet another... The birth of Batman, Inc. starts out knowing the name of its new enemy, "Leviathan"...)
Batman Inc. (Batman as a megaglobal franchise. A new series inspired by Batman The Brave And The Bold and Peter Sellers' The Magic Christian that sees Batman taking his brand of justice global with new heroes and allies in various parts of the world. Batman & his new heroes find themselves ensared in an web larger than they had planned as the true leader of Leviathan reveals their true identity for a true war against Batman & his allies: Talia al-Ghul.) The series was intially a part of the first wave of relaunches in the New 52, but was picked up and resumes the story.
All There in the Manual: The Black Casebook, a collection of stories which Morrison used to build his Myth Arc. While not necessary to understand the events on what is going on per se, it can provide the proper context to the backstory of what Morrison is writing.
Arch-Enemy: As the leader of the Leviathan Organization, Talia is hoping to, through high grade enough evil, become Bruce's. Damian's death puts the individual as high in the running, alongside the Heretic.
Awesome Yet Practical: Due to living on a reservation rather than in a city, Man-of-Bats has no rogues' gallery, and is pretty much a "real world superhero" and community activist... up until Leviathan decides to make an example of him, whereupon he gives them rather a lot of trouble, and then the people he protects kick the gang's asses.
Badass Longcoat: If Damian ever becomes Batman as he was portrayed in 666 and 700, he will forego the cape in favor of one of these.
Played straight much later on, with a radical new set of clothes.
Batman Gambit: Of course. There are a few, but the one from Return of Bruce Wayne stands out. Essentially everything after Bruce says "Trust me" to Superman in the second chapter and has his memory wiped is a scheme to confuse Darkseid's Omega Adaptor into fixating on the wrong entity (one of the archivists from Vanishing Point who impersonates Bruce) so it can be brought back to the 21st century to be separated from him and dealt with by the Justice League. It's a Batman Gambit as Bruce has no idea how the JLA will deal with the adaptor, he just knows that they'll figure it out somehow.
Because I'm Jonesy: In the third issue of the Return of Bruce Wayne miniseries, a time-displaced character washes up on a beach in 1718, and is taken for the notorious masked pirate whose ship has just been sunk. One of the characters gathered around narrates:
As for the stranger, of him I knew one sure thing only. He could not possibly be the Black Pirate.
Body Horror: The Dollotrons. First you get a mask that bonds irrevocably to your skin. Then, Pyg does... something to you (implied to be a form of lobotomy/genital mutilation), leaving you looking and acting like a melted Kewpie doll. And Pyg thinks this is an improvement.
Break the Haughty: Jason believed that his lethal brand of vigilante justice brought results and made him better than less ruthless crimefighters. Cue Flamingo.
Brick Joke: Odd, reverse example - Dick occassionally complains how difficult crime fighting with a cape is. Guess what article of the original Batsuit Damian didn't include in the previously published 666th Batman issue?
Call Back: The intro sequence of B&R #16 is one to Peter Milligan's Dark Knight, Dark City story.
Although Superman was not exactly at his brightest during Bruce's absence and completely failed to consider that the Goddamn Batman might know what he was doing. Even after Bruce said "Trust me", Superman's reaction was to try to smash the time sphere being constructed around him and the other heroes.
Not to mention the rest of the Club of Villains. They seriously have it down to an art.
Cerebus Retcon: Applied to the Silver Age stories. Although they are brought back from Canon Discontinuity status, they are done so in a darker light as they are associated with drug influence or resulting from Batman's containment experiment. Many scenes from the Silver Age comics are redone in darker and creepier ways (particularly the "Robin Dies at Dawn!" and the altered version of the Joe Chill story).
Character Development: Damian Wayne, who goes from being a whiny snot to a boy doing his best to live up to his father's legacy.
Chekhov's Gun: Pretty much everything in his run, no matter how strange, comes into play/is tied together during or after R.I.P., among the most significant being the "Zur-En-Arrh" graffiti and the Bat-Radia. The Silver Age stories also could count as Chekhovs Guns that come into play when he brings them up.
Batman and Robin #15-16. Keep an eye on the Joker's banana peel.
Doing It for the Art: To hear El Sombrero say it, this is the appeal behind creating complicated deathtraps - the potential for aesthetic appreciation. Plus the fact that compared to most criminals' brilliant plans of "shoot the guy, go to a strip club, do cocaine", they often are works of art.
Don't You Dare Pity Me!: The reason Hurt wants to destroy Thomas and Martha Wayne's legacies - they dared to try to help him.
Driven to Suicide: In Batman 673, this seems to be established as Joe Chill's latest canon fate; after stalking/tormenting Chill, Batman finally reveals his identity and then gives the depressed Chill the same handgun that he had used to kill Bruce's parents. The next page shows Batman stoically staring on with two gunshots being fired. Also, winds up being Professor Carter Nichols' fate in Batman 700.
Entertainingly Wrong: Batman concludes that the Joker's playing card suits were a reference to the red and black poisoned flower petals used against Batman during the climax. They weren't. The Joker was addressing Batman's skill at solving these kinds of things by providing a riddle with no answer. The Joker's crazy, you can't expect him to be honest all the time.
St Hadrian's Finishing School For Girls, which is designed to turn girls into this. It's... kind of creepy, to be honest.
Flying Car: Foreshadowed in one panel of Batman and Son when Damian pulls the tarp off an unfinished chassis; Used in Batman and Robin as Dick and Damian's main vehicle; and, based on interior art from the Batman Incorporated reboot, remains the main vehicle for the Dynamic Duo.
Foreshadowing: Especially with the Joker prose story, "The Clown at Midnight".
Also in Batman 666, which introduced Professor Pyg long before his present-day debut in Batman: Reborn.
Damian's description of Oberon Sexton: There's something funny about him.
Cassandra Cain's cameo in Fabian Nicieza's Red Robin #17 heavily foreshadowed her eventual involvement in Batman Inc., where Morrison made her into the Batman of Hong Kong in issue #6.
Hijacked by Ganon: Doctor Hurt and Doctor Dedalus have both claimed credit for Professor Pyg's current status as a mad scientist villain
Hoist by His Own Petard: Deathstroke, though to be fair, it wasn't technically his Petard. He still got his ass kicked though.
Hollywood Psych: Lobotomies are a (now thoroughly disfavored) treatment for psychosis. A lobotomy will not turn a law-abiding family man into a cannibalistic assassin. That's actually just about the opposite of what it would do.
I Coulda Been A Contender: Played straight and subverted with the different members of the Batmen of All Nations; the team-up that could have propelled them to international repute ended up sputtering out after only two meetings. The members ended up reacting quite differently, running the spectrum of this trope; some, like El Gaucho and Man Of Bats, ended up thriving and being quite content operating within their local spheres of influence rather than as an international JLA-style powerhouse (and Man Of Bats actually prefers being a defender of the little guy). On the flip side of the coin, we have Wingman, who for all his over-compensating clearly suffers from this trope worst of all. It's what prompts his Face Heel Turn.
Injun Country: The stomping grounds of Man-Of-Bats and Raven Red, described by the latter as "America's own third world."
It's a Wonderful Plot: In "Last Rites", Bruce hallucinates a reality where his parents never died, and he grows up to be a bumbling mama's boy.
Karma Houdini: Doctor Hurt and the Black Glove are convinced that they're this, having enough power and influence to blackmail, bribe and threaten their way out of any possible punishment for their deeds. They didn't count on Batman, the Joker and Thalia Al Ghul, however.
Jezebel Jet: There's nothing you can do, Bruce — no court on the planet we can't buy, no judge or jury beyond threatening or bribing. There's you rich, down here. [Gestures] And then there's Black Glove rich. Oh! I'm just not tall enough.
Kick the Dog: The villain of the week in Batman, Inc. #7 is introduced in the act of literally kicking his dog.
Meaningful Name: Oberon Sexton, "The Gravedigger." Not only are Shakespearean Gravediggers also referred to as "Clowns", as mentioned below, but Oberon's the King of the Fairies, or, alternately, King of the Fey. Fey-king = Faking. It's a joke, kids!
Mythology Gag: Lord Death Man, a villain from Japan in Batman, Inc., is based on a baddie faced by Bats in an obscure mid-60s Batman manga. At the end of the second issue, after Jiro has become Batman Japan, we also see Professor Gorilla, another one of the original villains from the manga.
Also, there are numerous references to the famous scene of Batman Year One where Bruce decides on whether or not to call Alfred for help when the bat crashes in the window, implying that was the moment that man became legend. The tale of Barbatos and Hurt originated from the "Dark Knight, Dark City" arc in the Batman monthly.
The Batcave West features mementos from past adventures of the Outsiders, including Black Lightning's afro mask and the costume of Dad from the Nuclear Family. There's also a giant penny with Simon Stagg's face on it, a gag on Joe Coyne's giant penny in the original Batcave.
Mutants also make an appearance in Batman Incorporated #1, indecipherable slang and all.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Jason's violent and lethal methods of crime fighting causes the crime lord El Penitente to send up Flamingo, a nigh-unstoppable assassin who is known to eat human faces. For once, Jason is brutally beaten for his actions, and is arrested for murder and effectively bringing the gaudy lunatic to Gotham.
Out of Focus: His run excludes a portion of Batman's supporting cast (particularly Oracle, Huntress, the police other than Gordon) as well as most of his rogues gallery (with the main exceptions being The Joker and Talia, as well as brief appearances by Harley and Langstrom) in favor of new characters as well as the characters being brought back from obscurity. Although on the flipside, most of the characters he ignores are covered in Paul Dini's Bat-books.
There is a reason for that: most of Batman's enemies are (currently) either in Arkham or prison.
Subverted in Batman Inc., where most of the characters Morrison was accused of excluding have appeared. Oracle, Batgirl, Cassandra Cain, and Red Robin have all shown up in some capacity so far.
Then played straight again - Batwoman, Oracle and Batgirl are all absent from the New 52's version of Batman Incorporated, though with the latter two it's kinda understandable.
Pet the Dog: The first thing we see Damian do as Batman in the Bad Future? Save a little girl from one of Professor Pyg's acid-spewing dollotrons.
Pocket Protector: In Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne, an amnesiac Bruce Wayne wakes up in hospital; his life apparently having been saved from a bullet by Mordecai Wayne's journal he was carrying in his pocket.
Pure Is Not Good: The drug lord El Penitente goes through severe scourging to absolve himself of sin, cleansing his soul to pointedly free him to commit further atrocities. Probably subverted when it turns out it's just another alias of Simon Hurt.
Red Herring: Averted. During R.I.P., the "Bat-Radia" which the Batman of Zur-En-Arrh had turned out to have been more important than anyone thought. Previously in the arc, it was just thought as being another call back to the Silver Age.
The Reveal: You know what Gravediggers are also referred to in Shakespearean literature? Clowns. Now what is old Oberon's real name again?
After the Black Glove's escape from Arkham, it had been revealed that almost all of the core members were murdered over the course of several months. At first, we are lead to believe that it was due to the League of Assassins. As it turns out, not only was the League not responsible, all the murders had a striking similarity to them: they were murdered in such a way that only the Joker would find them funny.
Doctor Hurt is a result of Darkseid's fall through space and time prior to Final Crisis.
More specifically, Doctor Hurt was "Thomas Wayne", an 18th century ancestor of Bruce Wayne's who worshipped a Bat Devil known as "Barbatos". However, "Barbatos" turned out to be Darkseid's Omega Adaptor, which turned Thomas immortal and insane (moreso). Bruce's parents tried to help Hurt by putting him in Willowood Asylum (a reference to an old Silver Age story where Bruce has a brother, Thomas Wayne Jr, who went insane and had to be put in an asylum), but he didn't want their pity, so (after they were dead) Hurt arranged to tarnish their names and summon "Barbatos" again using a secret box that's said to bring about the end of the world when opened. What's inside the box, though? A batarang and a note that says "Gotcha".
The Heretic, Talia'sElite Mook in Batman Incorporated, is a clone of Damian birthed inside of a whale.
Revival Loophole: Used in the final issue of The Return of Bruce Wayne — Bruce Wayne has been imbued with dangerous Omega energies that will cling to him until he dies... you can see where this is going. (That's not all there is to it, though.)
Screw This, I'm Outta Here: After a short but traumatic stint as a vigilante, Scarlet takes the Red Hood's mobile headquarters and drives the hell away from Gotham, laughing at all the pain and misfortune that befell her during her time there.
Subverted, actually, in that Red Hood told her to run.
Shoo Out the Clowns: Sort of. Batman is so embarrassed by many of his sillier adventures that he hides away all evidence of them, only saying they occurred in the Black Casebook.
Also, Bat-Mite (even though he's more creepy than comic relief in this depiction) leaves Batman before he enters Arkham for the big confrontation with Dr. Hurt.
Shout Out: A rather cruel use of the trope - Near the end of "The Revenge of the Red Hood", Jason Todd finds himself shot, unmasked, beaten and at the total mercy of a gaudily dressed psychopath. Said psycho has a LOVELLLLLLYYYYY smile by the way...
Morrison has stated that he intended to leave as many Joker shout-outs in Batman and Robin as he could without being too obvious. At the end of the Pyg arc, Batman and Gordon meet to arrest the gang and Gordon states he wishes he could burn the circus base down to the ground. That's when you realize that the base Pyg used was the Joker Circus from The Killing Joke.
Chris Simms, writer for Comics Alliance, host of War Rocket Ajax and "the world's foremost Batmanologist", makes an appearance in Batman Inc. #6 — as a rotting corpse being eaten by Gotham City seagulls. Congrats Chris!
The Swagman's armour is very clearly modelled on that of Ned Kelly.
Shrouded in Myth: One of the aspects of Batman, Inc. is bringing this facet of the Batman mythos to the fore — Batman is now everywhere. He's black, he's white, he's a woman, he can fly, he's Bruce Wayne, he was never any one person... Bruce actually spreads these rumors himself on various chatrooms and message boards.
Smug Super: Wingman and El Gaucho practically duel to see who gets to embody this trope; Wingman insists he came up with the "dark knight" persona before Batman did, while El Gaucho thinks Wingman is a scrub because he's never been mind controlled by a gorilla.
Well maybe Wingman was. What El Gaucho was trying to say was that Wingman shouldn't look down on the Knight just because he's had some problems in the past... One of which just happened to be mind-controlled by a gorilla.
Red Hood believed his was the next epoch in crime fighting. Then he got shot in the face.
Spell My Name with an S: The fandom seem torn between spelling the new Robin's name as Damian or Damien. Officially it's the former.
Take That: The Red Hood, who is laughably self-conscious about his branding as a Nineties Antihero.
A vigilante with his own website? Unmasking your enemies live over the internet? Sounds like Jason's been reading far too much Kick-Ass.
Dr. Hurt seems like a direct one at Hush. They both make themselves out to be these unstoppable forces of evil, with an astounding amount of control and money, but Dr. Hurt turns out to be every bit as pathetic as most fans see Hush as when compared to Batman.
Hurt's opinion of the Joker? That he has a KNACK for engaging foes he CANNOT defeat.
Hilariously turned on it's head when the Joker basically tells Hurt he and the Black Glove don't have a clue who they're dealing with when it comes to Batman, despite the fact the Glove have buried, straitjacketed and chained Bruce in six feet of dirt.
Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: The Hood and el Gaucho really don't like each other, due in no small part to the lasting enmity between Britain and Argentina
Tongue Trauma: The Joker cuts his tongue in half during "Batman R.I.P.", giving it a forked appearance. In fact, it's currently the trope picture.
Took a Level in Badass: The Batmen of All Nations. Most of them, though. The Knight and the Gaucho both qualify, given the Gaucho is considered an A-List superhero in Argentina and one of the most competent people at Mayhew's get-together. To drive this further home, the Gaucho saves Batman at one point, and Batman thanks him.
The Musketeer actually retired from regular crime fighting after he wrote a book about his time in an insane asylum and made millions.
The Ranger changed his name to Dark Ranger in order to keep up with the ever-changing underworld, although he points out that he did so out of necessity and doesn't come across as a typical nineties antihero. He's one of the more amicable and rational of those at the party.
The Legionary let his city fall into the hands of Charlie Caligula and has let himself go badly. Instead he spends his time regaling himself on past victories when not stuffing his face or wallowing in misery. Though he does go out heroically.
Wingman is the most pathetic of the bunch, given that he more resembles Batman now then did previously, and tells people that he thought of his crime fighting identity a year before Batman did. He also tries to assert his superiority over Batman in the others in a "casual" way.
There's also Man-Of-Bats, who seems more down to Earth than the rest and comes to believe that, while most of the group perform heroic deeds, they're just men in costumes who were inspired by another man in costume to remake themselves. In Batman, Inc #7 we see out of costume he's a doctor on a reservation in South Dakota, but also spends most of his time in costume performing work for the community. Despite the seeming troubled relationship with his son/sidekick, Raven Red, the two genuinely love each other and whatever trouble they do have isn't as bad as when first presented.
Beyond the Club of Heroes, there's also Morrison's reworking of Kathy Kane, the first Batwoman, in Batman Incorporated #4. Originally a circus stuntwoman who inherited money from a dead uncle and later becoming a token "girlfriend figure" for Batman, here, Kathy Kane (nee Web) was a stuntwoman, an underground film director, and an author before she married Nathan Kane. After he died, Kathy was approached by a representative of the spy organization called Spyral, and joined as part of an investigation into the life of Batman. Kathy legitimately fell in love with Batman and decided to quit Spyral after learning the organization was run by Otto Netz, a.k.a. Doctor Daedalus. And is possibly her birth father. It's also been implied that Kathy is still alive, but has possibly switched sides.
Really, Damian. From the start of Batman Incorporated pre-Flashpoint to the New 52's Batman Incorporated #7, he's survived a gunshot wound to the head, did a short stint as the vigilante Redbird when he knew his mother was out for his blood, managed to keep hold of three lively pets without killing them, can imitate Bruce's voice well enough to foil Wayne Manor's vocal sensors, and can hack through most of the rest of Bats' security measures to keep him in the cave. All this from a kid who, despite his training, regularly got his ass handed to him by circus villains and Red Hood. As he states at the end of #7, "There really is no stopping me."
Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Made really obvious in Batman, Inc #6, in which Batman briefs his various allies on what's going on, but all the reader gets are the bits where he says "Listen carefully, I will say this only once..." or "... and now you know as much as I do", without any of the good stuff in between. Not to mention the bit where Batman and an ally are going over a plan that relies on nobody knowing the ally's identity — including, apparently, the readers.
Verbal Tic: Bruce's "hh" carries over from Morrison's previous works, and Damian is shown to have the similar "tt".
Wham Episode: Batman #680. Along with the Face Heel Turn, Batman actually unmasks and reveals his secret identity to The Joker of all people. Joker doesn't seem to care about this and then starts indirectly addressing the audience.
Honestly, though, The Joker probably doesn't care who's under the mask or may be just crazy enough to forget about it anyway.
The Joker pretty clearly already knew - and didn't give a damn.
In Arkham Asylum (also by Grant Morrison), the Joker makes it clear he doesn't care who's under the mask when the other inmates want to see Batman's real face, stating the mask is his real face.
Batman #701-702: After resting for three days after his confrontation with Hurt in Batman R.I.P., Bruce finally ventures into the Room Full of Crazy hidden in Wayne Manor, with the names "Barbatos" and "Thomas" scribbled all over the walls.
You think Darkseid just used the Omega Sanction on Bruce? WRONG. After hitting Bruce with the Omega Sanction Darkseid pulls out the Ancestor Box which, as the box itself puts it: "It learns! It knows! It bonds! It lives to become the fate you can't escape! Omega is death that gives and gives forever. Omega ‘tailor makes’ an unbeatable ‘life trap’ just for you. It uses 'history’ to do it!”
Aside from learning about the most important elements from RIP and Doctor Hurt, Bruce's narrative from RIP came from the beginning of BTROBW.
Three consecutively in the New 52's Batman Inc.
#6 - Knight gets his neck snapped by Talia's Elite Mook The Heretic, and Batman is captured by Leviathan.
Building upon the former point there, Batman Inc. #7 reveals the Heretic is actually Damian's clone, shown at the end of Batman and Robin #12.
#8 - The Heretic brutally murders Damian on Talia's orders, although lately is revealed that she didn't order Damian's death. It was the impulse of her large, unstable Damian clone and her Leviathan goons.