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Comic Book / Batman: Endgame

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"This time, no more games... I'm just here to close up shop!"
Batman: Endgame is the fourth major story arc of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo's Batman run.

Fresh off the heels of Death of the Family, Batman's still fighting the good fight and protecting Gotham City, even as a new type of Scarecrow toxin makes him hallucinate visions of his own death. But from out of nowhere comes a fight he never expected: the Justice League, who are inexplicably out for his blood and hunting him down personally.

Who's responsible? An old enemy, crawling out of the shadows and more powerful than ever before, with a new purity of purpose. Who wants nothing else apart from Gotham destroyed once and for all and Batman dead, no matter what it takes. As Gotham tears itself apart, Batman is forced to rely on his wits, his strength, every ally he's made so far and more than a few of his demons to stop this final threat.

This is going to be the big one.


This storyline contains examples of:

  • All Just a Dream: The arc begins with Batman infected by a new strain of fear toxin, where he imagines that he and his allies 20 Minutes in the Future are making their final stand against an alien invasion.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: The Joker manages to use his Healing Factor and a small submarine propeller to infiltrate the Batcave to obtain a few of Batman's trophies and blow a hole to connect to Gotham.
  • Ambiguous Ending: The backstory at the end of Issue 39.
  • Ambiguously Human: The Joker is played up as this. Throughout both the main story and some of the backup plots he is heavily implied to be a Pennywise-esque recurring menace who has been active since Gotham was founded. Turns out it was all part of his mind-fucking plot.
  • Ambiguous Situation: Is the Joker Really 700 Years Old? Did he just get this healing factor from his chemical bath? Or is it just a very well-done photo-doctoring job, as Julia suggests? It turns out to be the latter. The Joker only gained his healing factor after the events of Death of the Family. All of the "Pale-Man" photos were just him trying to fuck with Batman. What pretty much clinches it is that those photos were in the Gotham newspapers, so someone surely would have noticed the anomalies long before Commissioner Gordon did.
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  • An Arm and a Leg: The Joker chops off Alfred's right hand with a butcher knife (aware he's Batman's right-hand man).
  • Ax-Crazy: The Joker. He even grabs an ax in Issue 37 when he's going out of his way to give Gordon nightmares. His plague does this to everyone else.
  • Badass Boast: Joker gets one in the first possible backstory presented.
    He thought he beat me... he thought he could keep me from the city forever... but there is no forever for me. I am forever. I just need to crawl back each time... through the fire, through the brimstone... all the way up from my kingdom. Back here. To my real home. They've never understood what I really am. They think I'm just a man, but that's the joke, isn't it? That's always been the joke.
    • Another from Uriah, one of the first Talons in issue 39;
    Uriah: ...I am a Talon. I am from here, always. You... are just a name scratched on the wall!
  • Bat Deduction: A notable aversion. When Eric Border is revealed to be the Joker, the villain seems disappointed that Batman didn't get his identity beforehand, despite the fact that said name was an extremely obscure Meaningful Name. Then again, the Joker is insane, so that's to be expected.
  • Batman Gambit: Joker keeps pulling these on both Dr. Zaheer and Batman himself. In the end though, nobody beats the Trope Namer.
  • Battle Amongst the Flames: Batman vs Joker. Technically also Jim Gordon vs. Joker, but that one's less of a "battle".
  • Big Bad: The Joker.
  • Big "NO!": From Joker when the dionesium pit is destroyed.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Joker is finally stopped and his Joker Venom is cured. But both he and Batman are left trapped in the cave with the dionesium pit, presumably dead.
  • Body Horror: What The Joker's serum/poison does to Dekker.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: The Joker does this to the Justice League via specially-made strands of Joker Venom.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Scott Snyder directly name-drops this trope with an aversion.
    Julia: Humor me, yeah? This isn't just a Tuesday.
    Batman: No, it's ugly, Julia.
  • Call-Back: To Annual 2, when it's revealed that Eric Border is a disguise for the Joker.
    • In Issue 37, Duke Thomas appears as a Call-Back to Zero Year. Also, to Death of the Family, when Joker comes out from under Jim Gordon's bed.
    • In Issue 39, Alfred shoots Joker in the head when he enters the Batcave, just as he did in the dream sequence in Batman and Robin #17 in the Death of the Family arc. It doesn't end quite as he dreamed it.
    • In the last short story, the Joker says in regard to all the new origin stories that have been put forth, "I prefer not to think of it as multiple choice... it's more choose-your-own-adventure.", which of course shows how he has changed since The Killing Joke.
  • Combat Breakdown: The final battle between Batman and the Joker (In this story arc, that is) ends up this way, where Batman was shown biting off the Joker's ear and physically restraining him from reaching the Dionesium pool to heal.
  • Cooperation Gambit: The Bat Family manages to form a temporary alliance with many of Batman's rogues (Bane, Scarecrow, Penguin, Poison Ivy, Clayface, Killer Croc, and Mr. Freeze) because Batman points out that Gotham is their city too.
    Batman: [...] The bottom line is this: it's our city. All of ours. And we need to take it back from him, now, together, or it's over. For all of us. Forever.
    So tell me... Who's in?!
  • Crazy-Prepared:
    • Batman actually prepared a protocol for if he had to fight the Justice League in Gotham, and has a warsuit designed to fight all of them (including Green Lantern, who was no longer a member of the Justice League at the time, albeit with the use of his lessened weakness to yellow), and does a decent job explaining how it can do so. He even carries around a pellet of "Kryptonite gum" in the suit which he uses to disable Superman.
    • Joker gets this for his extremely intricate plans on how to infect each of the Justice League with Joker Venom. Each is specially built.
    • In a meta sense, the authors get one for introducing Eric Border in Batman Annual 2, over a year beforehand in real-world time, and revealing that he was always intended to be a disguise for the Joker.
  • Darker and Edgier: The Joker; he's decided to finish Gotham once and for all, and he's even wearing the sort of suit you'd see at a funeral.
  • Dark Messiah: The Joker claims to have been this along, and in fact, as his alter ego of Eric Border, outright says "I wanted to help Gotham." He plays the role of a Straw Nihilist, asserting that life is miserable and meaningless, and the only true joy comes with death. His Dia de los Muertos-like parade hammers the point home. (Eventually, however, he's revealed to be a hypocrite: he indeed values life, and just wants to murder everyone else out of spite.)
  • Determinator: Batman, as per usual, but Issue 40 really hammers this in. In the final battle with the the Joker, he gets two knives shoved straight through him, his back sliced open, half his face burned, and a joker card through his eye, but still keeps on fighting.
    Joker: Hee heee! Look at him! He keeps coming! Against all odds! Even though it's futile! That's our boy!
  • Didn't See That Coming: Everyone, in-universe and out, when Joker came back, nailed the League with Joker Venom, and revealed that he was Eric Border.
  • Enemy Mine: In issue 38, Batman is forced to turn to the Court of Owls for help, as they are the ones most knowledgable about Gotham's history.
    • Later, he enlists the help of various members of his rogues gallery (Bane, Scarecrow, Penguin, Poison Ivy, Clayface, Killer Croc, and Mr. Freeze) to cover him while he takes down the Joker. They help him because as he points out, Gotham is their city too.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Joe Chill doesn't seem to be very interested in killing anyone else's parents.
  • Eye Scream: Batman gets hit in the eye (and arms) with Joker's metal joker cards.
  • Face Death with Dignity: In Issue 40, Bruce peacefully accepts his encroaching death, in stark contrast to the Joker.
  • Facial Horror: The Joker, while his face was restored before the events of his story, it still ends up badly burned in the climax.
  • First-Name Basis: Batman usually addresses the rest of the League by their actual names, instead of their superhero names. Joker also does this for Batman in Issue 37, to show he knows exactly who he is.
  • Foe Romance Subtext: In a few shots where Joker and Batman are lying bleeding on the ground, their blood forms the shape of a heart.
    Batman: I'm just going to rest here a little while with my friend.
  • Foreshadowing: Paul Dekker at first thought Batman is an immortal and compares him to a Barbatos.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Batman is determined to find out about the Joker and if he really is something old and he decides to confront the Court of Owls for answers, going straight back to the same labyrinth they spent a week torturing him in.
  • Gorn: Batman and Joker's final fight in the caverns is very brutal and messy.
  • Hallucinations: Scarecrow has made a "Cassandra" toxin which gives the affected visions of their own death.
  • Haunted House: The Willowwood Children's Hospital and Gotham Pres both have this reputation.
  • Hate Plague: The Plague that Joker has released apparently makes people target their friends, according to Jim Gordon. This is implied to be one of the reasons why Batman calls upon his rogues to help him and his allies take down Joker; nobody likes them so no one's going to attack them.
  • Healing Factor: The story revealed the Joker had one, revealing how he got his face back. Though it's later subverted as it's revealed he merely came into contact with Dionesium, the chemical responsible for the restorative properties of the Lazarus Pits and in the meteor that made Vandal Savage immortal.
  • He's Back!: A villainous version, as the Joker is revealed to have a face again after it was previously hacked off at the beginning of the New 52 reboot.
  • Hidden Depths: Turns out Batman has more of a sense of humor than previously thought. "Ha."
  • Honor Before Reason: A Discussed Trope between the Pennyworth father and daughter in the epilogue concerning Bruce's refusal to take the easy route and become a truly immortal being, instead of letting his life be a tragedy and something to defend people, but not something that they should aspire to be.
  • How Much More Can He Take?: The Final Battle is a case of this. Batman, who has no healing to speak of through conscious choice, gets multiple knife wounds, an explosive going off directly next to his face, a razor-sharp playing card stabbed into his eye socket, and many other wounds before finally going down. Joker has similar injuries, but is able to shrug them off until Batman doses him with a cure for his Dionesium-powered healing. That quickly leads to the below.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Joker seems to be set up by the entire storyline as not a very, very scary and insane human, but a demonic, unkillable entity that has plagued Gotham since its founding. It's a lie.
  • I Don't Want to Die: Shown in Issue 40, in stark contrast to the Face Death with Dignity example. As shown by Joker's panicked expression and demeanor after the reservoir of dionesium is lost to him due to a cave-in, this is his perspective on life in spite of all of his Straw Nihilist behavior.
  • If I Can't Have You…: Heavily implied to be the reason why the Joker is so violent this time: after Batman rejected his advances before, he decided to take away everything Batman has in retaliation.
  • Immortality: Issue 37, as well as the backstories, all suggest that the Joker has some form of this. As it turns out, he has none of this. He fell into a deep hole in Gotham that had a reservoir of dionesium after Death of the Family, which allowed him to develop a Healing Factor, but once that amount in his body is neutralized, he needs to get more in order to get that healing back.
  • Immortality Inducer: As described in Issue 38, the substances that are in the Lazarus Pits, Vandal Savage, and the Joker are identified by Dr. Paul Dekker as "Dionesium", with each user having come across it and used it differently. As revealed in Issue 39, this substance is also in the electrum given to the Talons of the Court of Owls, though both it and the version Ra's uses are mentioned to be corrupted versions of it, impure by comparison to what Vandal and the Joker were infected with.
  • Immortality Seeker: Paul Dekker/Crazy Quilt is revealed to be this. It gets him killed when the Joker tricks him into poisoning himself.
  • Internal Monologue: Batman has this at the start of issues 36-39.
  • Joker Immunity: This trope becomes a major thread of the plot, with Batman scrambling to figure out if The Joker truly is immortal or if he's just a mortal (albeit inhumanly evil) man. Ultimately, it appears to have been an Averted Trope, as not only is he a mortal man with a temporary Immortality Inducer, but it seems that he and Batman had a Mutual Kill.
  • Laughing Mad: Batman says that Joker is actually an aversion, in his opinion.
    Batman: Listen to me. He's not crazy. He's just evil.
    • This is what happens to anyone hit by his plague.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Paul Dekker in Issue 38.
    Dekker: Doesn't sound like a Batman story, now does it?
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: The Joker is pulling out all the stops on this one. This story arc presents how much of a threat the Joker can be when he loses all restraints with his scheming.
    This time, no more games... no more jokes. I'm just here to close up shop!
    • Creates several variants of Joker toxin that allows him to control the Justice League
    • Creates another variant of Joker toxin that spreads like a plaque throughout Gotham, necessitating an Enemy Mine situation between Batman and his rogues' gallery
    • And then inverted at the end, when Batman decides to Get Silly just to stick it to Joker in their final dying moments.
  • Lockdown: The military intends to do this if a cure isn't found for the infection very quickly in Issue 37.
  • Mad Doctor: Paul Dekker, a.k.a. Crazy Quilt, is this, with his work on a Healing Factor for soft tissue (compared to Hugo Strange for neurological tissue, and Karl "Doctor Death" Helfern for hard bone tissue) and apparent insanity.
  • Madness Apocalypse: The Joker's plague is spreading very quickly through Gotham.
  • Master of Disguise: Joker as Eric Border.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Joker may actually be some sort of immortal menace who has been terrorizing Gotham since long before Bruce Wayne was even born, or the evidence may just be a mix of odd coincidences and things that the Joker planted to suggest that he is just to fuck with people. The finale reveals that his immortality was actually discovered at the end of Death of the Family when he fell further into the Batcave and that all of the pictures and evidence was just him screwing with everyone.
  • Meaningful Echo: The Joker sets up a scenario in Issue 37 with Joe Chill Jokerized and after Duke Thomas's parents with a gun in a "Crime Alley" replica, in a deliberate echo of the Wayne murders. This time, Batman manages to stop Chill. Though Duke's parents are still Jokerized, Batman manages to get Duke out safely.
  • Meaningful Name: Just read...
    Eric: "Eric" comes from "Ei-" which is proto-Norse, meaning "eternal" and "Reiks" which is gothic, meaning "prince." Aaaand "Border" is a homophone for "Bourder" which is an obsolete word for...
    Batman: "...Jester." My god...
    • In the last short story, one of Joker's origins was that he was once a boy named William Distal. William can be shortened to Bill, and Distal can mean "situated away from the center of the body or point of attachment.", such as a finger to a hand. Or otherwise he was Bill Finger (for those that don't know, Bill Finger was the Real Life co-creator of Batman and the Joker).
    • The compound Dionesium, which gives Vandal Savage, Lazarus Pit users, and (apparently) the Joker their Healing Factor and is at the core of the Synthetic Plague is named after the Greek god Dionysus, who though best-known as the god of wine, is also the god of resurrection/rebirth.
      • Dionysus is also famous as having the Maenads as followers - humans so infused with revelry/insanity that they would literally rip people apart in an attempt to achieve "pleasure". Sounds right up The Joker's alley.
  • Meta Origin: The Immortality Inducer known as dionesium is posited as the common factor between Vandal Savage and Ra's al Ghul in their immortality, with the Lazarus Pits being reservoirs of a form of it.
  • Mind Control/More Than Mind Control: The Joker does this to the Justice League through Joker Venom specifically designed to overtake each of them.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: The Joker gains several new possible backstories: which, if any of them, are actually true, is unknown at this point.
    • The first one is that he's literally a demon, if not the devil, who can revive himself to eternally torment Gotham.
    • The second states that he's a robot/robotic intelligence like Cyborg Superman, who is placing chips into the bodies of others that allows him to take them over for himself at a later point. This is also a Mythology Gag to Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker.
    • The third says that he is some sort of magical/unnatural being who is strengthened by people laughing and causes people to Die Laughing even without his toxin. The crux is that there was apparently a clown early in Gotham's history that had this ability, and he died in the same place where A.C.E. Chemicals was eventually built, leading to his spirit inhabiting the body that would become the Joker when he fell into the vat of chemicals there.
    • The fourth is that he's a man who became exposed to a regenerative chemical, which heals him whenever he's in mortal danger, and is also Really 700 Years Old. In this he gained his power from the same source as Vandal Savage and Ra's Al-Ghul, and he uses it as the "secret ingredient" for the virus. While this is true, he also recently discovered this material, and has not had it for centuries as he implies, making this one deliberately false as well.
    • The fifth posits that after the events of Zero Year, the Army created the myth of Batman and set a garrison of Batmen, to explain how Batman seems to get so much done, under Gotham with the intention of brainwashing the residents into absolute compliance. A defector from the program sought to shock the people from the thrall of the lifestyle Batman seemed to impose on them, opposing his grim law with mirthful chaos.
    • The final story says that Joker is simply a Creepy Child who was abandoned by his parents and raised with various foster parents until sixteen, when he ran away and presumably joined the Red Hood gang sometime after that. He then faked his death in Year Zero to become the Joker.
    • In the end it is strongly implied that none of these stories are true, as the Joker himself helped to come up with all of them and he admitted that he paid off the foster parents to say what he wanted them to say to Mahreen Zaheer for the final story.
    Joker: It's a good story, isn't it? Not quite as good as the one where I'm a secret robot. Beep boop beep.
  • Mutual Kill: In the ending, this appears to be the case between Batman and the Joker.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The final battle at the very end with the Joker is very similar to the segment from Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, right down to the Joker getting paralyzed, and Batman lying down next to Joker after the fight is over. One scene that is inverted is that Batman gets hit in the arms and eye with the characteristic throwing weapon of his archenemy (razor-sharp joker cards) rather than Joker.
    • The danse macabre on the streets of Gotham during the penultimate action sequence bears more than a passing resemblance to the Joker's plot in Tim Burton's 1989 film, where he also floated grotesque parade balloons and announced that life was meaningless.
  • Nightmare Fuel: In-universe, when the photos that Jim finds about the two above hospitals, from literally decades ago, which suggest that the Joker has been around and active for far longer than anyone previously imagined...
  • Not Quite Dead: Implied to be the case in the epilogue to the final issue. While Bruce Wayne's Batman and the Joker are presumed dead, there is a man on crutches with many bandages including one over an eye (the same eye that was seriously wounded by a razor sharp card on Bruce) with a young child with an R on his shirt with him, and the garbage man who throws out the trash behind the theater looks suspiciously similar to the Joker's disguise in this storyline as Eric Border. The implication appears to be that while their physical bodies are probably not dead, their identities as Batman and the Joker are, for the time being, gone.
    • The last image of the story is an breastplate from the opening pages being dumped in the trash; said breastplate is a harness, detailed as being used in a performance of Euripedes Medea, which naturally ends in a Deus ex machina.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Downplayed example. In his final battle with Batman, the Joker seems even quicker and more agile than he ever was to Batman, possibly as a result of his contact with the dionesium, and the Joker suggests to Batman that maybe he was always so light on his feet and he always let Batman underestimate him before.
    • Turned back around when Joker is crawling towards the dionesiun pit and Batman holds him back, telling Joker he NOW believes Joker's story about being an immortal demon and asking for forgiveness for his disbelief. It's abundantly clear that Batman's just screwing him as one last act of defiance against his Arch-Enemy.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Batman has this reaction when he sees Superman getting a Joker-grin on his face.
    • Again when Eric Border drops the bars and reveals he's the Joker.
    • A subdued reaction from Dick, when Bruce tells him that the Joker knows Batman's identity.
    • Joker when he realizes the Batman at the parade is actually Dick Grayson (meaning Bruce isn't as clueless as he thought) and again when the dionesum pool is plugged by cave debris.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Joker isn't joking anymore, even in his head. He's just lashing out at everything Batman cares about in both his civilian and superhero identities as thoroughly as possible while still having a jester motif to part of his crime (in the case of the plague). This is because he doesn't even care anymore. He's just "closing shop" and trying to get rid of Batman once and for all.
  • Out-Gambitted: Joker's intricate plan for killing Batman once and for all was compounded by the fact Batman himself anticipated Joker's Bond Villain Stupidity in revealing the location of the dionesium to gloat and sent in Dick disguised as him instead.
  • Patient Zero: Joe Chill is this, causing Batman to realize that Joker knows who he is.
  • Power Armor: Batman has his "Justice Buster" warsuit, designed to fight off the Justice League if needed.
  • Physical God: Several of the Leaguers, and it's shown how big a gap there is between them and Batman in a straight fight: Batman needs to use a magical inversion of Wonder Woman's lasso, which creates an illusion of him dying to just keep her out of the fight, has put a large amount of the money for his suit into just being able to keep up with the Flash at a lower velocity, and he has no way to deal with Superman save Kryptonite and five red suns shrunken down by Ray Palmer to be put into his gauntlet's knuckles. His suit fared relatively well against Superman, until he made the mistake of assuming that a Jokerized Superman would actually fight like Superman: with self-imposed limits. He gets a building dropped on him for his troubles.
  • Psycho Psychologist: Eric Border was the Joker all along.
  • Real After All: Played with in terms of the Joker's background. Yes, he was eventually confirmed to have some sort of immortality; the exact mechanics are not completely stated, but it is strongly hinted that they have something to do with the chemicals found in Lazarus Pits. However, he is not an ageless terror and perennial plague on Gotham, and all evidence suggesting that he was was planted just to mislead people.
  • Red Herring: Ms. Chen in the backstory had no story that related to the Joker at all, save that he found her to be funny.
  • The Reveal:
    • In Part 2: Eric Border, one of the orderlies working in Arkham Asylum, is one of The Joker's disguises.
    • In Part 3: As implied in Death of the Family, Joker knows exactly who Batman is.
  • Rousing Speech: Batman briefs his rogues gallery on why they should assist him with the final assault on the Joker. Although exactly how rousing his speech was is debatable.
    Batman: I need to get up on that float, get a syringe into Joker's spine—his spine. Then I need to make it out of there alive, and get the sample to my base, where I have someone standing by, ready to synthesize a cure and disseminate it. So yes, it's a bad plan. Anyone has a better one, I'm all ears.
    No? Then the bottom line is this: it's our city. All of ours. And we need to take it back from him, now, together, or it's over. For all of us. Forever.
    So tell me... who's in?!
  • Self-Plagiarism: Something that gets criticism is that the plot is just a rehash of the early Death of the Family with the only few differences being the Justice League instead of the Batfamily the Joker uses against Batman and the Bittersweet Ending being the seeming death of Bruce himself instead of a group disbanding.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The origin where the Joker is a robotic intelligence existing in microchips secretly planted inside people waiting to activate and turn them into the Joker is refers to Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, where he uses that exact method to come back to life, though only once.
    • The other origin of the Joker as a demonic creature that comes back to life to haunt Gotham generation after generation is a reference to Pennywise the Dancing Clown.
    • The lurid, trippy coloration in the split-scene section is reminscent of the original coloration of The Killing Joke.
    • The scene from All Just A Dream above is a reference to the bad dream the villains suffered in Justice.
  • Slasher Smile: The Joker, and everyone affected by his newest toxin.
  • Spiritual Antithesis: Snyder has called this a horror story to contrast with Death of the Family's comedy (considering how horrific the latter is, that's saying something). Of note: In Family, Joker was targeting Batman's friends personally. Here he's trying to take down the whole city. He's also stopped his creepy Stalker with a Crush tendencies and wears black instead of bright colors.
  • Sssssnake Talk: The Joker's picked up this habit.
  • Straw Nihilist: The Joker, depending on how you perceive his speech in Issue 39.
    People of Gotham! I have one question for you... Who's in the mood to party?! I mean, why not?! Hell, in lots of places around the world death is followed by celebration! It makes sensssse, am i right? We struggle and struggle in life... trying not to look at the end, to look at the now and find meaning, to find purpose... all for naught. Nothing. Zzzzip. But ahhhh! The dirt nap. To rest your feet! Sweet relief! So let's do it! Let's look together! Look it in the face... and smile!
  • Synthetic Plague: Joker has engineered one of these, which appears to affect its victims in a way similar to the Justice League, and is airborne to make things worse.
    Bruce: A virus that spreads like laughter. Damn.
  • Superman Stays Out of Gotham: Because he and the other members of the Justice League were Jokerized and compelled to fight Batman, resulting in each of them being put out of commission for the duration of the storyline.
  • Take That!: To the Hypothetical Fight Debate of Batman vs. Superman in Issue 36, concerning the answer to how somebody can "win" when Fighting Your Friend, despite the fact that it means hurting your friend in the first place.
    Batman's narration: Who wins in a fight? Neither of us.
  • Tears of Joy: Jim gets these when he shoots and kills the Joker in Issue 37, proving that he's just a human like him. It doesn't last.
  • The Bus Came Back: Dick Grayson, fulfilling the role of Voice with an Internet Connection and at one point, decoy Batman.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Averted. Batman has for the first time in canon, killed the Joker, albeit via a Mutual Kill. The writer has reportedly stated that this is the only way Batman will actually kill without fan controversy.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Averted; the writing team overseeing the story did such a good job hushing the project up and what they were doing in it, nobody had any clue that the Joker was involved till it came out. Up until that point, not even the covers had been revealed, and all solicits just said that it was an important story.
  • Troll: As Joker slowly crawls toward the pit of dionesium, Batman holds him back, telling Joker how blind he was for not realizing that Joker was truly immortal and unkillable, and begging for his forgiveness. He could've simply held him back, but in his final moments decided to get the last laugh.
  • Villainous Breakdown: When Batman prevents the Joker from reaching the dionesium pit, his confident facade fails as he realizes this is the end for him.
    Joker: No no no...
  • Villain Teleportation: A rather blatant example in Issue 40. After finding out that Dick Grayson was the Batman who attacked his parade, and not Bruce Wayne, Joker seems shocked that Bruce made it down to the dionesium supply, which likely would destroy his plan. Seemingly minutes or seconds later, he's down there, far far below Gotham, and attacks Bruce.
  • Walking Spoiler: The Joker's role in this, let alone the fact he's in it at all, is a spoiler. Counts as a Late-Arrival Spoiler as well since all the covers after the first chapter are associated with the main antagonist.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Issue 37. Batman goes to the hospital where patient zero for Joker's virus is. It's Joe Chill, the man who killed Bruce's parents. Meaning Joker knows who Batman is.
    • Issue 40. Bruce Wayne and the Joker seemingly commit a Mutual Kill.
  • Wham Line:
    Joker: Hello, Bruce.
  • Wham Shot:
    • Superman gets a Joker-grin going on his face, telling us and Bruce just who the Big Bad of the arc is.
    • In Batman 36, The Reveal above also counts as a Wham Shot.
    • In Batman 38, the final page, showing that Batman is so desperate for answers, he is willing to get help from the Court of Owls.
  • Wicked Cultured: The Joker can speak at least two ancient Germanic languages and possesses detailed knowledge about ancient Greek mythology and culture. It's also suggested that he's an insanely brilliant pathologist/DNA expert who created a new incurable disease, although it's revealed he got a great deal of help in doing that from Dr. Dekker.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: But the zombies are also Jokerized.