Warning: this article contains spoilers for Dark Nights: Death Metal #1 and 2!
Watch the DC Comics Comic-Con panel below:As the first two chapters of Death Metal have shown, The Batman Who Laughs has only grown more powerful and dangerous in the Death Metal era. Though this twisted, Joker-ized version of Batman was killed by Wonder Woman in issue #1, his brain was transplanted into the body of another evil Batman in issue #2. In his new body, the Batman Who Laughs has the reality-altering powers of Watchmen’s Doctor Manhattan. He even has a new name to befit his boosted power level – The Darkest Knight.
Issue #3 will introduce The Darkest Knight’s new sidekick, The Robin King. Formerly one of the demonic Robins The Batman Who Laughs keeps chained by his side, this ex-Boy Wonder may just be the most demented and terrifying foe Batman has ever grappled with.
“I’m just writing his dialogue now,” said Snyder. “His whole history you’ll learn – what his secret is, who he is, all of that stuff. Because I’ve seen a lot of speculation about who he is.”
Snyder then teased a majorly disturbing encounter between The Robin King and the JSA, As Snyder describes the character, The Robin King seems to have the personality of Burt Ward’s Robin mixed with a love of violence and sadism to rival his master’s. As he encounters these stately older heroes, The Robin King reveals he dug up the corpse of Barry Allen’s mother and stuffed her into a Flash ring, and then murdered Alan Scott’s children, mixed their ashes and created a ring capable of canceling out the Green Lantern.
“He’s this ten-year-old kid, but he’s definitely one of our darkest creations,” said Snyder. “But I love him, because… what I want the heroes to go up against here is something that says ‘Everything you believe people to be, everything you hope we are, we aren’t.’ And you want representations of that. With The Batman Who Laughs and with The Robin King, the eviler and darker the villain, the more the heroes are challenged by what they see in human nature. It becomes harder and harder to be hopeful.”
Snyder continued, “He’s not evil just to make something incredibly fun and dark. He is those things, but it’s also meant to be something you read and hits you in a way that’s poignant. Because he says, ‘All these different hopes and aspirations for us are nothing, and I’ll show you why.’ So he’s a very spooky kid.”
Batman Faces the Deadly Mystery of the Three Jokers
Dark Nights: Death Metal #3 will debut on August 12. For more on the new series, find out how Death Metal ties together 80 years of DC history. Then check out IGN’s picks for the Top 25 Batman graphic novels of all time and our Comic-Con 2020 panel schedule.
Jesse is a mild-mannered staff writer for IGN. Allow him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket by following @jschedeen on Twitter.