A lot of big Batman comics dropped this week, including a double dose of the Joker’s new second in command, Punchline. But what about the Clown Prince of Crime himself? What does he have up his sleeve?
Well, according to this week’s Batman: Secret Files #3, it’s to take all of Bruce Wayne’s money and turn it against him.
The Joker knows Batman’s secret identity
All year, Batman comics have been gearing up for Joker War, a Gotham-wide crossover in which, well, the Joker does something big and bad. The difference with Joker War is that now the murderous clown knows that Batman and Bruce Wayne are the same person. And he also knows the identities of the rest of the Bat-family.
This is an idea with some precedence in Batman comics, but the Joker himself sums it up plainly in “Fool’s Gold,” an eight-page story appearing in Batman: Secret Files #3, written by Joker War architect James Tynion IV, and drawn by Sumit Kumar.
The question on everyone’s mind is what the Joker plans to do with that information. Expose Batman’s secret to the world? Threaten his family? Desecrate his parents’ graves? No.
“You’re going after the Wayne fortune,” Deathstroke guesses, and nails it on the head.
For his participation in a five-way assassin attack distraction, Joker offers him all the money Bruce set aside for his nemesis, Dick Grayson. And while Batman is busy putting out those fires, the Joker will do the one thing most likely to destroy Batman forever: pick his pocket.
And you know what? Good for him.
Batman will be fine
I’ll say it, as a big Batman fan: Bruce should have less money. Now, granted, he’s been on a big recent push to pour cash into Gotham’s urban renewal, but until he’s just millionaire Bruce Wayne, he should keep going. The hero’s endless fortune doesn’t just invite questions about his civic responsibilities, it’s also come to function as a deus ex capitalism, handwaving any level of property destruction and excusing any reveal of a new gizmo or vehicle.
Batman’s money allows writers to transform him into a grim version of Silver Age Superman, who could travel backwards in time by accidentally flying too fast. And while that may be a realistic depiction of the power of a multibillion dollar fortune, it’s not particularly good for creating high stakes comics.
Unfortunately, the Joker isn’t likely to be any better a billionaire than Bruce Wayne is, funneling that fortune into killing the Batman and everything. But if Bruce Wayne’s pocket takes a hit from this one, or the Joker gets all the way to the vault only to find that all the money has already been spent on Gotham infrastructure? I won’t mind.