A Batman Family Secret?
I know, I know this isn’t worth my time to read. The writer is just making up a bullshit theory blah, blah, blah. Give me 10 minutes of your time and let me explain.
For 80 years, Batman and Joker have punched and laughed their way into the greatest rivalry in comics. This have been countless stories written about the two but one that has been hinted about in comic book and movie lore. The Joker is Batman’s brother…. Don’t freak out at me or call bullshit before you let me explain.
Firstly in Christopher Nolan’s ‘The Dark Night’, Joker has a dialogue with a man at the party thrown by Bruce Wayne. You know, the one where he comes after Rachael Dawes. Pretty unforgettable scene. He says to the man, “you know, you remind me of my Father. I hated my Father”. It’s the one time in the movie Joker is caught off-guard, when he talks about his past. He has multiple explanations during the movie about how he got his scars but it was different when the older gentleman was talking to him. Joker has a lost in thought flashback to his dad.
Every single Batman movie has a moment of revelation in some capacity, go ahead and watch them I’ll wait. This gentleman at the party, high society and esteemed it seems, reminds the Joker of his true father, Doctor Thomas Wayne father of Bruce! Joker alludes in the movie to being a leper, just like Bruce will be eventually. There’s dialogue in the movie that backs it up. Joker says, “Don’t talk like one of them, you’re not, even if you’d like to be. To them you’re a freak like me, they just need you right now. But as soon as they don’t, they’ll cast you out like a leper. Their morals, their code it’s just a bad joke. Dropped at the first sign of trouble. They’re only as good as the world allows them to be. You’ll see, I’ll show you, when the chips are down these civilised people, they’ll eat each other.” Joker ends with, “See, I’m not a monster, I’m just ahead of the curve.” Crazy part about this is that Bruce Wayne almost broke his code in this movie when he thinks about murdering he parents killer at the court house. In that dialogue Joker is telling him that his father is a liar and a hypocrite, he’s trying to make Batman see what their father really was not as Bruce sees him. Batman and the Joker are abandoned in their lives, a big theme in Nolan’s movie is about family. Why is it these two are cut from the same cloth it would seem? For all the stories about how he got his scars maybe the Joker was cast out by his father because he was different mentally and physically.
Despite his apparent craziness Joker doesn’t want to kill Batman. He’s trying to protect him as he seems them both as loners. Joker drops a subtle hint to him at the end of the movie where he says, “I think you and I are destined to do this forever.” In “Batman Begins” – the film before the ‘Dark Knight’ – we see at the end of the movie the Joker card. What many people don’t realise is that this movie is Joker’s origin story. The Wayne’s death led to Gotham crumbling, the rise of Batman, breakout at Arkham Asylum and further mayhem. If he was in Arkham this whole time, why in ‘Dark Knight’ when the cops run his DNA can’t they find anything? My guess is Joker has been in Arkham since he was a minor and was abandoned by his father Thomas Wayne! (or his dad could have treated him there away from the spotlight, he was a doctor) Hence no record because he was a minor. His father is murdered, Joker is all alone, until someone sets free the prisoners at Arkham.
Joker’s identity has been a mystery for years and every fan boy has trying to figure it out since his creation. Recently in comics we’ve learned that there is actually three Jokers!! (as appeared in Rebirth #1*). I believe I can provide more information to the identity of one of them.
[* Stu: This mini-arc first start during the Justice League: Darkseid War storyline when Batman sits on Darkseid’s Mobius Chair and, in doing so, becomes a God with access to almost limitless knowledge and realising what a unique opportunity this is asks “What’s the Joker’s real name?” and is astonished when he hears the truth but this isn’t actually revealed until Rebirth #1]
In 2008, we were introduced to Simon Hurt, who led an organisation of rich people called the Black Glove. They knew of Batman’s identity and were able to pit Joker in a battle between the two of them. In the comic book Hurt says to Batman that he is his “dead” father and that the murder didn’t really happen. Batman determines that Hurt is a long distant relative who expanded his life using occult rituals. Joker doesn’t like this idea very much and buries Hurt alive. In 2011, another group of rich people, “Court of Owls” (the same one in the television show Gotham) has been controlling Gotham through murders. They go after Bruce Wayne and send a man named Talon to murder Bruce. Talon reveals himself to be Bruce Wayne’s long-lost brother. Batman never seems to find anything remotely normal in his life. That’s two groups led by rich people of influence with knowledge of Bruce Wayne’s secret identity. Ironically both are named after nursery rhymes and both attempt to replace a missing figure in the Wayne family (Thomas and Thomas Jr.). Batman never believed Simon Hurt was his father, nor did he believe Talon was his long-lost brother. He’s the world’s greatest detective, he would know these things about his family. So why go to all the trouble for this confusion? There has to be a singular figure with significant influence at play. Someone who benefits from all this, someone who is intimately familiar with the Wayne family. The Joker was there when Bruce was mask-less and had his name spoken aloud during the showdown with the Black Glove and never even flinched. The Joker had his own agenda, he never appears in the Court of Owls story but he encounters Batman before and after that ordeal, finally revealing that he knew Bruce Wayne was Batman all along. That leaves the Joker as the tie-in to both these stories, it couldn’t have been anyone else. The real “Thomas Jr.” is non other than the Joker himself having planted the fake one to see Batman’s reaction!! The elite position of both of these groups (Court of Owls and Black Glove) could mean they adopted young Thomas without knowing who he really was. Thomas Jr. (aka Joker) could have manipulated them to show Bruce that he really does have a brother and that his life as he knows it would be flipped upside down.
His first encounter with Bruce would have been when he disguised himself as the Red Hood so that he could torture Bruce without revealing his likeness to his own brother. This isn’t the Jason Todd Red Hood, this is the original gang in 1933, just so there’s no confusion**. Thomas goes on to rant about the murders of Thomas and Martha Wayne, and proceeds to shoot holes in their portrait in front of Bruce and burn it. He mentions that he has foster parents but he constantly relates everything about himself to the Wayne’s.
[** Stu: This is the widely accepted origin story for The Joker as seen in 1988’s ‘The Killing Joke’ which was recently made into an animated movie.]
Bruce has had the Joker’s DNA from the very beginning. Why hasn’t Bruce Wayne found out about the truth already then? As explained in ‘Dark Knight’ or earlier in this article, Thomas Wayne’s DNA would not be on file since he had been at Arkham since his youth! Thomas Jr. noticed Bruce Wayne had become Batman, so he decided to he needed to take the same steps except he went a different route. As the Red Hood, he was only as good as his next jailbreak but as the Joker he and Batman could do this forever, just as he says at the end of ‘Dark Knight’. The Red Hood hints that he knew his “vigilante” and that Bruce and Batman were one in the same. Joker has known Batman all along and he never wants to uncover who he is because it’s all a game between one abandoned, twisted brother trying to mess with the brother his parents favoured. It’s why in the video game ‘Arkham City’ Batman and Joker are referred to as Cain and Abel!! It’s the reason Batman was able to survive the blood transfusion from the Joker in ‘Arkham City’ and the reason he feels empathy toward this crazy clown.
Every chance Batman has had to kill the Joker he has chosen to save him. The electric chair (Joker: Devil’s Advocate), his hug at the end of the ‘Killing Joke’. Joker just paralysed Barbara Gordon yet he sympathises with the Joker?? The Joker and Batman are not simply villain and hero. They symbolise the yin and yang, two sides of the same coin, they complete each other. Maybe we realise why Joker wasn’t killed by Batman because it’s just been a personal problem between two brothers all this time.