• Teen Titans #12 Reveals Identity of Batman Who Laughs’ Main Robin
    Sep 13, 2017

    SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for DC Comics’ Dark Nights: Metal #2 and Teen Titans #12, both of which are on sale now.

    DC Comics’ event series Dark Nights: Metal is underway, and this week not only sees the arrival of the evil Batmen the Dark Multiverse, we get our first full taste of The Batman Who Laughs in Teen Titans #12 from Benjamin Percy and Mirka Andolfo.

    The issue follows a few of the threads that began in Metal #1-2 as the Gotham Resistance of Robin, Nightwing, Green Arrow, Harley Quinn and Killer Croc make their way towards a mysterious mountain in the heart of Gotham City in search of Batman, who has gone missing.

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    If you’re a dedicated reader of Teen Titans and haven’t been following what’s been unfolding in Metal, you might be curious as to where the dark, ominous mountain came from, and why it’s surrounded by rings dedicated to some of Batman’s greatest rogues. But we’re guessing your biggest questions will be what the deal is with the gothic figure referred to as the Batman Who Laughs, and his cadre of evil Robins.

    Gotham’s New Dark Mountain

    Inside the pages of Dark Knights: Metal #1, the Justice League investigates a mountain radiating with dark energy right smack in the middle of Gotham. As it turns out, Batman must not have found time to relay to his son, Damian Wayne, what the team found in the structure, because once his father goes missing, Robin leads the Teen Titans directly to it.

    Even though the mountain screams more “horrific” than “heroic” on first glance, it is actually Challengers Mountain, the home base of the Challengers of the Unknown. Created by Jack Kirby in 1957, the team of explorers consisting of “Prof” Haley, June Robbins, Rocky Davis, Red Ryan and Ace Morgan debuted in Showcase #6. What makes the appearance of Challengers Mountain in Gotham so confusing is it usually can be found in the Rocky Mountains. Plus, it normally doesn’t have waves of dark energy beaming from it, or is surrounded by labyrinths dedicated to the likes of the Riddler, Poison Ivy, Mr. Freeze, Mad Hatter, Firefly and Bane.

    RELATED: Dark Nights: Metal #1, Annotated, From Gotham’s Volcano to Sandman

    The reason for these video game levels of boundaries ahead of Challengers Mountain is the fault of one of the evil Dark Multiverse Batmen: the Joker-inspired Batman Who Laughs. But what’s his goal, how is he planning to achieve it, and who are the Robins he’s brought with him to the DC Universe?

    Page 2: he Batman Who Laughs' Main Robin's Identity Is...

    How The Batman Who Laughs Is Attacking The DCU

    Soon after the Batman Who Laughs and his evil brood invade the DC Universe (with a little help from the Court of Owls) in the final pages of Dark Nights: Metal #2, their self-appointed leader gets straight to the business of breaking off on his own (evil Robins in tow), and breaking a number of Batman’s rogues out of Arkham Asylum. Instead of killing them, however, the Batman/Joker hybrid offers up a sick game for the Riddler and his fellow cellmates. The villains are each given a cosmic playing card, each one made of metal from the Dark Multiverse and imbued with the power to reshape reality to their whims.

    Instead of directly attacking the heroes of Gotham City, the Batman Who Laughs takes a cue from the Joker, who he shares more than a passing resemblance to with pale white skin and a toothy grin that will make your skin crawl. Why engage in a man-to-man battle when you can make your enemies jump through hoops of your own design? This is a game to him, so The Batman Who Laughs is appropriately holed up inside Challengers Mountain as the final boss. If Robin and the Gotham Resistance want to make their way to him, they’ll have to fight tooth-and-nail against unimaginable horrors constructed by Batman’s own rogues gallery.

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    The Dark Multiverse’s Twisted Damian Wayne

    After observing the Riddler’s failure, the Batman Who Laughs decides to toss a wildcard into the mix. When we first meet him earlier in the issue, we also saw his horde of evil Robins, held in check by chain collars. Whereas our Batman treats his sidekicks as equals, the Batman Who Laughs sees his cannibalistic Boy Wonders as nothing more than pets kept on a leash. There is something unnerving about seeing a Robin who looks like he’s been possessed by a vampire.

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    We soon learn there’s one Robin the Batman Who Laughs has kept on the sidelines. Instead of being treated like man’s best friend, the Batman Who Laughs refers to this Robin as his son. This, along with the Robin’s hooded cloak, appears to confirm that he’s got a twisted version of the Bruce Wayne and Damian Wayne father/son dynamic going on with Damian’s evil doppelganger.

    A question that must be asked, then, is if the Dark Multiverse Robin might come with his own perverted version of the Teen Titans as well? Or of fellow Gotham Resistance fighter Nightwing? For that matter, what happened to his mother, Talia al Ghul, or grandfather, Ra’s al Ghul?

    RELATED: Meet the Horrific Robins of the Batman Who Laughs

    The Dark Multiverse’s Batman Who Laughs has set up quite a trap for the heroes of the Gotham Resistance. He may not be the true puppet master behind Dark Nights: Metal — that title would go to the demon known as Barbatos — but he’s proving to be a force to be reckoned with. His story will continue to play out in the pages of the “Gotham Resistance” crossover, as well as his own, solo one-shot arriving later this year.

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