The mystery first introduced by Geoff Johns and Jason Fabok in the pages of 2016’s Justice League #50 will finally be solved on June 17 with the release of Batman: Three Jokers, a three-part miniseries from Johns and Fabok being published in prestige format under DC’s Black Label imprint.
Fittingly, the series will explore three different versions of the Joker — the first one introduced in Batman #1 in 1940 as well as the versions of the villain that appeared in the infamous “A Death in the Family” storyline that killed off the second Robin and Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s seminal one-shot The Killing Joke. In fact, Fabok describes Three Jokers as a “spiritual sequel” to the Moore/Bolland classic.
“I consciously infused a lot of that Brian Bolland, even the way he would tell stories through his panels,” Fabok told EW. “The Killing Joke has sat next to my desk for the last two years. I’ve been constantly referencing it, and even following a lot of the rules of how he laid out his panels in that book. I really want it to feel like it could be a spiritual sequel, at least artistically.”
Three Jokers revolves around a question Batman has been trying to answer since he first sat in the all-knowing Mobius Chair in 2016. When asked by Batman to reveal the Joker’s true identity, the chair answered that there were three distinct Jokers running around the DC Universe. This mystery has haunted the Dark Knight ever since.
Batman won’t be alone in solving this enigma, though. Batgirl and Red Hood, two characters directly affected by the Joker’s cruelty, will be major players in the story, according to DC. It’s a fitting trio of heroes to face off with this trio of Jokers. Jason Todd, the second Robin and now the vigilante Red Hood, was brutally murdered by the Joker in “A Death in the Family,” while the Barbara Gordon version of Batgirl was shot and crippled by the Joker in The Killing Joke.
Johns teased that all of these characters will have to deal with their traumatic pasts with the Joker in the miniseries: “Barbara and Jason have gone through so much, as has Bruce, and it’s really focused on healing, on scars and wounds and what that does to somebody. If you suffer some trauma, you don’t just get over with it and move on with your life, it changes who you are. Sometimes it changes you for the better, sometimes it changes you for the worse. You can heal right, and you can heal wrong. That’s really what the book’s about: Healing right, healing wrong, and surviving.”
Johns has said in the past that this book will be in-continuity despite it being published under the Black Label line. It’ll be interesting to see how the events of Three Jokers changes the Batman mythos going forward, especially after the writer just made some pretty universe-shattering changes to the status quo in the pages of Watchmen/DC Rebirth sequel Doomsday Clock. Does Three Jokers somehow play into the bigger Meta-verse introduced by Johns in his Watchmen series?
Batman: Three Jokers will release monthly, with issue #2 out in July and #3 out in August. The book is colored by Brad Anderson and lettered by Rob Lee.
Check out the covers for all three issues as well as some interior art below: