I’m still not entirely sure how DC’s new Dark Nights: Metal is going to incorporate that terrifying squad of evil, alternate universe Batpeople, but that doesn’t matter right now. Folks, we need to have a talk about the Batman Who Laughs and his creepy-ass Robins and how I’m never sleeping again.
Part of what’s so odd about the evil Batpeople is that in addition to clearly being influenced by Bruce Wayne (are they all alternate versions of Bruce?) they’re also styled after other members of the Justice League and villains Batman’s fought. So there’s an evil BatFlash known as “The Red Death” and an evil BatBorg who goes by “The Murder Machine.” Cute. The Batman Who Laughs is—spoiler—a blend of Batman and Joker, which was a legit interesting concept I was looking forward to until I learned that this Batman also has a bunch of maniac Robins. More than that, though, these Robins don’t just appear to be deranged monsters like their partner, they’re all chained up as if they’re his slaves. Take a look at them as illustrated by Jason Fabok (black and white) and Mirka Andolfo (color):
Clearly these children are being well taken care of in whatever messed up dimension they’re from. As disturbing as these new Robins are, there is a weird kind of honesty about them that most Batman comics have tried to avoid over the years.
No matter how much of a positive spin Bruce tries to put on it, he’s spent decades collecting underage apprentices, indoctrinating them into his life of vigilantism, and putting their lives in mortal peril. Bruce Wayne’s always been a menace to Gotham’s population of young, vulnerable people in need of a mentor figure. The Batman Who Laughs just happens to be much more up front about his own nefariousness.
You can get your first look at these new Robins September 13th in Teen Titans #12.