View Poll Results: Does the Joker know the Bat-family's identities?

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  • Yes

    44 61.11%
  • No

    12 16.67%
  • He knows some, but not all of them

    16 22.22%
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  1. #1
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    Default The Joker and the Secret Identities: Does he or doesn't he...? SPOILERS

    A major focus of the whole 'Death of the Family' event has been the whole 'Does he or doesn't he' tease in both the main 'Batman' title and in all the tie-ins. Does the Joker know who Batman is, and who all his allies really are?

    Batman himself seems to think not, even though there is evidence to suggest otherwise. And the evidence that the Joker knows is piling up with every issue and every encounter between the clown and a Bat-family member.

    Here we can discuss all the evidence and all the theories for and against...

    Let's list out the facts and assumptions vis a vi the identities of each Bat-family member in turn. There will of course be SPOILERS for every DOTF issue/tie-in released so far-


    Batman/Bruce Wayne

    The abduction of Alfred seemed to cinch it, but then again, Bruce proposed a pretty plausible explanation for why the Joker would target Alfred even WITHOUT knowing Batman's identity. Alfred is publicly known as Bruce Wayne's butler and is a major figure in Gotham in his own right...and Bruce Wayne is also publicly known to be Batman's ally and benefactor. And honestly, there's no real reason why that explanation doesn't work as far as the matter of Alfred's kidnapping goes.

    Then there's the matter of whether the Joker entered the Batcave or not years ago. Batman is confident that there's no way he could have made it in. Let us suppose however that the Joker DID make it in...does having access to the Batcave itself necessarily reveal to one that Batman is Bruce Wayne? Unless the Joker found a way to access Wayne Manor, or secretly observed Batman unmasking (both possibilities being highly unlikely), there's no way he would necessarily know the truth. Then again, with the Joker, ANYTHING is possible...

    Last, but not the least, there's the fact that the Red Hood Gang targeted Bruce Wayne years ago (back when Bruce was fighting them as an anonymous vigilante). We still don't know the whole story behind that, but assuming the Red Hood Gang leader was (pre)Joker, and that he'd somehow tied in Wayne with the anonymous vigilante and later, by extension, with the Batman (who would have debuted not long after)...then again, the Joker could have presumably known all along.

    Basically, it could go either way here.


    Batgirl/Barbara Gordon

    There seems to be a LOT of evidence to suggest that the Joker knows that Batgirl is Barbara Gordon, the woman he once crippled. There's the fact that, of all people, he had her mother abducted. Now, there's a plausible reason why Joker would abduct Barbara Sr. (given she's the ex-wife of Jim Gordon, another target the Joker loves tormenting)...but why would he specifically use her in a plan against BATGIRL of all people?! Unless he knows...

    It's not really difficult for the Joker to have put it together. After all, he's been keeping an eye on the Gordon family and knows all about them. He probably figured out that Batgirl disappeared shortly after he crippled Barbara Gordon, and that Batgirl suddenly reappeared years later not long after Barbara's miraculous surgery which put her back on her feet. It would have been easy for him to put two and two together, even if he DOESN'T know Batman's identity.

    If Joker doesn't know who Batgirl is...then there needs to be some kind of explanation for why he abducted Barbara Sr...because as far as he knows, there can be no other connection between Batgirl and the woman. Unless its just random...Joker combining his attacks on two targets, by abducting Jim Gordon's wife and using her to play mind-games with Batgirl!


    Robin/Damian Wayne

    If Joker knows that Batman is Bruce Wayne, figuring out the identity of the current Robin would be a no-brainer, especially since its publicly known (as per Batman Inc) that Damian is officially recognized as Bruce Wayne's son. That apart, there's nothing which really suggests that the Joker knows who Robin is...except for the fact that he constantly refers to Batman as Robin's 'father figure'. Now that of course can be a perfectly innocent and understandable remark; Batman has been a 'father figure' to all the Robins after all; but its curious that he's chosen to employ the phrase with Damian, but hasn't employed it with Nightwing or Red Hood thus far (although he's aware they are both former Robins)...

    Its also possible that Joker DOESN'T know Batman and Robin's true identities, but has still somehow deduced that the current Robin is Batman's biological son (maybe based on his age, some kind of similarity in their fighting styles/behavioral patterns etc.)?


    Nightwing/Dick Grayson

    Joker certainly knows that Nightwing was the original Robin (though that seems to be common knowledge among the rogue's gallery-even Penguin is aware of the fact, as is Lady Shiva). But does he know that Nightwing is Dick Grayson, Bruce Wayne's former ward?

    The fact that he abducted/freed Raya Vestri, known to be an enemy/former lover of Dick Grayson, and has chosen to target Amusement Mile, on the surface clearly suggests that Joker knows. However, there is an alternative explanation...its possible that the Joker abducted Raya knowing her to be a criminal whom Nightwing apprehended. And maybe he's targeting Amusement Mile, current home of the Haly's Circus, because Nightwing previously saved the circus, and thus he's guessed that Nightwing has some kind of an interest in protecting the circus.

    This is again something which CAN go either way, though on the surface at least, it seems that Joker knows the truth here.


    Red Hood/Jason Todd

    If there is even a grain of truth in the revelations of the zero issue, then its evident that the Joker knows EVERYTHING. Not only would he have known all along that Jason Todd was Robin and now Red Hood, but moreover, he could have figured out that Bruce Wayne was Batman (if he hadn't already at that point), and by extension, the identities of everyone else in the family.

    Alternatively, its possible he knows SOME things about Jason's past, and has just spun those few facts into an elaborate lie/fantasy, trying to convince Jason (and perhaps himself) that he is the architect of Red Hood's destiny. But how would that work exactly? Its one thing for him to have observed an unknown teenager escaping Leslie Thompkins clinic with stolen drugs and confronting Batman (and from there on, deducing that that teenager subsequently became the second Robin). But him knowing about Jason's father getting shot, or about his mother? That's a whole different ball-game.

    Of course, its possible that the Joker knows that Jason Todd was Robin (and everything about him manipulating Jason into becoming Robin was true)...but he doesn't know that Bruce Wayne is Batman. Even if he knew that Jason was taken in by Bruce Wayne, he could simply have assumed that Bruce, being Batman's ally, provided a home for the latter's new sidekick.


    Red Robin/Tim Drake

    Joker, again, CLAIMS that he knows who Tim is, though Tim doesn't believe him and again, he doesn't really offer much conclusive proof to suggest that he really knows. Interestingly enough, Joker does know that Tim was the 'third son' of Batman, and he also knows that Tim 'left' the Bat-family of his own choice. Of course, that doesn't really prove anything...he obviously knows that the first Robin became Nightwing, and he personally killed the second Robin (who later became Red Hood), so it would be obvious to him that Red Robin was the 'third'. Moreover, he's been keeping tabs on the Bat-family so careful observation would reveal that Red Robin no longer works with Batman in Gotham but is instead busy leading the Teen Titans. So really, there's nothing here to suggest that the Joker knows, beyond his own claim that he does.

    Then again, if the Joker knows who Batman is, or knows who Red Hood is (the latter being a very likely possibility, as discussed above) THEN its very likely he knows who Red Robin is. It would be interesting to know what the Joker meant when he said he knew Red Robin's 'real name' though...did he mean 'Tim Drake', or did he mean Tim's unknown original last name?
    Last edited by bat39; 01-03-2013 at 10:07 AM.

  2. #2
    '60s super villain Raptor13's Avatar
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    its been hinted that he knew since death IN the family, and in all honesty i think he did make it in the batcave. really? a waterproof yet adhesive stick onto his card that managed to get all the way through security on the side of the batboat after falling on top of it from the top of a blimp? he was in there.

    Nightwing i think he knows mainly because of Raya. I think that's proof enough that he knows that he released an enemy of Dick Grayson, not Nightwing per se.

    Red Hood, as you pointed out, is heavily implicated due to the zero issue. Even if he is an unreliable narrator, the Joker still knew those details he shouldn't be able to unless there was significant involvement and minor guessing to fill in the blanks.

    Damian if he knows batman he knows damian. period.

    Batgirl again you pointed out that the joker should be able to put two and two together- a red headed batgirl is not seen for awhile right after he paralyzes a red head who was raised in a family that supports batman, and then after that red head recovers, batgirl is magically back again.

    Bruce Wayne- like i said, i think he was in the cave. other than that he would have been able to figure it out by association with the above. finally, hes seen bruce wayne, he 'loves' batman, and the fact is a billionare playboy with 'ties' to batman inc. that is in that good of shape should be enough suspicion for anyone

    Tim Drake- honestly this is the only one that i think has a possibility of not knowing. if this story took place pre-reboot, then this argument would have a lot less weight, but in this new universe he was not involved directly with batman for as much time, plus tim drake is apparently not his real name anyway. he kind of struck out on his own rather quickly, and may not have had as much interaction with joker as the others.

  3. #3
    The Avatar of Vengeance melkorjunior's Avatar
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    By this point half of Gotham should suspect that Batman is Bruce Wayne. He has, what, three male wards, a new one for every time there's been a new Robin? He's been attacked by super bad guys in public how many times (at least twice already in the New 52)? He's already admitted he funds Batman, and he's physically right for it.

  4. #4
    Senior Member adkal's Avatar
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    Being in the cave doesn't mean knowing Batman is Bruce Wayne.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Raptor13 View Post
    Tim Drake- honestly this is the only one that i think has a possibility of not knowing. if this story took place pre-reboot, then this argument would have a lot less weight, but in this new universe he was not involved directly with batman for as much time, plus tim drake is apparently not his real name anyway. he kind of struck out on his own rather quickly, and may not have had as much interaction with joker as the others.
    Lobdell has confirmed in one of his recent Death of the Family interviews that most of Tim's adventures as Robin did take place as long as they work in the new continuity, but as Red Robin, and that he has encountered the Joker multiple times before.


    An interesting thing I realized [not sure if this is pointed out or not because I don't read Batman and Robin] is that this must be Damian's first encounter with the Joker, right? He's been gone for a year and was last seen fighting Bruce as Batman. Damian was Robin for a year after Bruce was Batman, so there's no way that he's met the Joker before [also making his pre-New 52 encounter with the Joker no longer canonical.]

  6. #6
    Senior Member adkal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hostile Kangaroo View Post
    An interesting thing I realized [not sure if this is pointed out or not because I don't read Batman and Robin] is that this must be Damian's first encounter with the Joker, right? He's been gone for a year and was last seen fighting Bruce as Batman. Damian was Robin for a year after Bruce was Batman, so there's no way that he's met the Joker before [also making his pre-New 52 encounter with the Joker no longer canonical.]
    The Joker specifically mentions their previous encounter...

  7. #7
    Senior Member Phelpzy's Avatar
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    After all the evidence I actually think he does know this time

  8. #8
    Junior Member SicSexSix's Avatar
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    If RIP is still considered in continuity, he saw Bruce unmasked in Arkham trying to save Jezebel, before she was revealed to be part of the Black Glove.

  9. #9
    Green Arrow rules J S Wolfwood's Avatar
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    I would say yes he does know and go the one step further of saying that Jim Gordon also knows Bat's identity

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by melkorjunior View Post
    By this point half of Gotham should suspect that Batman is Bruce Wayne. He has, what, three male wards, a new one for every time there's been a new Robin? He's been attacked by super bad guys in public how many times (at least twice already in the New 52)? He's already admitted he funds Batman, and he's physically right for it.
    This is the truth.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member Ed Sizzers's Avatar
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    All the evidence in the last two issues of Batgirl suggest that Joker doesn't know about Babs. Firstly, he sent thugs to kidnap both Barbara Snr and Babs (though obviously the guys sent on the latter mission fared less successfully!)

    When Batgirl first confronts Joker at the skating rink, he explains that to her that "I knew if I did enough canvassing in your area, you'd come visit", suggesting he had simply targeted the skating rink as being in an area Batgirl was commonly seen operating. With regard to his choice of hostage, although it does seem pretty coincidental that he just happened to pick Barbara Snr as his main hostage, as the ex-wife of Jim Gordon, she would be a high profile target... as, of course, would his daughter, hence the attempt to kidnap her too.

    It's in the Joker's language though, whenever he refers to Barbara Snr, that it appears he doesn't know that she's Batgirl's mother. His first reference to her in #14 is "There's a five-pound nail boom under this woman's chair" Even for Joker.. or perhaps particularly for Joker, that seems an unusual choice of language if he knew he was talking about Batgirl's mother.

    In #15, when Joker has revealed his intentions to Batgirl, again his choice of words does not suggest any knowledge about the two women's relationship. This time, he refers to Babs Snr at one point as "...the Commissioner's estranged honey pot". And, in so much as anyone can ever predict Joker's behaviour, it would be very out of character for him to have that knowlege and not bring it up, if only as another means to make Babs suffer.

    Not to mention, the very nature of Joker's (literal!) proposal. Bab's Snr isn't simply Barbara's mother in this scenario, she's Joker's future mother-in-law!! And for Joker to make no jokes, no quips, no gags, no passing remarks about that whatsoever (or of Jim being his 'Dad'), that's what makes me believe Joker is in the dark about who Batgirl is.

    Yes, he does refer to Bab's Snr as 'Mom' in the issue, but only in such a way that acknowledges he knows Babs Snr is a mother. Which, of course he does, as he sent his thugs to kidnap her daughter. I just don't think he know's that her daughter is his prospective wife!

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  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by adkal View Post
    The Joker specifically mentions their previous encounter...
    That's a pretty large plothole considering there is absolutely no point in time when they could have met...

  13. #13
    Senior Member adkal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hostile Kangaroo View Post
    That's a pretty large plothole considering there is absolutely no point in time when they could have met...
    He's been 'active' as Robin for over a year and a half. Their encounter was prior to 'Tec 1.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by adkal View Post
    He's been 'active' as Robin for over a year and a half. Their encounter was prior to 'Tec 1.
    Not sure where you got the year and a half, but I know he was active as Robin starting with Dick as Batman, and that was for one year. Joker encounter was with Dick as Batman. 'Tec 1 is with Bruce as Batman and the Joker is gone for a year after it. Unless it has been a year since the New 52 started [in story] which I HIGHLY doubt because DC was so strict about that five year timeline and keeping their heroes young.

  15. #15
    Senior Member adkal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hostile Kangaroo View Post
    Not sure where you got the year and a half, but I know he was active as Robin starting with Dick as Batman, and that was for one year. Joker encounter was with Dick as Batman. 'Tec 1 is with Bruce as Batman and the Joker is gone for a year after it. Unless it has been a year since the New 52 started [in story] which I HIGHLY doubt because DC was so strict about that five year timeline and keeping their heroes young.
    You've already admitted you haven't read Batman and Robin. The zero issue establishes that the 'Father. I imagined you taller' first meeting was a year and a half ago (from the point of the relaunch, according to some).

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