Batman Beyond’s Future Had 2 Jokers Return From the Dead

Upon its release, Batman Beyond did the unthinkable: it launched a successful Batman story without the Joker. Rather than relying on the villains of the past, Batman Beyond paved its own way with a new batch of bad guys, some of which pay tribute to the past, but most of which are totally original. But, old habits die hard, and the urge to bring the fan-favorite villain, the Joker, back into continuity was too great to resist. What’s interesting, though, is that it happened twice, and in two completely different ways.

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Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker is a film that told the story of the Joker’s return to Gotham City. In the movie, it’s revealed that the Joker–during the time of Bruce Wayne’s Batman–kidnaps Tim Drake and implants a microchip in his head containing the Joker’s own consciousness. After the Joker died, he was able to return upon the activation of the chip in Drake’s head. The Joker effectively possessed Tim Drake, which then molded Drake’s body into that of the original Joker, meaning the Joker quite literally returned from beyond the grave. While this method of coming back to life was effective, it was pretty convoluted and with seemingly slim chances of success (despite the fact that it was actually successful). When the Joker returned from the dead in the Batman Beyond future the second time, it was a bit more practical–and much more literal.



Batman Beyond was Nearly Plagued with 2 Jokers

Joker returns from the dead in Batman Beyond.

In Batman Beyond #3 by Dan Jurgens and Bernard Chang, Terry McGinnis is undercover, infiltrating the Jokerz. The Jokerz are a futuristic gang who idolize the original Joker. They dress like him, operate like him, and stand for the same thing the Joker stood for: insanity. Sure, they rob and steal, but they mostly cause chaos wherever they can, which is exactly why Terry is determined to take them down. While dressed in full clown makeup and deep within the Jokerz hangout, Terry comes across something truly horrific: the Joker. As explained to him by one of his allies, the Joker’s body was kept in stasis after he supposedly died during his final fight with Batman, a fight that left the body of the seemingly deceased Joker in the freezing cold. After that battle, the Joker’s minions retrieved his body and kept him on life support. For all intents and purposes, the Joker was dead, which is why he had to wait until the technology he needed for revival was invented. Now, during the Batman Beyond future, that wait is finally at its end.

When the Joker came back to life in Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, it wasn’t really the Joker who came back, but a copy of his consciousness within the body of Tim Drake, which is little more than a clone of the original Joker. In the comic, the Joker’s original body is revived using heightened technology, which is way more of a true resurrection. Despite which one was more practical, however, the most interesting aspect of these two storylines is that they’re basically happening at the same time–or, at least, had the capacity to happen at the same time. The Joker who copied his consciousness into Tim Drake is the same one who was ‘killed’ by Batman in the icy tundra. That means there could have been two Jokers at the same time running around Neo Gotham, which is something even Batman would have trouble against, proven true within the Three Jokers storyline where Batman had to call upon the entire Bat-Family to defeat more than one Clown Prince of Crime.

Even though they weren’t resurrected at the same time, and regardless of which one was more practical/literal, the fact that the Joker returned from the dead twice in Batman Beyond is absolutely insane–which is perfectly on-brand for the Joker.

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