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As arguably DC's biggest character, there's not a whole lot we should change about Batman. I mean, he's Batman. The guy's awesome just the way he is.

Now, the world around him does need to change a fair bit. Starting with one of his most famous enemies.

Joker must either die or be massively reinvented.

Don't get me wrong, I love the guy as much as anyone. However, the character has been pushed too far. We've had thirty years worth of writers trying to have Joker do something even more horrifyingly evil and depraved than Death in the Family and The Killing Joke, and it's just gone too far. There's a reasons fans have argued for decades that The Killing Joke ends with Batman killing Joker. After all the horrifying things Joker does in that story, the idea that he just gets tossed into a cardboard prison only to escape and do it all again a week later just isn't a satisfying ending. Now to be fair to Moore, leaving Joker alive fits with the story's tone about just how insane the relationship between Bats and Joker is.

Problem is, that story became the gold standard everyone wanted to copy for him. We get stories like Joker's Last Laugh and Emperor Joker where he kills millions or even billions of people, and at the end he just gets tossed back into the same easily escapeable cardboard prison to do it all again next week.

Thus, he either finally dies (and stays dead for a significant time) or gets rebooted. If the latter, I'd change take inspiration from the DCAU. Keep him on theme and dangerous, but without the body count or ridiculously gruesome antics like cutting off his own face, then stapling his decaying skin onto his face (Seriously, WTF DC?).

However, I'd prefer a dead Joker, just for all the story options it opens up. That would be a huge way to hook in audiences for the reboot: End issue 1 with the revelation that Joker has been killed. We get a classic Batman detective story as the dark knight tries to find out whodunnit, with the extra twist that half the suspect pool comes from his own circle. Just about every member of the Bat Family has very good reasons to want Joker dead, as well as just about everyone else in Gotham. Hell, have him carry on the investigation in the face of other characters saying it doesn't even matter who killed him, or that if they found out they'd thank the killer.


And now, on to the Bat Family. Which will be getting a bit broken up for its own good.

Dick Grayson is Nightwing. He has dealt with his many Bat-Dad issues by becoming a Teen Titans character who doesn't do Batman stuff.

Barbara Gordon is Oracle. Keep her in the chair or have her leave it, but she's far more interesting leading the Birds of Prey than as Batgirl. As for the Birds, I'd keep the classic lineup of Oracle, Black Canary, Huntress, and Zinda, with the rest of the supporting cast moving in and out as suits the story. More Savant and Creote can only be a good thing.

Jason Todd can occupy the grey area he does in stories like "Under the Red Hood." A vigilante like Batman, but showing the darker side of that. Most RL vigilantes were not nice people. He can make a great contrast to Bats, and constantly skirt that line without ever leaping over it.

Tim Drake stays on as Robin. He was a good Robin, and someone needs to fill the role.

Cassandra Cain was the best Batgirl. It is known. Why ruin a good thing?

Stephanie Brown sticks with being Spoiler. Spoiler is awesome. She can bounce between the Bats and the Birds of Prey—maybe even make her a sidekick to one of the Birds. If nothing else, seeing her and Misfit bounce off each other should be grand.

Damian Wayne should be Nightwing's sidekick. Their chemistry is far better than Damian and his father. Easy enough to justify too—Bruce is self-aware enough of his failings to know his son needs balance in his life.

The Rogues Gallery is mostly fine. Just use the reboot the remove the couple "WTF were they thinking?" stories they build up over the years.

The biggest change I would make it to continue the trend of nudging Harley and Ivy together, and in a bit more of a grey direction. They make a very good double act, and seeing them bounce between anti-heroing and villainy would be fun.  Plus they're probably one of the most well-known homosexual couples in comics (Even if DC only officially outed them in 2015, the writers were making it clear from their first team-up in BTAS), and I ship them. Two very compelling reasons to keep them around.



Heh! I'm still rather fond of my own take on the original Joker/Harley/Ivy dynamic from the cartoon.  As I saw it, Harley was monomaniacally obsessed with Joker, Joker saw Harley as little more than a favorite toy to pet or torture at a whim, and Ivy was genuinely in love with Harley, though too Tsundere to be open about it.  Not that I thought Ivy and Harley's relationship was particularly healthy either.  Ivy's still a monster who has no compulsions against murdering anyone who gets in her way, or even just annoys her, and who has a pretty twisted idea of what she wants out of a family.  I mean, she basically constructed herself a 50s fantasy out of pod people who were more mindless slaves than loved ones, while basically keeping the original locked in her basement.  That said, ANY relationship is the freakin' Brady Bunch compared to what the Joker has with Harley, so it's easy to cheer for her.

I too wanted to tackle the issue with the Joker, but could find no situation that would make me happy. It's either abandoning logic and keeping him alive despite every human on the planet wanting him dead, or killing him right off and giving up on any new Joker stories, or toning him down to an annoyance instead of  a real threat, or somehow making him immortal so killing him is not an option.  These all SUCK.



Admittedly, it also depends on which version of Ivy they go with. The comics have occasionally toyed with a more anti-heroic angle with her whenever someone wants to make a point about environmentalism and stuff. For that matter, I'd definitely like to have Ivy mix it up with some of the other nature-themed characters in DC's stable. Give her some stuff with Swamp Thing, The Green, and the Parliament of Trees. It'd be a new direction to take her, and a pretty sensible one that could easily lead to character development. Put her in a bit more of an overall grey area, or really more of an alien one. She doesn't care about human or human morality, she's just focused on the planet/nature. Which makes Harley into her anchor to humanity, the one to keep her grounded instead of being totally focused on nature-y things. It wouldn't be a healthy relationship, but sometimes the unhealthy ones are the most interesting.

Fixing the mess they've made out of Joker wouldn't be easy. Using the reboot to tone down his constantly escalating monster-ness is an option, but it feels too much like a step back/admitting defeat. Making him immortal or adding any supernatural element removes a lot of his appeal. But the current version of him as of the New 52 is just ... no.



Whichever direction they go with the Joker, I'm still a bit tired of the whole 'Why doesn't Batman just kill him' debate.  He doesn't kill him BECAUSE HE'S BATMAN.  While he can be a very cold and rational character in some aspects, even overly so, in others he's a complete fanatic, and the biggest point in this regard is his refusal to accept death as an option.  He wouldn't be Batman if he thought maybe gunning down monsters was a good idea.

No, for me the real question will always be 'why hasn't EVERYBODY ELSE killed him yet?'.  Not a cop trying to stop him in the middle of a killing spree.  Not a would-be victim in self-defence.  Not his own thugs after he guns down some of their own comrades for a joke.  Not the other supervillains whom he repeatedly mocks and threatens.  Not an angry mob tired of living in the shadow of his evil.  Nothing.  Somehow every single person decided it's Batman's job to do that, and that's their final thought on the matter.



Yeah, I think "Under the Red Hood" did a good job of answering the question of why Batman doesn't kill Joker. He knows he's got a lot of issues and he's barely holding it together. If he cuts loose and kills Joker, he might not be able to stop. Not to mention all the problems it raises with his place as a more-or-less officially sanctioned vigilante—once bodies start turning up, it's a lot harder for everyone to tolerate him doing things that are technically illegal.

I'd definitely agree on the second half of it. Batman does not have sole responsibility for being Joker's executioner. Joker's continued survival in the DCU could raise all sorts of questions about the sort of society that's willing to passively accept mass murderers running around free. "Joker's Last Laugh" had what seemed like a much more likely scenario: once Joker's rampage goes into overdrive, the president sends the national guard after Joker and tells them to shoot to kill (pity the Bats insisted on taking Joker in alive). Or the justice system passes a law of some sort to deal with criminally insane people who rack up ridiculous body counts. Any of the heroes who don't have absolute codes against killing could deal with Mr J. Lots of options.



Rarity be damned, I have to say: YES TO SPOILER!

DC's issues with Stephanie Brown can go straight to hell.

Though with all the Bat-characters: Batman, Robin, Nightwing, Batwoman, Batgirl, Oracle, Batwing, Spoiler, Huntress, etc. maybe there should be a mini-Bat Legion within the Justice League?


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