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Comic books are truly amazing. Why? Well, although there is usually a well-established mythology for every character and every narrative, each comic book universe is usually so large that there are a lot of alternative timelines and world where familiar characters end up in unfamiliar situations. Today’s article is going to be about one such story, a story where the Joker wasn’t the mysterious man we all know, but a rather well-known woman whose life had been ruined by “one bad day”. Keep reading to find out more!
In the alternative timeline created by the Flashpoint event, Martha Wayne went mad after Joe Chill killed Bruce Wayne (instead of Thomas and her) and became the Joker of that timeline, fighting opposite her husband, who had become Batman.
DC Comics, for those of you that are not familiar with the story behind the comics, is a major American comic book publisher founded back in 1934. Along with Marcel Comics, it is the most popular comic book publisher in the United States. DC Comics is a major player in the comic book business and is the “home” of many famous comic book characters such as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash and many others.
Now that we’ve given you a short introduction, let us discuss the topic of this article in more detail.
The Flashpoint event explained
Modern American comic books are known for their large in-universe crossover events which usually alter the status quo of the titles and the characters, signaling a big change. DC Comics had several such events, some of which were truly large-scale, while others were smaller in scope, but had large-scale repercussions. One such event is the Flashpoint event that started in 2011 and was triggered by Flash’s desire to save his mother from being killed.
Barry Allen, better known as the superhero Flash, travelled back in time to prevent Eobard Thawne, a.k.a. Reverse-Flash, from killing his mother, Nora. One day, he wakes up in a world similar to his own, but completely different – his mother is alive, his father is dead, he has no powers, Captain Cold is a superhero, there’s no Justice League, no Superman, Wonder Woman and Aquaman are at war and Batman is none other than Thomas Wayne. Believing that Thawne caused this, Barry tries to regain his powers and succeeds during a second attempt, aided by Thomas Wayne, only to find out from Thawne that he himself actually caused this, and not Thawne, when he went back in time to stop the murder of his mother. Thus, the Flashpoint timeline was created.
The Flashpoint universe was on the brink of destruction and with Batman’s help, Barry had to once again travel back in time – after defeating Thawne – to restore the original timeline, which he ultimately did, but not without consequences. During his travel through the Speed Force, he also found out about an impending danger, a warning that foreshadowed the events of the Doomsday Clock event.
This was a brief introduction to the Flashpoint event for those who did not know what it was, but these were really only the basic outlines of this event, which is much, much deeper and more complex.
Did Martha Wayne indeed become the Joker?
In the Flashpoint timeline, Batman’s character was completely different. Namely, while confronting the Wayne family in the alley next to the theatre, Joe Chill did not kill Thomas and Martha Wayne, as he did on Prime-Earth, but rather Bruce Wayne, their young son. This shattered the Waynes; Thomas became very dark and would soon become a violent Batman that killed his opponents, while Martha went mad and was subjected to therapy, but with no real effect.
Months after the tragedy, Thomas Wayne tracked down Joe Chill and decided to kill him, but before that he had a talk with his wife, saying to her that it was time to move on and that he missed her smile. Batman went and killed Chill, but when he returned, he found that his wife had cut her cheeks as to imprint a permanent smile on her face. Realising that she had gone completely mad, Thomas had his wife institutionalised, but she managed to escape, becoming one of Batman’s enemies – the Joker.
True to her Prime-Earth counterpart, the Martha Wayne version of the Joker caused havoc in Gotham. She was responsible for the shooting of Catwoman, Batman’s crime-fighting partner, and her subsequent paralysis, as well as for the murder of Harvey Dent’s daughter by James Gordon (as she tricked him into killing the child) and the murder of Gordon himself, as she slashed his throat herself.
When Batman faced his wife, he told her about Barry Allen and a timeline – the real timeline (Prime-Earth) – where they get killed instead of their son, who would later become Batman and protect Gotham City from supervillains, thinking it would calm her, but he was wrong. Realising that her son would actually become her worst enemy, Martha Wayne committed suicide by jumping off a cliff near Wayne Manor, with Thomas being unable to save her.
Martha Wayne as the Joker – in which comics did she appear in?
The Martha Wayne version of the Joker, as you’ve read, died by committing suicide in her own timeline. This severely limited her future appearances, as she was – unlike Thomas, who would later appear as a supervillain in the City of Bane event from the post-Rebirth Batman stories – dead. Yet, for your pleasure, we have compiled a short list of all of her appearances in the comic books:
|Flashpoint #1||July 2011|
|Flashpoint #2||August 2011|
|Flashpoint: Batman – Knight of Vengeance #1||August 2011|
|Flashpoint: Batman – Knight of Vengeance #2||September 2011|
|Flashpoint: Batman – Knight of Vengeance #3||October 2011|
|Justice League #40||June 2015|
|The Flash #21||June 2017|
|Batman #22||July 2017|
|Batman #84||February 2020|
|Batman #85||February 2020|
Oh, she also had a cameo appearance in The Flashpoint Paradox, one of the best DC Comics Animated movies from the DCAMU continuity.
And that’s it for today. We hope you had fun reading this and that we helped solve this dilemma for you. See you next time and don’t forget to follow us!