Joker: Endgame is the name of the Joker’s ultimate plan. We see him execute this plan in Batman: Endgame storyline. In this story, Joker is hell-bent on killing Batman and the lethality of the plan was so huge. That it saw Batman team up with his rogues’ gallery to stop The Joker for the first time ever in comic book history.
This story also explores the possibility of Joker being immortal. And we also get to see certain proofs of his immortality. That indicates Joker’s presence in Gotham city long before his first encounter with Batman. Joker appears in this story for the first time after the events of Batman: Death of the Family.
Batman: Death of the Family
In Batman: Death of the Family Joker captures Batman and tells him that he will kill all of his allies. Because he believes that the allies of The Dark Knight have made him weak. Batman also reveals that he saw a Joker card in the Batcave indicating he knows about the cave. But dismisses the idea that Joker might have found the Batcave. However, other members are upset that Batman might have put them in danger by not revealing this in time.
Joker claims to know the secret identities of all the members of the Batfamily. Joker even attacks the Batcave in this story and captures the Batfamily as well. TheJoker has also exposed them to his toxin gas in order to make them fight each other. It is also implied that The Joker has removed the faces of all the members of Batfamily.
But Batman succeeds in saving his partners and by removing the bandages on their faces, he finds their faces intact. They are also able to resist the Joker toxin gas and do not fight each other as the Joker intended them to.
On seeing this Joker runs away towards a large drop and when Batman threatens to whisper The Joker’s true identity in his ear. The clown prince of crime jumps to his apparent death with his face is separated from him.
Joker does not appear in any Batman comics after this story for quite some time. And he finally makes his appearance in Batman: Endgame storyline to execute his most ruthless plan till date.
Joker begins to execute his master plan in Batman: Endgame storyline. According to the writers of the story, the main reason behind The Joker’s motivation in this story is Batman’s betrayal. The Joker thinks that due to Batman’s allies the special bond that they both shared is now broken. And as a result, The Joker is going to destroy everything.
This story also marks the 75th Anniversary of Batman and is an excellent tribute to Batman on his anniversary. Snyder also described Endgame as a story of hatred and therefore the stakes were very high. Joker even entered the Batcave in this story. And also chops off Alfred‘s hand in his hatred.
The story begins when Batman is recovering in his new base and is attacked by Wonderwoman. While fighting her he is ambushed by the Flash and Aquaman. Batman uses his contingency plan “Fenrir” to subdue the members of the Justice League but is soon attacked by Superman. He then fights a seemingly merciless Superman. It is revealed during the fight that they are infected with a powerful dose of the Joker toxin that is perfected to infect the league members individually.
After managing to subdue the Justice League, Batman visits Arkham Asylum in hopes of finding a clue leading him to Joker. At the asylum, an orderly locks him in Joker’s cell and exposes him to a paralytic gas revealing himself as the Joker, by removing his make-up. He reveals that he had been using muscle relaxants in combination with other drugs and make-up, to hide his appearance.
He further tells Batman that he has become boring for him. And he will permanently end their relationship and begin his grand plan. And Batman will be helpless due to his paralysis.
Batman’s Fight Against Joker Endgame plan
Joker then releases an incurable airborne pathogen throughout Gotham. Exposure to this pathogen causes the people to violently attack each other in hatred while making them look like the Joker. Batman recovers from the paralysis and confronts John Dekker (The person who helped Joker in making the toxin) to provide the cure to this pathogen.
John reveals that he was only able to make the cure for Joker by extracting a naturally occurring compound in Joker’s spine. He also tells Batman that Joker is immortal. And injects himself with a serum that Joker gave him for immortality. But the serum kills him instead.
Gordon on the other hand visits Gotham Presbyterian hospital where he finds photos and records of Gotham from a time way before his first encounter with Batman. But is also infected by the toxin. Alfred’s daughter Julia deduces that Joker is using an antidote to protect himself from the effects of the toxin. And the exposed people will die within 24 hours if a cure is not found.
On hearing this, a desperate Batman even asks the court of owls for help but to no avail. Joker then infiltrates the Batcave and butchers Alfred’s hand due to his resistance. He then takes all of Batman’s trophies. After this the Joker leads a parade through the city, leading floats bearing the trophies through the infected citizens.
Batman rallies his family and several of his greatest foes to band together against the Joker to save the city they all share. Joker succeeds in defeating them by exposing all of them to the Joker toxin. But on unmasking Batman, he finds Nightwing under the cowl. He dressed up as Batman as a distraction to buy Batman time in order to find a cure to the Joker toxin.
Discovery of Dionesium By Batman In Joker: Endgame
Meanwhile, Batman is searching for answers in the cave system below Gotham where Joker fell down at the end of Death in the family storyline. He finds a pool of pure Dionesium in one of these caves. Batman figures out that this is the compound that gives Joker his immortality and is also the cure for the toxin.
This cave is also rigged with Joker explosives. Joker reaches the cave and confronts Batman, triggering the explosives they fight each other with Batman getting mortally wounded in the fight. Batman reveals that Joker has failed and he has already provided his allies with a large quantity of the Dionesium to cure themselves and the city.
As the fighting ensues a falling stalactite in the cave falls on Joker breaking his back. He attempts to crawl into the pool to cure himself but is restrained by Batman. Both of them lie on the cave’s floor motionless, as the cave falls on them seemingly killing them both.
In the aftermath of this amazing story, Alfred refuses to re-attach his hand as he believes that there is no one left to care for after the death of Master Wayne. He is also seen reading the final letter that Bruce left for him before his demise.
The story was very well-received with some even believing that this should be the final Batman story. And anything after this will not be able to match it.