Spoilers ahead for this week's Batman Who Laughs #7.
In the next few months, DC is leading fans (and characters) on a guessing game. Not only are readers guessing which of its characters are part of the secret spy organization in Event Leviathan … they’ll also need to ask, which of them have secretly been infected by the Batman Who Laughs?
The scorecards for both questions are pretty sparse so far. But this week’s Batman Who Laughs #7 added another good-guy-turned-bad to the list for the Batman Who Laughs: Jim Gordon.
The end of Batman Who Laughs #7, which concluded the limited series by Scott Snyder and Jock, revealed that James Gordon has been infected, unbeknownst to Batman.
The new Batman/Superman title debuting in late August will feature a plot that hinges on Batman and Superman finding people who were secretly infected by the Batman Who Laughs.
Who’s Infected So Far?
So far, readers have been told that Billy Batson, the boy who has the power to become Shazam, has already been infected.
The revelation came from the cover of Batman/Superman #2 (which featured the infected Shazam), as well as a preview for Batman/Superman #1.
The preview showed Superman and Batman entering Batman Who Laughs’ Batcave, where they discovered molds for making Batarangs tinged with the toxin. And they found a hologram that indicated any of the heroic characters in the DCU (or even all of them) are already infected.
“Any of them could potentially be targets for his infected Batarangs,” Batman said in the preview. “We’d question everyone. Our friends. Our families. So we’d have no idea who we can trust.”
By the end of the preview for Batman/Superman #1, the duo discovered that young Billy Batson has already been infected. The boy known as Shazam has been turned into one of the creepy Robin “Crows” that serve the Batman Who Laughs.
According to Billy, he was taken from his family and was infected by a hit from one of the Batarangs.
How Jim Was Infected
It’s not clear exactly how the Batman Who Laughs infected Jim Gordon with his toxin, but there were several opportunities during the course of Batman Who Laughs.
Back in issue #5, Jim Gordon was bitten by one of the Grim Knight’s “Crows” — an alternate version of his son James Gordon Jr. The toxin might have entered his bloodstream at that time.
Later in the series, the Grim Knight was forcing Jim into a pool of toxin, urging him to open his mouth and drink it. There’s a possibility Jim accidentally took a sip, or perhaps his open wound or total immersion hastened the process.
Whatever the cause, the end of Batman Who Laughs makes it clear that Jim Gordon isn’t sharing his condition with anyone. In fact, he says out loud that he feels fine — “never better.”
Besides the preview for Batman/Superman #1, when readers are told that any of the heroes of the DCU could have already be compromised by the toxin, future solicitations for Batman/Superman have teased some surprising developments.
Not only is there going to be a “Secret Six” who serves the Batman Who Laughs, but Superman himself may succumb to the toxin. And one of the Secret Six will be someone who’s “closer to Superman than expected.”
When Batman/Superman #1 launches the new series on August 28, readers will begin to learn who — besides Shazam and Jim Gordon — is being infected by the toxin of the Batman Who Laughs