For years us Wing-nuts have been begging for an epic Dick Grayson arc. Wolfman failed to deliver and Tomasi was cut short during their respective NIGHTWING runs. Grant Morrison, however, has delivered in the twelfth issue of BATMAN & ROBIN, entitled Batman vs. Robin(part 3).

                The story picks up exactly where it left off last time, with the revelation that Deathstroke the Terminator is controlling Damian Wayne’s every move (at the direction Damian’s mother Talia Al Ghul, of course). Morrison puts his stamp on the debate of who Grayson’s greatest enemy is with Slade’s insistence in wanting “Grayson to know it was me who crippled him” and later stating stating “this one’s for the memories Grayson.” Morrison repeatedly busts out the Grayson history, firstly with Talia referencing his training of Deathstroke’s daughter Rose and later when the former Wing-Man himself asked Slade “Oh, and did I mention the 100,068 people you killed in Bludhaven?” Slade couldn’t get a word in before Dick nailed him in the face and promised they would get back to that discussion at a later point. The continuity knows no bounds as Batman is able to defeat the Deathstroke controlled Robin by sending electrical pulse pounds into the current Boy Wonder which Deathstroke could feel due to his heightened senses.

                After the battle Alfred tends to the boys wounds and Richard recollects his adventure through the dark trenches of the batcave from issue eleven; “I followed a length of railroad track to an underground river and there was a statue with a tunnel behind and I found that box and, the casket” The box was stolen by some other bad guys during the Grayon-Wilson battle (which is a thread that will most likely be picked up in the RETURN OF BRUCE WAYNE mini-series). Dick asks if they even learned anything on the whereabouts of Bruce Wayne (these pasts three issues), to which Alfred shows the duo the truth about design of Wayne Manor… it is shaped in the form of the Bat-Signal.

                Dick and Damien then bust down Talia’s doors which ends in a significant conversation between mother and daughter where Mommy Al Ghul tells Damian “You may consider yourself an enemy of the house of Al Ghul” and shows him a new little test tube baby that she is growing to replace her son, the partner of the “circus boy.”

                Many more holy crap moments ensued, including a train ride with Dr. Hurt heading back to Gotham in addition to a scene with our resident Bat Family heroes journeying back through those dark batcave trenches, but the real money shot is the last three pages of the book. Within these panels is revealed the true identity of one Oberon Sexton, a sort of British grave digger. Master detective Richard Grayson tells Sexton that his partner thought he recognized the grave digger, but “I’m not Bruce Wayne under this mask” is his reply. Grayson aka Batman told his partner, prior to the visit, “if I’m right about Sexton… nothing less than our best can see us through” and during the visit he tells Sexton what all of the recent deaths he the two have been investigating have in common… “they’re all jokes.” At this point the mask is off and the Joker is revealed to have been Oberon Sexton and the Domino Killer, simultaneously this entire time.

         The Joker is most definitely the most iconic comic book villain, in existence.

Is it The Joker’s origin, or rather, the lack thereof that firmly establishes him as the most iconic villain in all of comic-dom? There is no other comic book villain, at the level of prominence that the Joker holds, who has no definitive origin. Is he so iconic that an origin can never be created for him? I say, yes. Even the object of fan boy worship, Alan Moore, attempted to create an origin for The Chaplain of Chicanery in his modern day classic, THE KILLING JOKE, which has been confirmed time and again to be only one possible origin of many. And if Moore couldn’t nail down a definitive origin for the character then, short of Black Lantern Bill Finger, no one can…

Who else has affected their arch-nemesis so deeply as to kill their partner and paralyze another? If there are two things that Batman is 100% completely against, it is 1-guns and 2-killing. Joker has caused Bruce Wayne’s most recent partner, Tim Drake, to use a gun to kill him (Joker) in the BATMAN BEYOND animated film, Jason Todd to assume Joker’s previous identity (Red Hood) and fight crime by killing criminals in addition to causing Bruce Wayne’s original partner, Dick Grayson, the current Batman, to kill him (Joker) in the LAST LAUGH mini-series. Not to mention, Wayne himself was almost pushed to the brink of murder, but instead opting to break the clown prince of crime’s neck in THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS.

            He most obvisouly knows Batman’s identity is Bruce Wayne, but just doesn’t care. Is it because he only enjoys interaction with the Bat? Or does he see Bruce Wayne the same way in which it seems that Wayne sees himself? Wayne is the disguise and Batman is the true identity…