by Jim Vejvoda
July 5, 2012
A new tie-in book for The Dark Knight Rises offers fresh clues to what made Heath Ledger's Joker tick in 2008's The Dark Knight.
The Dark Knight Manual, a newly published coffee table book from Insight Editions, includes a Gotham Police Department report on the Clown Prince of Crime that's broken down into three categories: Joker's Crimes, Known and Suspected, Leading Up to His Incarceration; Identity; and Possible Motives.
The report was generated following Joker's final capture at the end of the movie as it also includes the death of Rachel Dawes. But it's the Identity section that offers the tastiest morsels about who the Joker really is, although the GCPD report says "we are still no closer to ascertaining his identity."
The report suggests that since many of Joker's henchmen were former patients of Arkham Asylum that maybe he was one, too, but they'd yet to find any record of him there.
The second theory to Joker's identity is particularly intriguing as it suggests a way for Dick Grayson to exist within Nolan's Batman universe: "The Joker does not appear to have any connections to Gotham's crime syndicates, though he knocked over a mob bank. One possible motive for this, which could also explain the clown motif, is the Haley Brothers Circus. The circus was recently in town for a two-month engagement and it was rumored their boss had connections to Sal Maroni. The Joker could be a former Haley Brothers employee with some kind of grudge against the mob."
Comics readers will know that Haly's Circus was the home to the Flying Graysons, who were killed after Sal Maroni's associate Tony Zucco sabotaged their ropes in order to send a message to the circus owners that the mob intended on using their trucks to ship drugs. (SPOILER: Speculation that Joseph Gordon-Levitt's cop character John Blake is a potential Batman successor/would-be Robin will only be fueled by the revelation in The Dark Knight Manual that Blake, like Bruce Wayne, is an orphan who "channeled his anger and pain ... into his work serving and protecting the people of Gotham.")
The GCPD report offers one other theory about the Joker's identity: "Given the Joker's access to, and relative comfort with, military-grade technology such as grapple cannons, weaponized gases, explosives, and automatic weapons, it is possible that the man is a former soldier, perhaps suffering from severe PTSD." The report later suggests "anarchy" as a possible motive for Joker's crimes, speculating: "The Joker has murdered or attempted to murder various civic officials. It is possible that he is an extremist anti-government agitator or a soldier angry with the government for sending him to war."