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"The Return of the Joker"
Batman number 451 (front cover).jpg
Cover of Batman #451, the conclusion to "Return of the Joker" art by Norm Breyfogle.
PublisherDC Comics
Publication dateJuly 1990 – February 2001
Title(s)Batman #450-#451
Main character(s)Batman
Creative team
Writer(s)Marv Wolfman, Darren Vincenzo
Artist(s)Norm Breyfogle
Penciller(s)Jim Aparo, Craig Rousseau
Inker(s)Mike DeCarlo, Rob Leigh
Letterer(s)John Constanza, Tim Harkins
Colorist(s)Adrienne Roy, Chris Chucky
Editor(s)Dennis O'Neil

"The Return of the Joker" is a storyline in Batman Comics which features a villain posing as Batman's arch-foe, the Joker, who is believed to be dead. It was published by DC Comics in February 2001.


A judge is found hung, and Commissioner Gordon believes that the Joker is the culprit. Bruce Wayne decides to send his ward, Tim Drake, to school in Tokyo, wanting to spare him from Jason Todd's fate. The Joker then attacks an investment party, stealing cash and jewels from the audience. Gordon feels that something is different about the way the Joker operates, and concludes that this Joker is an impostor. Meanwhile, in his hideout, the real Joker fumes at his name being wrongly used. Still recovering from the near-death experience he suffered in the "Death in the Family" storyline, he decides to regain his confidence by committing a series of crimes as his old alter-ego, the Red Hood.

After regaining his self-confidence, the Joker goes after the impostor, with Batman in pursuit. Both of the Jokers meet in a violent confrontation, with the real Joker gaining the upper hand. They get stopped by Batman and the police, but both of the Jokers escape. The impostor lures his three pursuers to the chemical plant where the Joker was born. In order to become like his idol, the impostor jumps into the vat of toxic waste which disfigured the Joker — only for him to die instantly. Batman arrests the real Joker, who willingly gives up.[1]


"The Return of the Joker" is the continuing story-arc after "A Lonely Place of Dying" and "A Death in the Family". The Joker's origins were depicted before in "The Man Behind The Red Hood!" story-arc, which was later re-imagined in the one-shot graphic novel Batman: The Killing Joke.

Additional Information

  1. ^ Vejvoda, Jim (2019-10-11). "Joker Ending Explained: What Happened at the End of Joker?". IGN. Retrieved 2022-03-12.

The issue has 52 pages and it was on sale for 2,95 USD and 4,50 CAD in 2001. The cover page is signed by Craig Rousseau on the pencils and Rob Leigh on Inks.