Warning: this article contains spoilers for Flashpoint Beyond #5!
The Joker remains Gotham City’s greatest enigma. Who was he before becoming an insane criminal mastermind? Did he actually have a family? What is his real name? While there’s a lot we may never know where Joker’s origin story is concerned, one of those questions is finally answered in the pages of Flashpoint Beyond.
A sequel to 2011’s Flashpoint, Flashpoint Beyond follows the Thomas Wayne of this alternate timeline as he comes to terms with the sudden return of his old reality and hunts for the elusive Clockwork Killer. That serial killer has since been revealed to be Martha Wayne, who became the Joker of the Flashpoint timeline after her son Bruce was murdered in Crime Alley.
In issue #5, Thomas confronts his estranged wife in her cell at Arkham Asylum. Martha reveals that she forced Psycho-Pirate (a villain notable for having extensive knowledge of the multiverse) to reveal everything he knew about the main DC Universe timeline, including the identity of that world’s Joker. His real name is Jack Oswald White.
Martha reveals that she even paid a visit to the Flashpoint version of Jack Oswald White, discovering him to be a struggling family man supporting his wife and child through a janitorial job at Wayne Casino. But despite living in poverty, this version of Jack is happy, never undergoing the same traumatic ordeal as seen in Batman: The Killing Joke.
This isn’t the first time a Batman story has revealed Joker’s real name. 1989’s Batman depicts him as a gangster named Jack Napier, a name that later carried over to the comics via the alternate universe of Batman: White Knight. 2019’s Joker, meanwhile, casts Joaquin Phoenix as struggling comedian Arthur Fleck. But this is the first time Joker has been given a name in the core DC Comics continuity.
Of course, as Joker famously said, the past is multiple choice. There’s always room for doubt and interpretation with this villain. It’s also worth remembering that co-writer Geoff Johns previously introduced the plot twist that there are actually three Jokers in the DCU. While Batman: Three Jokers may or may not be part of the official DC canon, one could argue that this reveal still leaves the true identity of the other two Jokers up in the air.
Do you like the name Jack Oswald White? Is this a name DC should have kept shrouded in mystery? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
In other Batman news, the classic Hush storyline is getting a new companion story in the upcoming Batman: Hush 20th Anniversary Edition, and Gotham Knights: Gilded City is fleshing out the world of the upcoming video game.
Jesse is a mild-mannered staff writer for IGN. Allow him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket by following @jschedeen on Twitter.