Alfred once proved how much he cared about Batman by giving him an nemesis by creating the Joker persona. Alfred may have been doing Bruce a favor.
butler Alfred Pennyworth once proved how much he cared Batman by giving him an nemesis and the joker persona. While it may seem like the ultimate betrayal against the Dark Knight, Alfred may have done Bruce Wayne a favour.
There have been many stories that deviate from the mainstream canon of the DC Universe, as depicted in other worlds† However, a lesser-known alternate story contained a twist that forces readers to rethink what they know about Batman. At a funeral for the fallen Caped Crusader, his friends recall the heroic life he led. Likewise, his rogue gallery reminisces about their encounters with Batman. The multi-part storyline “Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?” started with batman#686, written by Neil Gaiman with art by Andy Kubert, Scott Williams and Alex Sinclair.
It was revealed that Alfred created the Joker’s identity to antagonize Batman and presented himself as the Dark Knight’s greatest villain. The bizarre turn may seem like a betrayal, but Alfred’s motivation was genuine. After realizing that Batman’s other villains like Riddler and the Penguin didn’t stand a chance against him, Alfred saw the need for a new criminal mastermind to stand up and challenge Bruce. With clown makeup and the signature purple suit, he became the Joker. With his maniacal smile, Alfred transformed from the humble butler and ironically fell into a cliche of murder mystery.
Eventually, Batman found out what was going on, probably suspicious when he finally faced a villain who had a chance against him. The story recontextualized Batman’s comic book history thus far, as the revelation invalidated the Joker’s threat. The villain known for his chaotic motivations had been replaced by Bruce’s most trusted friend and caretaker who acted out of compassion. While the Joker’s plans to destroy Gotham City were never personal, Alfred’s plan was to help Batman become a greater hero, at least in his own eyes.
The meta twist capitalizes on the iconic dynamic between the Joker and Batman, as they have often knocked each other out as a force of chaos and a force of order. Some writers have treated their enemy status as a dysfunctional relationship because they are obsessed with each other. While the joker takes pleasure in terrorizing Gotham as a way to meet Batman, the Dark Knight has hinted to enjoy the fight just as much. With the revelation that it was so Alfred all the time their dynamics actually make a lot of sense.
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