The Dark Knight's Joker Quote Gets a Call out in DC Comics

Spoilers ahead for Batgirls #3!

In Batgirls #3, one of the most iconic quotes regarding the Joker from director Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy gets a shout out. Barbara Gordon, Spoiler and Cassandra Cain are working to unravel the mystery of Gotham’s newest villain the Tutor, and there are definite parallels between the Tutor and the Joker, particularly as depicted by Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight. The issue is on sale now in print and digital.

Batgirls follows the adventures of the three former Batgirls, who have come together to form their own team. Utilizing Barbara Gordon’s skills as an information scientist, Spoiler and Cassanda Cain are helping Gotham heal after the recent Fear State event, which nearly destroyed the city. The Tutor has risen in the wake of the Magistrate’s collapse. This mysterious new villain is using a combination of graffiti and a Fear Gas variant to stir up trouble in Gotham; the Tutor rails against what he feels is a corrupt and unjust city. The police, city officials and even costumed vigilantes have been the target of the Tutor’s ire. The previous issue ended with Cassandra Cain and Spoiler tracking the Tutor to the scene of his latest installation, only to see him turn the citizens of Gotham into mindless zombies. The issue, part three of “One Way or Another,” is written by Becky Cloonan and Michael Conrad, illustrated by Jorge Corona, colored by Sarah Stern and Ivan Plascencia and lettered by Becca Carey.

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After falling prey to the Tutor’s powers, causing them to see visions of their fathers. The Tutor gives the duo the slip, forcing them to fall back to their headquarters to regroup. They learn the Tutor will be holding a show on board a cruise ship docked in the Harbor, and they decide to infiltrate it. The night of the show, local news journalist Grace O’Halloran speculates on the mysterious Tutor, asking if he is an artist, or “just another wing nut who wants to watch the world burn.”

Fans will recognize O’Halloran’s quote as a riff on the now-classic line, spoken by Alfred in The Dark Knight, about the Joker, “Some men just want to watch the world burn.” As portrayed by the late Heath Ledger, the Joker embodied that quote; he cared little for money or being the leader of the Gotham City underworld—he just wanted to sow the seeds of chaos and destruction. While the Tutor’s true origin and motivations remain a mystery for now, there are definite parallels between the two. The Tutor, so far, seems to be protesting an unjust system—he has shown little interest in money, power, or material possessions. The Tutor sees a society driven by greed and consumerism, and he seeks to disrupt it.

If this is the case, it would make the Tutor’s quest altruistic, if extreme. There is still more to learn about this mysterious new villain, and it could be revealed he is working for someone else. However, given his actions, the Tutor brings to mind Heath Ledger’s chilling depiction of the Joker, and this gets a callout in Batgirls #3.

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