Jack Napier, also known as the White Knight and the Joker is the protagonist of the story Batman: White Knight and is a recurring character in its sequel Batman: Curse of the White Knight.
He is an alternate version of the Joker however unlike the mainstream Joker, he rehabilitates and tries to become a force for good in a world where Batman has gone off the deep-end and become overly violent.
Jack Napier was a highly intelligent young man who was born and raised in the country before hitchhiking to Gotham City in hopes of becoming a stand-up comedian. Due to either bad comedic taste, picking at touchy Gotham subjects or a combination of the two, Jack failed at his dreams and was forced to take up non-violent petty-crimes to pay the bills.
At some point, this lead to Jack to falling into a vat of chemicals resulting in his skin being bleached white, his brown eyes turning green & purple, his hair being dyed green and his lips turning red. The chemical bath triggered a chemical imbalance in Jack's brain-chemistry which resulted in him becoming the violent and sadistic criminal known as The Joker.
Like many of the other strange criminals of Gotham, Jack would be deemed a, "Super-criminal" and be imprisoned in a new facility known as Arkham Asylum built from the remains of the historic Old Fort Arkham. The super-villains were used as political straw-men and scapegoats by politicians and the wealthy upper-class of Gotham by using them to keep the populace in fear of what would happen if they refuse authority. It is also believed that the asylum let them escape and refused to properly treat them as a means of keeping them violent to gate-keep certain minorities which they represented.
As the Joker spiralled into insanity, he became a notorious bank-robber who developed an obsessed relationship with Batman, even falling in-love with him in a way. Joker would also seduce his psychiatrist Dr. Harleen Quinzel who fell in-love with, supposedly for the good man she saw inside of him. Joker's fame would increase as merchandise would be created of him to sell alongside merchandise of Batman which he collected in his lair.
As Joker's condition deteriorated, he kidnapped Batman's Robin, Jason Todd. In his basement, Joker would brutally torture the Boy Wonder in-order to have him confess Batman's secret-identity. When Harley saw this, she realized the Jack Napier she fell in-love with was dead and abandoned Joker. Joker eventually broke Jason into saying that he wished he never met Bruce Wayne, admitting Batman's secret-identity. Following this, Joker freed Jason who ran-away with Joker repressing the memory as he didn't want to remember Batman's identity.
In Harleen's absence, Joker took up a new sidekick in the form of Marian Drews. Marian was a suicidal and sadomasochistic bank-teller he took hostage then as a result of his mental-illness, began believing was Harley. Marian played along and eventually assumed the Harley Quinn identity to run away with Joker, becoming obsessed with him not only as a lover but as an excuse to vent her violent desires and give counter-cultural structure to her life.
Batman: White Knight
After many years of fighting, Batman became a cynical and violent vigilante who became progressively feared and loathed by the Gotham peoples. In addition to this, crime ridden areas (typically filled up with people of colour) were more likely to host Batman encounters and as-such, more likely to be victims of property-damage. This lead the wealthy white citizens of Gotham to be able to buy out these areas for dirt-cheap and act as crooked land-lords to its residents.
Aware of this, Joker decided to mock Batman's broken legacy by luring him through a path of destruction (caused by the Batmobile) to the Axis chemicals disposal plant. Here Joker told Batman he would spite him by taking pills (planted there without his knowing by the original Harley Quinn) to balance out his brain-chemistry. In a fit of anger, Batman beat the Joker and forced him to guzzle down an entire container of the pills, resulting in Joker vomiting out foam and nearly dying. This entire incident was videotaped by Harleen as part of her master-plan to save Gotham. The video was released on the internet causing a massive uproar against Batman.
After months of therapy with the drug and cosmetic treatment, Jack was able to reform and seemingly get over his obsession with Batman. Upon re-entering society as Jack Napier, Jack became a political advocate who moved to hold the Batman, the GCPD and Arkham Asylum all accountable for their actions while exposing Gotham's underbelly.
Jack would later try to make amends with Marian for years of abuse and torment, proposing to her only for her to violently rebuke his offer, believing he was losing sight of himself. Jack was then saved by Harleen who fought off Marian and brought Jack to her apartment with them rekindling their relationship. In protest, Marian took up the identity of the Neo-Joker in-order to try and bring Jack back to the dark side.
As Jack Napier, Jack began running for city-counsellor and was popular due to his exposure of the upper-class's manipulation of Gotham's citizens through the bat-family and GCPD. Additionally, he would built an entire library in the impoverished neighbourhood of Backport. However, the library was really a ploy with Jack using Mad Hatter's tech combined with extract of Clayface's DNA to brainwash the super-villains of Gotham to cause a mass riot in Backport which (along with Batman) destroyed the library, making Batman look more guilty. Napier did this as a distraction so that he could break into the hall of records and steal files proving that Gotham's 1% used Backport's crime to turn profit. After this, Marian hijacked the Mad Hatter's mind-control tech to take control of the super-villains for her own plans.
Jack would go on to lead a peaceful protest march in Backport only to be stopped by the GCPD (for obviously racially-motivated reasons) while claiming it was because they didn't have the proper permits for a march. In-order to prevent the GCPD from attacking the citizens of Backport, Jack handed himself over for arrest only for Batman to appear once again and violently beat Napier in-front of his followers.
With support from the citizens of Gotham, Jack had the GCPD arrest Batman whose mindless violence lead to Bat-Girl, and Nightwing abandoning his cause. Batman was locked up in Arkham albeit they were unable to remove his cowl and learn his true-identity. Around this point in time, the effects of Jack's medication began to wear off resulting in his Joker identity resurfacing in a way resembling dissociative-identity disorder.
Jack was forced to have Batman released however when Neo-Joker used her legion of super-villains to hijack a WW2 era freeze-cannon which was built by Thomas Wayne, Mr. Freeze and Mr. Freeze's father as a cold-war precaution decades before. Marian used this to demand Jack return to her as Joker so they could be happy again but Jack chose to rather team up with Batman and some of the GCPD to fight her and take her down. They were successful, but it cost Jack his grip on his Joker identity and resulted in the Joker side taking over.
Jack ordered for himself to be sent back to Arkham (albeit with a nicer cell) and before he lost control completely, decided to finally marry Harleen only to snap at the very end and attack her when Joker returned. Before this, Jack's Napier Initiative got backed by Wayne Enterprises to aid in ending elitist corruption in Gotham.
Batman: Curse of the White Knight
While locked up in Arkham, Jack would come to learn that Harleen (who was a free woman and ally to the mostly-reformed Batman) was pregnant with his twins. Jack also came to realize that as-long as Joker was around their children would never be safe so he attempted to commit suicide several times but always failed. This additionally lead to Joker's escape.
Joker would confront a military-veteran and mentally disturbed devout christian named Jean-Paul Valley who he convinced was the descendant of great warriors. Joker also told him he was wronged by the Wayne Family and that he was the rightful ruler of Gotham. This lead to Valley taking up the identity of Azrael and seeking vengeance. Joker would also publicly reveal Barbara Gordon to be Bat-Girl, resulting in a rift between her and her father, Jim.
Disguising himself as Batman, Azrael entered Arkham Asylum before using his sword to massacre Batman's greatest villains, believing them to be heathen sinners. In Arkham, Batman came to find out that the Wayne legacy was a lie as centuries prior, Bruce's ancestor stole the identity of Edmond Wayne while he himself was Azrael's supposed ancestor, Bakkar.
When Joker would later confront Batman and Harley together, he mocked Harley's twins never being safe resulting in Harley using Joker's oversized pistol to shoot the Clown Prince dead. As he died, Joker slowly turned back to Jack while telling Harley everything would be okay and that she was safe now.
Powers and Abilities
Appearances in other media
- Harley Quinn (TV Series): When Joker is reverted to a normal form and has his insanity erased, his design changes to one very similar to Jack Napier from White Knight.