Warning: this article contains spoilers for Flashpoint Beyond #5.
Joker remains Gotham City’s biggest enigma. Who was he before he became an insane criminal mastermind? Did he really have a family? What is his real name? Although there are many things that we will never know about the origin of the Joker, 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 faces the sudden return of his old reality and searches for the elusive Clockmaker. That serial killer has been revealed to be Martha Wayne, who became the Flashpoint timeline Joker after her son Bruce was killed in Crime Alley.
In issue #5, Thomas confronts his 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 that he is a family man who supports his wife and son through a janitor job at Wayne Casino. But despite living in poverty, this version of Jack is happy, and never went through the same traumatic ordeal which was seen in Batman: The Killing Joke.
It’s not the first time a Batman story has revealed the Joker’s real name. The 1989 Batman movie features him as a gangster named Jack Napier, a name that was later carried over to the comics via the alternate universe of Batman: White Knight. Joker, the 2019 film, meanwhile, casts Joaquin Phoenix in the role of Arthur Fleck, a struggling comedian. But this it is the first time Joker is given a name in the main DC Comics continuity.
Of course, as the Joker said, the past is a multiple choice. There is 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 official DC canon, it could be argued 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 it a name that DC should have kept shrouded in mystery?
We’ll be embarking on Gotham City again in the upcoming Gotham Knights video game, which we’ve told you all about in our exclusive preview.