Why Batman Doesn’t Reveal Joker’s Original Identity (Despite Knowing It)


  • Batman’s decision to conceal the Joker’s identity is rooted in his moral conviction and dedication to protecting innocent lives, particularly the safety of the Joker’s estranged ex-wife and son who are living under witness protection.
  • Alternative perspectives make Batman’s secrecy questionable, as it’s arguable that trusted allies like Batgirl and Red Hood have a right to know the Joker’s identity to gain a psychological edge in battling him and protecting Gotham.
  • The debate over transparency versus protection is a broader issue within the superhero community, as Batman’s commitment to secrecy aligns with the desire to safeguard innocent lives, but also limits potential benefits of sharing crucial information with trusted allies.



Batman has consistently denied that he knows the Joker’s true identity. However, in one story, Bruce Wayne reveals to his long-time butler and confidant, Alfred Pennyworth, that he does, in fact, know who the Joker is and has for a long time. Bruce also tells Alfred the reason why he can never reveal the Joker’s identity.

Batman’s decision to tightly conceal the Joker’s identity is primarily rooted in his steadfast moral conviction and deep commitment to the protection of innocent lives. The revelation of the Joker’s true identity would undeniably risk the safety of two specific individuals – the Joker’s estranged ex-wife and son, as revealed in Batman: Three Jokers #3 by Geoff Johns, Jason Fabok, Brad Anderson, and Rob Leigh.

Bruce is watching Joker's family from a window while he stands in the snow.

Batman firmly believes that disclosing the Joker’s identity would inevitably lead the media and the Joker to the family that the clown has long assumed to be deceased, subjecting these innocent lives to the ensuing chaos created by the media frenzy and Joker’s pursuit.

Related: Joker Is About to Reclaim His Long-Lost Son – DC Theory Explained

The Joker’s Family Is Alive and Well

Bruce telling Alfred that he knows who the Joker is

DC’s bombshell that the Joker has a living family is dropped in the pages of this issue in a conversation between Bruce and Alfred. Bruce explains to Alfred that the Joker once had a family, but his wife, desperate to escape his abusive clutches, sought refuge in the arms of the law. She faked her and her unborn child’s deaths, and they were both placed under witness protection, a fact unknown to both the Joker and the media. This revelation underscores Batman’s reasoning for maintaining the utmost secrecy surrounding the Joker’s identity, as the safety of the clown’s lost family depends on it.

Despite the noble intentions behind Batman’s secrecy, alternative perspectives make his stance questionable. While Batman’s reasoning for keeping the Joker’s name from public consumption is well-grounded, keeping the Joker’s identity from trusted allies is fraught, at the very least. It could be argued that heroes such as Batgirl and Red Hood have a right to know the Joker’s identity, not just as victims but as dedicated crime-fighters who regularly confront the Joker. Knowing his origins could provide a psychological edge, potentially changing the outcome of their battles. By denying them this crucial information, Batman might inadvertently hinder their ability to protect Gotham and themselves.

Must Batman Keep the Joker’s Identity Secret from the Bat-Family?

Red Hood yelling at Bruce asking if he knows who Joker is.

Batman withholding information from the Bat-Family reflects a broader theme within the superhero community. The question of transparency-versus-protection has always been a contentious issue. While Batman’s motives are grounded in a desire to safeguard innocent lives, it’s essential to weigh the potential benefits of sharing such information with trusted allies. As the Bat-Family and other heroes face increasingly dangerous foes, the balance between secrecy and empowerment becomes a pivotal factor in their quest to keep Gotham — and the world — safe.

For the time being, the true identity of the Joker remains one of Batman’s most closely guarded secrets, a vow he upholds not out of malice, but out of a solemn commitment to protect the innocent. Batman is acutely aware that unveiling the Joker’s past could unleash unbridled chaos upon an innocent mother and her son, a fate he is determined to avert. Therefore, Batman must tread carefully, fully aware that the disclosure of his knowledge surrounding the Joker’s true identity could lead to dire consequences.

Check out Batman: Three Jokers #3, available now from DC Comics!


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