Does the Joker die in Batman: Arkham City? New screens offer macabre clues

Mark Hamill, definitive voice of The Joker for two decades, has already insisted that Batman: Arkham City will be his final performance in the role. But the latest set of sequel screens now have me wondering if this will be The Joker's last franchise appearance, period.

Seriously, look at his face – does that seem like a man with long to live to you?

No amount of makeup can hide those horrifying skin lesions, those glassy eyes, that drooping hair or that expression of concern on worshipper Harley Quinn's face. Combined with the game's original teaser that revealed him hooked up to an IV and coughing up blood, this screen makes clear the near-deathly degree to which Joker is still suffering his exposure to Titan serum in Arkham Asylum.

Don't believe developer Rocksteady has the guts to kill off Batman's biggest villain? The game's writer, Paul Dini, already did exactly that in the 2000 animated film Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker.

Whether my new hunch proves correct or not, it's exciting to know that – based on the screen above – the Joker will still play a major role in Arkham City. One of the improvements I hoped for in my "what we want to see"feature were increasingly themed levels for the villains, and a creepy carnival Fun House run by the Joker's goons fulfillsthat wish perfectly.

Okay, your turn. Notice anything in these screens that gives a hint of what to expect in the sequel – like the appearance of yet another Iceberg Lounge poster in the first image? Got any new theories – like what role Sionis Industries, the company belonging to Black Mask, might play in the story?

Share and speculate in the comments below.Or click hereto view more Arkham City screens.

Feb 16, 2011

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Charlie Barratt
I enjoy sunshine, the company of kittens and turning frowns upside down. I am also a fan of sarcasm. Let's be friends!