What happened to John before Arkham?

It's been a while since I played Batman: TEW so my memory of the game is a bit hazy, sorry if I didn't remember some story details.

At one point in Episode 3 of S2 we get the chance to ask John about his green hair to which he replies he doesn't anything about his past before Arkham. That made me curious. Most Jokers aren't willing to reveal their past because part of their goal is to prove that anyone can become like them. John just doesn't remember why he got to that point. Has there been any theories posted here as to why he got to Arkham? ACE chemicals is visited at the vigilante route, did he suffer a similar fate to the Joker in TKJ? Was he another victim of the experiments performed at Arkham?(I know that might not work timeline wise)

Any speculation on this?


  • I was also curious about this and hoped that we could have a flashback, but sadly no.

  • Note that this is a different joker then the one we've seen in other media. And he only becomes the Joker at the end of episode 4. I'm going with the villain route here: Jokers goal here isn't to prove that anyone can become like him, but rather that Bruce isn't an angel and that he is surrounded with bad people. And he blames Bruce for his transformation into the Joker. But yea, I think they completely wiped his memory, when he got in Arkham. I also have a feeling that Harley had a lot of influence on his look and behaviour in Arkham. But yea, I've no idea how he got in Arkham, and what his life was before he went to that place. He must had some family right?

  • It's honestly difficult to say. There are an unexpected amount of options it could be, or it could be something entirely unrelated.

    Thomas Wayne and his personnel at Arkham could have had a hand in John Doe through the experiments conducted. It's unlikely however that it had much to do with Thomas Wayne specifically as Joker wouldn't have been that old before his death, and would have a longer memory of Arkham. However, it should be noted that we aren't privy to knowing how much of John's life he remembers in Arkham -- only that it's all he remembers, and that no other staff recalled when he became a resident. No time frames referenced.

    The Agency could have had some involvement prior to Waller. Waller mentioned taking over for a predecessor who was involved in a lot of shady experiments and dealings. It would account for no one in Arkham having records of John being admitted in Arkham as that is something they could easily achieve. His memory loss could also be seen as intentional ( although it could still be a coincidental side effect of the experiments ). The Agency's experiments are noted as having had a psychological effect on Riddler.

    Granted, it could be environmental, as we did have an introduction to Ace Chemicals as a nod toward previous Joker backstories, though this is explained as one of his henchmen having former employment there and it simply being adapted to a base of operations after their previous homes had been discovered.

    It is a nice adaptation that Joker himself truly doesn't know.

  • Another thing I've noticed is that John seemingly has borderline superhuman strength and agility. He's capable of taking on several Agents from the Agency surrounding him and winning and putting up a decent fight against (an admittedly wounded) Bruce with seemingly little formal combat training. I'm convinced he's the result of some kind of experiment even though if by whom isn't clear.

    I like the theory that John is the successful end result of the continuing experiments at Arkham after Thomas's death. Would really drive it home that John is the the pure product of the whole Wayne family's madness and corruption. I know it's not a likely theory but still.

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