The Joker was a supervillain and Batman's archenemy.
Originally an unnamed criminal with a checkered past, he started out as a young chauffeur working for mob bosses Sal Valestra, Buzz Bronski and Chuckie Sol. At one point early on, he and Bruce Wayne caught a glimpse of each other. One of his last known jobs took place in Europe on the Mediterranean Coast. His target was businessman Carl Beaumont after the mob bosses discovered he had embezzled from them. Andrea Beaumont returned home from grocery shopping, only to see the criminal emerging from the house, silently walked past her and she rushed inside to find her father murdered in cold blood.
Years later, the thug formed his own gang and staged a robbery at the Ace Chemical Plant. It was during this heist that he first encountered Batman. It is unknown whether he was pushed or just slipped, but he did fall off a catwalk and into a drainage vat of chemical waste that washed him out into the river, changing his life forever. The chemicals had an adverse effect on him: it dyed his hair green, his skin was bleached white, his lips were permanently stained red and his clothes were dyed purple giving him the appearance of a clown. All this snapped his already twisted mind and sadistic nature, thus becoming known as the "Joker". Vowing to show the world the triumph of his comic genius, the career of one of history's most dangerous and intelligent psychopaths began.
A frequent inmate of Arkham Asylum, the Joker was often psycho-analyzed at one point by Dr. Harleen Quinzel. After one session, Joker fooled Dr. Quinzel as he painted himself as a misunderstood soul crying out for the world to accept him as Quinzel later found herself in love with Joker and broke him out of Arkham. However, a combination of Joker's ego and Harley Quinn's lack of humor tends to push Joker's buttons. More often than not, Joker abuses and throws Quinn onto the streets until he decides he wants her again.
The Joker's plans have little prejudice. Although he has shown particular delight in playing his jokes on the most ordinary, innocent victims, like mild-mannered salaryman Charlie Collins, he is just as dangerous to Gotham City's highest level official Commissioner James Gordon, or Mayor Hamilton Hill. But Joker has had his share of provocations. Joker was one of three villains to travel to Yucca Springs on an invite from Hugo Strange claiming to know the identity of Batman. Ex-businessman Cameron Kaiser deliberately made his casino resemble Joker's look to draw the villain out as a means to trick Joker into wrecking the casino so he'd get away with the insurance, although this plan ultimately backfired when Joker, thanks to information revealed by Batman on the plot, decided to instead kill Kaiser and then manage the casino from behind the scenes.
Depending on the joke, the Joker's plans can range from small-scale to global. On one occasion, he tried to con his way to a local comedy trophy, that he was denied in disguise on account that he registered late, by using the Mad Hatter's mind control chips on the event's judges. Another time, Joker stole a nuclear warhead and almost successfully set it off on Hamilton Hill's residence. One of his most (in)famous schemes involved infecting all the fish in Gotham Harbor with his Joker venom, then demanding a copyright for them. When refused this, he went on a killing spree, infecting several bureaucrats of the Gotham Copyright Office with his Joker venom.
Some time later, the Joker was hunted by the Phantasm due to his former ties to the Valestra Mob. He also ended up disposing of Sal Valestra after the latter foolishly requested his help in stopping Phantasm. He later injected Arthur Reeves with Joker Toxin, and finally confronted both Batman and Phantasm at the World of Tomorrow. At this point, he discovered his former gang's executioner is actually the daughter of the man whom he murdered a long time ago. He nearly kills her, but is ultimately stopped by Batman. When defeated by Batman and at the mercy of Phantasm while the theme park was burning to the ground, Joker couldn't help but laugh, which eventually made Phantasm let him go after seeing that he simply was not sane anymore.
Batman shut down the Joker's operations in Gotham City on a routine basis but Joker really did go bankrupt on a few occasions. One such instance caused him to travel to Metropolis, where he briefly allied himself with Lex Luthor to kill Superman for one billion dollars. Luthor scoffed at Joker, claiming he was overconfident in his ability to kill a superpowered Kryptonian when he has not been able to kill "a mere mortal in a Halloween costume", but agreed to pay should he succeed. Joker planned to use the statuette Laughing Dragon actually made of Kryptonite. Joker's plans fell apart when Batman deduced what the antique was made of and headed to Metropolis, reluctantly cooperating with Superman to defeat the villain. Fearing Joker's failures were exposing him, Luthor called the deal off. Consolidating his losses, the Ace of Knaves kidnapped Lex and hijacked the experimental Lexwing assault vehicle, planning to destroy everything Luthor had built for fun (as Luthor had a hand in building half of Metropolis). The plan backfired when, in a engagement with Batman, Joker's exploding marbles fell across the plane. While Batman and Superman rescued Luthor and Harley Quinn, Joker was helpless on the crashing plane, laughing manically as it exploded in the river.
The Joker returned to Gotham City a month later, still bankrupt. He unwittingly received a $250 million inheritance from his former gangland rival Edward "King" Barlowe. Joker immediately spent the first million on various pursuits, such as hiring a defense team to wipe his criminal record clean and even trying to buy Nightwing and Batgirl off. However, Joker was duped. The majority of the money was counterfeit and the IRS was claiming its dues, which Joker could not dispute without an embarrassing admission that he'd been tricked, thus making him a laughingstock in the Gotham underworld. Desperate, Joker tried to steal a routine money dispersal from the Gotham Mint without using any of his trademarks until Batman intervened again. Trying to jump over the ship, Joker was stopped from doing so by Batgirl as it would be pointless to go after the money that went over board. However, crying, Joker said "I don't want to save it. I want to go with it.", implying he was sad enough to commit suicide. Joker was then returned to Arkham with a little pay back from Harley on the way.
During the seven-year anniversary of his transformation into the Joker, the Gotham Insider made a live report from Ace Chemical Plant. The Clown Prince of Crime made an appearance and attacked the news crew. Jack Ryder was doused with Joker venom then shoved into a drainage vat. Ryder transformed as well, but the combination of the chemicals and the laughing gas pushed Ryder further, giving him an energetically maniac yet still basically conscientious personality. Fashioning himself into the crazed vigilante known as the Creeper, he went on a rampage to get revenge on Joker. As a result, Joker found himself in the bizarrely terrifying situation of being relentlessly pursued by this new insane superhero of his own inadvertent creation. Although Creeper's mania is benign, his methods are so extremely wild and frantic that he even practically begged Batman to arrest him, clutching Batman's cape and crying "He's a lunatic!". Batman then cuffs Joker while somewhere along the line, Joker was saved and Batman sedated Creeper.
In another routine shut out, the Joker was forced to move his enterprises outside of Gotham City. This time he chose the Midwestern town of Dakota. Joker planned on forming a metahuman gang. However, Batman, Robin and Static teamed up and escaped Joker's death trap, arresting the Clown Prince of Crime in the process.
Some time later, the Joker wound up in Metropolis again. He was just in time to meet Lex Luthor's Injustice Gang. Lex, remembering the past alliance with Joker years earlier, simply ordered him to leave. But after some persuading (which resulted in Joker knocking out Solomon Grundy), he conned his way into staying by providing his expertise on Batman. His one condition was this: After the Justice League was successfully destroyed, Joker was promised Batman. Using a tracker, Joker had obtained, the Injustice Gang captured Batman and imprisoned the Dark Knight. Joker started to try and convince Luthor to kill Batman whilst they had the chance but Luthor refuses. Joker is later seen with Ultra-Humanite and Lex as they try to deactivate the defensive system on Batman's utility belt which they do so successfully and find a communicator and key to the Justice League's space station. Luthor then sends the other Injustice Gang members to the space station, which was being guarded only by the Martian Manhunter, to plant a bomb on the headquarters and call them back. However, the Justice League survived and eventually defeated the Injustice Gang. Deciding to cut his losses, Joker attempted to kill Batman but it seemed Batman had manipulated the situation throughout the entire endeavor. Batman easily knocked out Joker to end the conflict.
Continuing to cause more chaos, the Joker discovered and entered the secret compound Section 12. Since the compound was under the supervision of a secret initiative, he took some of their technology for later uses. Joker then freed the compound's captives and fashioned them as a card deck hand metahuman gang. Next, he purchased air time on several networks under the moniker "Gwynplaine Entertainment" and broadcast a live feed of Las Vegas. Joker secretly planted several dozen high explosives all throughout the city. Though the Justice League manage to disarm the bombs, the bomb stunt was merely to attract viewers throughout the world. The real plan was to use the powers of his gang's fifth member Ace. Joker transmitted Ace's thought waves across the air to render everyone under a mass psychosis. When Batman confronted Joker alone, the Dark Knight managed to reveal to Ace that Joker held on to a special headband used to nullify Ace's powers. Ace, in turn, used her power on Joker and temporarily incapacitated him.
As he was deciding that the "game" between him and Batman was growing old, the Joker devised one last scheme directed at Batman's "family". Joker and Harley Quinn kidnapped Robin while the Boy Wonder was alone on patrol. In the former partially demolished Arkham Asylum, Joker systematically tortured Robin for three weeks. After several serum injections and electric shocks, Robin revealed all his secrets to the Clown Prince of Crime, including the fact that Batman was really Bruce Wayne. Joker then completed the "makeover" by splicing their DNA together, resulting in his victim's face contorting into a Joker like smile and then dressed as a crude version of himself named "Joker Junior" (or "J.J." for short), much to the horror of Batman and Batgirl. Joker even went far enough to document the torture to show in the operating theater to Batman as the "Our Family Memories" video. While succeeding in enraging Batman, Joker delivered a knife to Batman's knee, crippling his nemesis. However, not even Joker could fully turn J.J., and rather than shoot Batman and "deliver the punchline", J.J. shot and killed Joker instead. Joker's last words were "That's not funny... That's not..." before gasping in his last breath and collapsing from the mortal wound, dead.
Though buried deep beneath Arkham Asylum's remains, the villain's last bid tainted the trio and engineered the end of the Bat-team.
Despite his death, the Joker's criminal mastermind and homicidal legacy would live on for years. Whilst the people of Gotham City were free of the villain, several street gangs were formed to honor the Clown Prince of Crime's destructive legacy.
Unknown to anyone, the Joker's greatest experiment on Tim Drake involved the usage of stolen cutting-edge genetics technology to encode his own DNA into a microchip that was implanted at the top of his victim's spinal cord. Forty years later, Joker's subconscious awakened and began to assume control of Tim's body and plotted a return. If Drake's family ever got worried, he'd simply call Tim's wife in his host's voice saying he'd be working late. Using Drake's knowledge of communications, Joker staged a series of corporate thefts utilizing a sub-group of Jokerz. He then had his Jokerz raid Bruce Wayne's Welcoming Back party, both to steal the final necessary piece of equipment (a systems scanner), and to expose to all of Gotham City (including Wayne) that he's "back in town". He later dispatched his Jokerz to kill Terry McGinnis while Joker himself personally broke into Wayne Manor and dosed Wayne with Joker venom, also abused the dog Ace in the process, nearly killing Wayne had Terry not supplied Wayne with an antidote that Wayne had earlier hidden. With the stolen communications technology, Joker created a satellite jammer and hijacked control of a Hyperion class defense satellite orbiting the planet so he can impose his will on Gotham. His first target was the yacht belonging to his ally Jordan Pryce after dispatching his Jokerz to "tie up a loose end" by trapping him aboard. After Terry deduced that Drake was likely involved in Joker's scheme, Joker had anticipating that Terry had deduced the connection and set up a trap involving a hologram of Drake, as well as a recording that activated after Terry touched the holographic representation of his victim that "confirmed" that Drake had indeed joined with Joker, as well as unveil that he planned to use the hijacked satellite to cause wanton acts of destruction on Gotham. Eventually, he used the hijacked satellite to attack Terry, although not before McGinnis uncovered his hideout. Joker then regressed to the original form of his new body's owner before trapping Terry with an electronic restrainer and then demonstrating his transformation into Joker to both Batmen. Having revealed the mystery of his revival, Joker planned to crush the new Dark Knight's spirit by destroying Wayne Manor with Bruce inside then Terry's family and girlfriend. But before he could activate the satellite, Ace ambushed Joker and tackled the mad clown, freeing Terry in the process. Joker then used his joy buzzer to fend off a second attack from the Great Dane and moved in to finish him off, but a kick to the jaw knocked his joy buzzer into vital equipment. After the jamming system accidentally redirected the satellite's laser straight to Joker's hideout, a skirmish ensued with Joker using his host's knowledge of every trick the original Batman and Robin knew. However, the new Batman decided to "fight dirty" and began to taunt and laugh at him. By insulting his supposed poor attempt at jokes, gags and his sense of humor in general, Batman knew that his predecessor had never insulted Joker’s ego in such a manner, preferring to fight one-on-one in stoic silence. This act so infuriated Joker that he began throwing everything he had, including mini-pocket bombs. Within moments of the satellite's beam hitting the building, Terry used Joker's own lethal joy buzzer against him; electrocuting him, and incinerating the microchip encoding his DNA on Drake’s body. With the microchip burnt to ashes, Tim was restored and Joker's threat was ended once and for all.
The Joker was demonstrated to be a psychopath, even prior to his chemical bath. He harbored little remorse regarding any murders he committed under Sal Valestra's gang, and also intended to start his own criminal gang. After being dunked into a chemical bath, his insanity increased, making him among the most dangerous criminals in Gotham, attempting to commit mass murder all for the sake of jokes. He has little regard for his own life and safety, even laughing in instances where his own death was seemingly inevitable, as evidenced by his reaction when the fairgrounds were exploding around him alongside Phantasm's preparations to kill him, as well as his reaction when he saw during a failed evacuation from the doomed LexWing his explosive marbles rolling towards him. His lack of regard for his survival was such that, after Batman came very close to killing Joker in anger for the torture of Tim Drake, Joker referred to the act of Batman killing him as "that kind of fun" when calling Batman out by stating he should have done it years ago.
Abilities and equipment
Throughout the years, the Joker used a wide variety of instruments to exact his comedic homicides. He is as brilliant as he is insane and he has sufficient expertise in chemistry and physics to be able to invent gadgetry and concoct elaborate schemes. His equipment included card-shaped blades, guns (of the trick and real variety), joy buzzers (which electrocuted the victim), a wide variety of laughing gases (which incapacitated the victim with laughter), and his deadly Joker venom. Most famously, Joker had a flower attached to his suit. This flower emitted a wide variety of chemicals, depending on the situation and Joker's mood. Laughing gas and acid were popular variants, but the possibilities were limited only to the Joker's mind.
The Joker also seemed to have a strange relationship with death, constantly surviving and coming back from potentially fatal things—including long falls, explosions, and even being psychically mind-wiped, to name a few—that should by all rights have ended his career, although the last aspect may have been due to the complexity of Joker's own mind. Even when he was killed by the brainwashed Tim Drake, Joker still managed to cheat death through Tim himself, surviving long enough to come into conflict with the new Batman but was destroyed once and for all.
Originally, the Joker possessed little more than average physical strength, albeit enough to regularly hold his own against the original Batman. But upon inhabiting Tim Drake's mind, he acquired the training, conditioning, and knowledge of the original Batman and Robin, allowing him to easily outmatch the new Batman in a fist fight.
Along with the rest of the cast, the Joker underwent a revamp when Batman: The Animated Series streamlined into The New Batman Adventures. Joker's change was relatively minor; however, he lost his trademark red lips, his hair was almost black, his eyes were turned black, and he was made to appear physically smaller and thinner. Audio Commentary on the DVD release of the Superman: The Animated Series episode "World's Finest" and one of the first appearances of Joker's new style, reveals that the producers of the DCAU regret the stylistic change, and admit that removing Joker's red lips was a mistake, and that doing so was Glen Murakami's idea.
The character was altered again for Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker; this design, using elements from the original design with the second design's angular style, was later used for the character's appearances in Static Shock and Justice League.
- A skeleton seen wearing a shred of purple clothing with a similar bow flower in the Batman Beyond episode "Joyride" is believed by many to be that of the original Joker. Considering what Terry McGinnis is told that the Joker's body was buried beneath Arkham Asylum's remains, this could very well be true.
- Mark Hamill returned to play the character alongside Kevin Conroy as Batman and Arleen Sorkin as Harley Quinn in the non-DCAU video-games Batman: Arkham Asylum and DC Universe Online. Only Hamill and Conroy returned for Batman: Arkham City and Batman: Arkham Knight.
- According to the DVD Commentary of Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, the Joker's Batman Beyond era appearance (the red eyes and the slicked back hair) were based on an illustration of Hannibal Lecter from the novel The Silence of the Lambs. In the same movie, the Joker also bears a slight resemblance to Frieza, a villain from the Dragon Ball franchise who also sports chalk-white skin, red eyes, dark lips and no eyebrows.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 The New Batman Adventures, "Beware the Creeper"
- ↑ 'Jack Napier' was used in Tim Burton's 1989 Batman film and later utilized in the DCAU as well. Dr. Bartholomew refers to him by this name in "Dreams in Darkness", and the name can be seen in a file about him in "Joker's Wild". Later in "Beware the Creeper", it is mentioned that his true identity is unknown and that he operated under a variety of aliases during his criminal career, implying that the man did indeed use a number of aliases and that 'Jack Napier' was simply used the longest or at least the one used before his accident.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Batman: The Animated Series, "Make 'Em Laugh"
- ↑ Batman: The Animated Series, "Be A Clown"
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 The New Batman Adventures, "Joker's Millions"
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 The New Batman Adventures, "Mad Love"
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker
- ↑ While impersonating Tim Drake in Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker.
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 Batman: The Animated Series, "Mask of the Phantasm"
- ↑ Batman: The Animated Series, "Joker's Favor"
- ↑ Batman: The Animated Series, "Be A Clown"
- ↑ Batman: The Animated Series, "The Strange Secret of Bruce Wayne"
- ↑ Batman: The Animated Series, "Joker's Wild"
- ↑ Batman: The Animated Series, "Harlequinade"
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 Superman: The Animated Series, "World's Finest"
- ↑ Static Shock, "The Big Leagues"
- ↑ Justice League, "Injustice For All"
- ↑ Justice League Unlimited, "Fearful Symmetry"
- ↑ Justice League, "Wild Cards"
- Joker at Wikipedia
- Joker at the DC Database
- Every.Joker.Issue.Ever—fan project to eventually review all of the Joker stories. Includes discussion, theories and analyses.
|Members of the Injustice Gang|
|Cheetah • Copperhead • Joker • Lex Luthor • Shade • Solomon Grundy • Star Sapphire • Ultra-Humanite|
|Aresia • Copperhead • Shade • Solomon Grundy • Star Sapphire • Tsukuri|