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Joker

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Joker
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Information
Real name: Unknown
AKA: Clown Prince of Crime[1]
Jack Napier[2]
Shecky Rimshot[3]
Jekko the Magnificent[4]
Mr. Kerr[5]
J. Reko[6]
Tim Drake[7]
Species: Human
Hair: Green (formerly black)
Eyes: Red with yellow sclera
Base: Gotham City
Affiliations: Injustice Gang
Royal Flush Gang
Jokerz
Rogue of: Batman
Static
Justice League
Batman (Terry McGinnis)
Counterpart(s): Justice Lords' world
Abilities: Genius level intellect
Skills in chemistry and engineering
Weaponry: Joker venom/Laughing gas
Bladed playing cards
Hand-buzzer
Nitroglycerin cigars
Acid-squirting flower
Various firearms
Knives
Grenade marbles
Various clown-themed gadgets
Voiced by: Mark Hamill
Dean Stockwell[8]
43 images

"It'd be funny if it weren't so pathetic.... Oh, what the heck, I'll laugh anyway!"[7]

Sound

The Joker was a supervillain and Batman's archenemy.

History

Origins

Joker in his mob days

A photograph of Joker before his disfigurement.

Originally an unnamed criminal with a checkered past, he started out as a young chauffeur and worked 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 jobs took place in Europe on the Mediterranean Coast. His target was businessman Carl Beaumont after the mob bosses had discovered that he had embezzled from them. Andrea Beaumont returned home from grocery shopping, only to see the criminal emerge from the house, and silently walk past her. She rushed inside to find her father murdered in cold blood.[9]

Years later, the thug formed his own gang and staged a robbery at the Ace Chemical Plant. It was during that 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, and changed 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, which gave him the appearance of a clown. All of this snapped his already twisted mind and sadistic nature, and thus, he became 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.[1]

Endeavors

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. Quinzel later found herself in love with Joker and broke him out of Arkham.[6] However, a combination of Joker's ego and Harley Quinn's lack of humor tended to push his buttons. More often than not, Joker abused and threw Quinn out onto the streets until he decided that he wanted her again.

Joker's Favor Threaten

Charlie Collins turns the tables on Joker.

The Joker's plans had little prejudice. Although he had shown particular delight in playing his jokes on the most ordinary, innocent victims, like mild-mannered salaryman Charlie Collins, he wa just as dangerous to Gotham City's highest level official Commissioner James Gordon,[10] or Mayor Hamilton Hill.[11] But Joker had his share of provocations. Joker was one of three villains to travel to Yucca Springs on an invite from Hugo Strange, who claimed to know the identity of Batman.[12] Ex-businessman Cameron Kaiser deliberately made his casino to resemble Joker's look to draw the villain out as a means to trick him into wrecking the casino so he'd get away with the insurance. That plan ultimately backfired when Joker, thanks to the information revealed by Batman on the plot, decided to instead kill Kaiser and then manage the casino from behind the scenes.[13]

Depending on the joke, the Joker's plans ranged 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.[3] Another time, Joker stole a nuclear warhead and almost successfully set it off at Mayor Hamilton Hill's residence.[14] One of his most (in)famous schemes involved infecting all of the fish in Gotham Harbor with Joker venom, then demanding a copyright for them. When he was refused this, Joker went on a killing spree, and infected several bureaucrats of the Gotham Copyright Office with Joker venom.

Some time later, the Joker was hunted by the Phantasm due to his former ties to a Mob group. He also ended up disposing of Sal Valestra after the latter foolishly requested his help in stopping the Phantasm. He later injected Arthur Reeves with Joker Toxin, and finally confronted both Batman and Phantasm at the World of Tomorrow. At that point, Joker discovered his former gang's executioner was actually the daughter of the man whom he murdered a long time ago. He nearly killed her, but was 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 she saw that he simply was not sane anymore.[9]

Joker and Luthor make a deal

Joker making a deal with Lex Luthor.

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, and claimed that 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 suceed. Joker planned to use the statuette the Laughing Dragon, which was actually made of Kryptonite. Joker's plans fell apart when Batman deduced what the antique was made of, headed to Metropolis, and reluctantly cooperated with Superman to defeat the villain. Fearing that the Joker's failures were exposing him, Luthor called the deal off. Consolidating his losses, the Ace of Knaves kidnapped Lex, hijacked the experimental Lexwing assault vehicle, and planned to destroy everything that 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 both Luthor and Harley Quinn, Joker was helpless on the crashing plane, and laughed manically as it exploded in the river.[15]

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, and 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. After he tried 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.", which implied that he was sad enough to commit suicide. Joker was then returned to Arkham Asylum with a little pay back from Harley on the way.[5]

During the seven-year anniversary of his transformation into the Joker, the Gotham Insider made a live report from the 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 him further, and gave him an energetically maniac, yet still basically conscientious personality. After he fashioned himself into the crazed vigilante known as the Creeper, Ryder 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 the Creeper's mania was benign, his methods were so extremely wild and frantic that even Joker practically begged Batman to arrest him. Joker clutched Batman's cape and cried: "He's a lunatic!". Batman then cuffed him, while somewhere along the line, Joker was saved and he sedated the Creeper.[1]

Other Schemes

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, escaped his death trap, and arrested the Clown Prince of Crime in the process.[16]

Some time later, the Joker wound up in Metropolis again. He was just in time to meet Lex Luthor's Injustice Gang. Lex, after he remembered 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 that Joker had obtained, the Injustice Gang captured Batman and imprisoned him. Joker started to try and convince Luthor to kill Batman whilst they had the chance but Luthor refused. Joker was later seen with the Ultra-Humanite and Lex as they tried to deactivate the defensive system on Batman's Utility Belt which they did so successfully and found a communicator and key to the Justice League's Space Station. Luthor then sent 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 that Batman had manipulated the situation throughout the entire endeavor. Batman easily knocked out Joker to end the conflict.[17]

BatmanVjoker

Joker punched by Batman.

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.[18] 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 had managed 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, he managed to reveal to Ace that Joker had held onto a special headband that was used to nullify her powers. Ace, in turn, used her power on Joker and temporarily incapacitated him.[19]

Final Joke

Joker death

"That's not funny...That's not...". - The Joker's final words before he died

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, which resulted 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 he succeeded in enraging Batman, Joker delivered a knife to his knee, and crippled 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 he gasped in his last breath and collapsed from the mortal wound, dead.[7]

Legacy

Though he was buried deep beneath Arkham Asylum's remains, the Joker'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. While 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.

Return

Joker fights the new Batman

Joker taking on the new Batman.

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 and say that he'd be working late. Using Drake's knowledge of communications, Joker staged a series of corporate thefts by 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". Joker later dispatched his Jokerz to kill Terry McGinnis while Joker himself personally broke into Wayne Manor, dosed Wayne with Joker venom, abused the dog, Ace in the process, and nearly killed Wayne had Terry not supplied him with an antidote that he had earlier hidden. With the stolen communications technology, Joker created a satellite jammer and hijacked control of a Hyperion class defense satellite that orbited the planet so he could impose his will on Gotham. Joker's first target was the yacht that belonged to his ally, Jordan Pryce after he dispatched his Jokerz to "tie up a loose end" by trapping him aboard. After Terry had deduced that Drake was likely involved in Joker's scheme, Joker had anticipated that Terry had deduced the connection and set up a trap that involved a hologram of Drake, as well as a recording that activated after Terry had 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, Joker used the hijacked satellite to attack Terry, although not before McGinnis had uncovered His Hideout. Joker then regressed to the original form of his new body's owner before he trapped Terry with an electronic restrainer and then demonstrating his transformation into Joker to both Batmen. After he 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, which freed 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, and preferred to fight one-on-one in stoic silence. That 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: it electrocuted him, and incinerated the microchip that was encoding his DNA on Drake’s body. With the microchip burnt to ashes, Tim was restored, and the Joker's threat was ended once and for all.[7]

Personality

The Joker was demonstrated to be a psychopath, even prior to his chemical bath.[1][9] He harbored little remorse regarding any murders that he had committed under Sal Valestra's gang,[9] and also intended to start his own criminal gang.[1] After being dunked into a chemical bath, his insanity increased, which made him among the most dangerous criminals in Gotham, and attempted to commit mass murder all for the sake of jokes. Joker had little regard for his own life and safety, and even laughed 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,[9] as well as his reaction when he saw during a failed evacuation from the doomed LexWing and his explosive marbles were rolling toward him.[15] Joker's lack of regard for his survival was such that, after Batman came very close to killing him in anger for the torture of Tim Drake, Joker referred to the act of Batman killing him as "that kind of fun" when he called Batman out by stating that he should have done it years ago.[7]

Abilities and Equipment

Joker overpowers Superman

Joker uses a joy buzzer on Superman.

Throughout the years, the Joker used a wide variety of instruments to exact his comedic homicides. He was as brilliant as he was insane and he had 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. That flower emitted a wide variety of chemicals, depending on the situation and the 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, and constantly survived and came back from potentially fatal things—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 the Joker's own mind. Even when he was killed by the brainwashed Tim Drake, Joker still managed to cheat death through Tim himself, and survived 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, which allowed him to easily outmatch the new Batman in a fist fight.

Revamp

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, revealed that the producers of the DCAU regretted the stylistic change, and admitted 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; that 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.

Background Information

  • A skeleton seen wearing a shred of purple clothing with a similar bow flower in the Batman Beyond episode "Joyride" was believed by many to be that of the original Joker. Considering what Terry McGinnis was told that the Joker's body was buried beneath Arkham Asylum's remains, that 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 bore a slight resemblance to Frieza, a villain from the Dragon Ball franchise who also sported chalk-white skin, red eyes, dark lips, and had no eyebrows.

Appearances

Having appeared in Almost Every DCAU series (and associated movies), the Joker was the most recurring villain in the entire DCAU. He also influenced the webseries, Gotham Girls.

Batman: The Animated Series

Feature film

The New Superman Adventures

The New Batman Adventures

Feature film

Gotham Girls

Batman Beyond

Feature film

Static Shock

Justice League

Justice League Unlimited

See also

Footnotes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 The New Batman Adventures, "Beware the Creeper"
  2. '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. 3.0 3.1 Batman: The Animated Series, "Make 'Em Laugh"
  4. Batman: The Animated Series, "Be A Clown"
  5. 5.0 5.1 The New Batman Adventures, "Joker's Millions"
  6. 6.0 6.1 The New Batman Adventures, "Mad Love"
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker
  8. While impersonating Tim Drake in Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 Batman: The Animated Series, "Mask of the Phantasm"
  10. Batman: The Animated Series, "Joker's Favor"
  11. Batman: The Animated Series, "Be A Clown"
  12. Batman: The Animated Series, "The Strange Secret of Bruce Wayne"
  13. Batman: The Animated Series, "Joker's Wild"
  14. Batman: The Animated Series, "Harlequinade"
  15. 15.0 15.1 Superman: The Animated Series, "World's Finest"
  16. Static Shock, "The Big Leagues"
  17. Justice League, "Injustice For All"
  18. Justice League Unlimited, "Fearful Symmetry"
  19. Justice League, "Wild Cards"

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