|AKA:|| Clown Prince of Crime|
Jack Napier[nb 1]
Jekko the Magnificent
|Hair:||Green (formerly black)|
|Eyes:||Red with yellow sclera|
|Affiliations:|| Injustice Gang|
Royal Flush Gang
|Rogue of:|| Batman|
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
Various clown-themed gadgets
|Voiced by:||Mark Hamill|
The Joker was a supervillain; the archenemy of Batman. He was described as a homicidal maniac by both Batman and Batgirl, and was admitted into Arkham Asylum many times. He was one of Batman's most dangerous enemies and a dangerous one of the Justice League.
An unnamed criminal with a checkered past started out as a young enforcer working for the mob triad of Sal Valestra, Buzz Bronski, and Chuckie Sol. At one point early on, before his life changing accident, 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 Carl Beaumont, a businessman who had fled the states after the mob bosses discovered he had embezzled a fortune. He was paid by Beaumont to leave him and his daughter alone, but he still completed his mission and brutally murdered Carl Beaumont in cold blood.
Years later he 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 simply fell, but he did fall off a catwalk and into a drainage vat of chemical waste that washed him out into the river. The chemicals had an adverse effect on him: they 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 the crook's already twisted mind and sadistic nature, giving birth to 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.
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's highest level officials, Commissioner Gordon or Mayor Hill. But the Joker has 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. Ex-businessman Cameron Kaiser deliberately made his newly built casino resemble the 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 his archnemesis Batman on the plot, decided to instead kill Kaiser and then manage the casino from behind the scenes.
Depending on the joke, his plans can range from small-scale to global. On one occasion, the Joker tried to con his way to a local comedy trophy by using the Mad Hatter's mind control chips on the event's judges. Another time, the Joker stole a nuclear warhead and almost successfully set it off on the residence of Mayor Hill. 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, murdering several bureaucrats of the Gotham Copyright Office with his Joker Venom.
A frequent inmate of Arkham Asylum, the Joker was often psycho-analyzed at one point by Dr. Harleen Quinzel. After one session, the Joker fooled Dr. Quinzel as he painted himself as a misunderstood soul crying out for the world to accept him. Quinzel soon found herself in love with the Joker, and broke him out of Arkham. However, a combination of the Joker's ego and Harley Quinn's lack of humor tends to push the Joker's buttons. More often than not, the Joker abuses and throws Quinn onto the streets until he decides he wants her again.
Batman shuts down the Joker's Gotham operations on a routine basis. But on a few occasions, the Joker really did go bankrupt. One such instance caused him to travel to Metropolis, where he briefly allied himself with Lex Luthor to kill Superman for one billion dollars. The Joker planned to use the 'Laughing Dragon,' a statuette actually made of Kryptonite. The Joker's plans fell apart when Batman deduced what the antique was made of and headed to Metropolis, reluctantly teaming up with Superman to stop him. Fearing Joker's failures were exposing him, Luthor called the deal off. Consolidating his losses, the Ace of Knaves kidnapped Luthor and hijacked his experimental LexWing assault vehicle, planning to destroy everything Luthor had built (Luthor had a hand in building half of Metropolis) for fun. The plan backfired when, in a scaffel with Batman, Joker's exploding marbles fell across the plane. While Batman and Superman saved Luthor and Harley, Joker was helpless on the crashing plane, laughing manically as it exploded in the river. The Joker returned to Gotham a month later, still bankrupt. He unwittingly received a $250 million inheritance from his ex-gangland rival, Edward "King" Barlowe. The Joker immediately spent the first million on various pursuits, such as hiring a defense team to wipe his criminal record clean. However, the Joker was duped. The majority of the money was counterfeit and the IRS was claiming its dues. Desperate, the Joker tried to steal a routine money dispersal from the Gotham Mint without using any of his trademarks. Batman intervened again, and the Joker returned to Arkham.
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 the Joker's 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, but still basically conscientious, personality. Fashioning himself into a crazed vigilante known as the Creeper, he went on a rampage to get revenge on the Joker. As a result, the Joker found himself in the bizarrely terrifying situation of being relentlessly pursued by this new insane superhero of his own inadvertent creation until he practically begged Batman to arrest him.
Other schemes Edit
In another routine shut out, the Joker was forced to move his enterprises outside of Gotham. This time he chose the midwestern town of Dakota. The Joker planned on forming a metahuman gang. Batman, Robin, and Dakota's own resident hero Static teamed up and escaped the Joker's death trap, arresting the Clown Prince of Crime in the process. Years later, the Joker wound up in Metropolis. He was just in time to meet Lex Luthor's Injustice Gang, which he conned his way into staying by providing his expertise on Batman. His one condition was this: After the Justice League was successfully destroyed, the Joker was promised Batman. However, the League survived and defeated the Gang. The Joker cut his losses and attempted to kill Batman, but it seemed Batman had manipulated the situation throughout the entire endeavor. Batman easily knocked out the Joker to end the conflict.
The Joker tried to form a metahuman gang once more. He discovered and entered a secret government compound dubbed Section 12. At the time, it was under the supervision of the Cadmus Project, a federal initiative to procure defenses against the Justice League. The Joker freed their captives and fashioned them as a card deck hand, dubbing them his 'Royal Flush Gang.' He then purchased air time on several networks under the moniker of "Gwynplaine Entertainment" and broadcast a live feed of Las Vegas. The 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 the Gang's fifth member, Ace. The Joker transmitted Ace's thought waves across the air to render everyone under a mass psychosis. Batman confronted the Joker alone, and managed to reveal to Ace that the Joker held on to a special headband used to nullify Ace's powers. Ace, in turn, used her power on the Joker and temporarily incapacitated him.
Final joke Edit
Years later, as he was deciding that the game between him and his nemesis was growing old, the Joker devised one last scheme, directed at Batman and his "family". The Joker and Harley Quinn kidnapped Robin while the Boy Wonder was alone on patrol. For three weeks, in the former partially destroyed Arkham Asylum, the Joker systematically pressured Robin. After several serum injections and shock torture, Robin revealed all his secrets to the Joker, including the fact that Batman was really Bruce Wayne. The injections apparently also resulted in Tim's face contorting into a Joker like smile. He then dressed Robin as a crude version of himself, and naming him "Joker Junior," and calling him "J.J." for short. Joker completed the "makeover" by splicing their DNA together through the technology of Project Cadmus, and planned on using him to deliver the death blow to Batman. The Joker even went far enough to document Robin's torture and show it 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 him. However, not even the Joker could fully turn Robin, and rather than shoot Batman and "deliver the punchline", Robin shot and killed the Joker. The Joker's last words were "That's not funny... That's not..." before collapsing from the mortal wound, dead.
Though he was buried deep beneath Arkham, Joker's last bid tainted the trio and engineered the end of the Bat-team. Tim was never allowed to be Robin again, and Batgirl quit shortly after as well.
Despite his death, Joker's legacy as a criminal mastermind and homicidal maniac would live on for years. Whilst the people of Gotham were relieved at the Joker's final and ultimate defeat, they still feared his destructive legacy. Years later several street gangs called "Jokerz" started appearing around the globe, honoring the Clown Prince of Crime's legacy.
This was not the end of the Joker, though. While he had Robin in his possession, the Joker subjected Robin to another experiment of his own. Using stolen Cadmus nanotechnology, Joker encoded his DNA into a microchip and implanted it at the top of Drake's spinal cord. Over time, the Joker's subconscious awakened and began to assume control of Drake's body. Over the course of forty years, the Joker plotted his return. If his family ever got worried, he'd simply call in Tim's voice saying he'd be working late. With Drake's knowledge of communications, Joker staged a series of corporate thefts utilizing a sub-group of Jokerz. With the 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. The new Batman deduced Drake had some connection and confronted the Joker. Having revealed the mystery of how he was able to return, Joker planned to crush Terry's spirit by destroying Wayne Manor with Bruce in it, then Terry's family and his girlfriend Dana. It was at that moment, after the jamming system accidentally redirected the satellite's laser straight to the Joker's hideout, a skirmish ensued between Terry and the Joker, who knew every trick the original Batman and Robin knew, although Terry warned Joker that this didn't mean Joker knew Terry's fighting style. Trying an idea which the original Batman had never attempted, based on advice made by Bruce about Joker being "someone who likes to talk," Terry, after demonstrating the validity of his earlier claim about Joker's lack of knowledge on Terry by kneeing Joker in the groin and "fighting dirty," jumped up into the rafters to evade the Joker’s attacks, beginning to taunt and laugh at him. By insulting his supposed poor attempt at jokes, gags, and his sense of humor in general, he knew that Bruce, as Batman, had never insulted the Joker’s ego in such a manner, preferring to fight one-on-one in stoic silence. This act so infuriated the Joker that he began throwing everything he had, including mini-pocket bombs. Within moments of the satellite's beam hitting the building, Batman used the Joker's own lethal joy buzzer against him; electrocuting him, and the incinerating the microchip encoding his DNA on Drake’s body. With the microchip burnt to ashes, Tim Drake was restored and the threat of the Joker was ended once and for all.
Abilities and equipment Edit
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), and a wide variety of laughing gases (which incapacitated the victim with laughter). Most famously, the Joker had a flower attached to his suit. This 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, 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 the Joker's own mind. Even when he was shot directly in the heart and 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, Terry McGinnis. After a final battle with Batman, the Joker was destroyed once and for all.
Originally, the Joker possessed little more than average physical strength, albeit enough to regularly hold his own against Batman. However, upon inhabiting the mind of Tim Drake, he acquired the training, conditioning, and knowledge of Batman and Robin, allowing him to easily outmatch Terry McGinnis 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. The 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 World's Finest, an episode of Superman: The Animated Series and one of the first appearances of the new Joker style, reveals that the producers of the DCAU regret the stylistic change, and admit that removing the 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 angular style of the second, was later used for the Joker's appearances in Static Shock and Justice League.
Background information Edit
- ↑ Although none of the identities revealed in the comics for the Red Hood/Joker ever gave him a full name (though some have given him the first name Jack), Jack Napier was used in Tim Burton's 1989 Batman and later utilized in the DCAU as well. In "Dreams in Darkness", Dr. Bartholomew refers to him by this name and in "Joker's Wild", the name can be seen in a file about him. 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. It is possible 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.
- 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 that Barbara Gordon told Terry that they buried Joker's body beneath the remains of what used to be Arkham Asylum, this could very well be true.
- Mark Hamill returned to play the character of the Joker alongside Kevin Conroy as Batman and Arleen Sorkin as Harley Quinn in the 2009 video-game Batman: Arkham Asylum (not in continuity with the DCAU), its sequel Batman: Arkham City (despite his plans to retire the role after the first), and DC Universe Online
- According to the DVD Commentary of Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, the Joker's appearance in the Batman Beyond-era (the red eyes and the slicked back hair) were based on an illustration of Hannibal Lecter from the novel The Silence of the Lambs.
See also Edit
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 The New Batman Adventures, "Beware the Creeper"
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 The New Batman Adventures, "Mad Love"
- ↑ Batman: The Animated Series, "Make 'Em Laugh"
- ↑ Batman: The Animated Series, "Be A Clown"
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker
- ↑ Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
- ↑ Batman: The Animated Series, "The Laughing Fish"
- ↑ Idem, "Joker's Favor"
- ↑ Idem, "Be A Clown"
- ↑ Idem, "The Strange Secret of Bruce Wayne"
- ↑ Idem, "Joker's Wild"
- ↑ Idem, "Make 'Em Laugh"
- ↑ Idem, "Harlequinade"
- ↑ Superman: The Animated Series, "World's Finest"
- ↑ The New Batman Adventures, "Joker's Millions"
- ↑ Static Shock, "The Big Leagues"
- ↑ Justice League, "Injustice For All"
- ↑ Idem, "Wild Cards"