The Joker is one of the most evil characters in the history of comics, captivating fans with his nihilistic approach to life. His chaotic personality continually clashes with Batman’s desire for order, making him the perfect villain. The Joker’s characterisation has typically been split between a playful trickster and psychotic monster who revels in burning everything around him. Over the years, there have been many versions of the Clown Prince of Crime, some more disturbed than others. The Comic Vault is listing the five most twisted interpretations of The Joker.
5. The Killing Joke Joker
Considered one of the greatest comic stories of all time, The Killing Joke offers up an origin story for The Joker, as told from his perspective. What makes this version so disturbing was his methodology, with him going to great lengths to show what happens when someone has ‘one bad day.’ Joker’s mentality was based around how even the most noble of people can become corrupted by a specific set of circumstances.
This was demonstrated when he crippled Barbara Gordon by shooting her in the spine and kidnapped Commissioner Gordon. Joker tortured Gordon in a number of ways, trying to break his mind. The Killing Joke Joker could be considered the classic interpretation of the character.
4. The Dark Knight Returns Joker
Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns featured a version of The Joker that went into a catatonic state after Batman retired. After Bruce Wayne returned to the cowl, Joker awakened and went on to murder a studio audience and go on a killing spree. He also kidnapped Selina Kyle, tortured her and used her as pawn in his psychological war with Batman. He pushed Batman to the brink of killing him, but ultimately snapped his own spine in order to frame The World’s Greatest Detective.
This version of Joker went a long way in showing the symbiotic relationship between himself and Batman. He couldn’t live without Batman in the world, so he lay dormant until the hero emerged again.
3. Endgame Joker
Under the skill of Scott Snyder, new depths were explored with the Clown Prince of Crime during the New 52. Endgame featured a ruthless Joker who was utterly focused on killing Batman and ending everything that he stood for. What made him so horrific was the fact that he’d stopped playing around and that he no longer saw the Dark Knight as someone who completed him. Joker poisoned the Justice League, infected the whole of Gotham and claimed to be immortal, having been in the city since it was founded centuries ago.
2. Death Of The Family Joker
Just when you thought Joker couldn’t be any more depraved, he decided to cut his own face off and wear it like a mask. In Death Of The Family, Joker was determined to prove to Batman that he is strongest when he doesn’t have his family holding him back. He targeted every member of the Bat family, pulling them into a deadly game. This interpretation professed to being devoted to Batman, seeing himself as a loyal court jester who sowed chaos so his Bat King could become a better ruler.
1. The Batman Who Laughs
Number one on the list is a version of The Joker that melded with Bruce Wayne to become a nightmarish creature far worse than the original. The Batman Who Laughs came from the Dark Multiverse and came into being after he was poisoned with Joker venom. His mind was warped to the point that he murdered the rest of the Bat family and forced Superman to tear his wife and son to pieces. He also created cannibalistic clones of Robin to use as attack dogs.
Once he’d decimated his own world, The Batman Who Laughs set off to destroy more. He was one of the biggest parts of DC: Metal and definitely has a grotesque costume.
Do you have any other twisted versions of The Joker to add to the list?