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Joker (New Earth): Misc

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DC Comics

Up to date as of February 01, 2010

From DC Database

Character Template Character Template
Real Name
Current Alias

Aliases
Joseph Kerr, The Red Hood, The Clown Prince of Crime, The Thin White Duke of Death, The Harlequin of Hate, The Ace of Knaves, The Mirthful Menace, Jack Napier, Mister Jay

Identity

Alignment

Affiliation

Relatives
Rumored to have had a wife and daughter, both deceased.

Universe

Base Of Operations

Characteristics
Gender

Height
6' 0"

Weight
160 lbs (73 kg)

Eyes

Hair

Skin

Unusual Features
Besides the chalk white skin and green hair, he also has extremely sharp red lips. It is unclear whether or not his constant smiling is the result of physical deformity, and he has certainly been scarred as such in the past but seems currently to be able to facially express other emotions as well.

Status
Citizenship

Marital Status

Occupation
Professional Criminal


First appearance

Image:Quote1.png All it takes is one bad day to reduce the sanest man alive to lunacy. That's how far the world is from where I am. Just one bad day. You had a bad day once. Am I right? You had a bad day and everything changed. Image:Quote2.png
-- The Joker

Contents

History

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Origins

Accounts of the Joker's origin story have been varied and numerous. He himself has told the story of how he came to be in several different variations, saying that sometimes he remembers it one way, sometimes another; and that if he has to have a past, he "[prefers] it to be multiple choice."[1] What has remained the most consistent is, his first encounter with the Batman was while he was acting in the identity of "The Red Hood" with a gang of other thugs, committing a robbery in or near the Ace Chemical Processing Plant. He either tripped into a vat of chemicals, or was accidentally pushed in by Batman. He was driven insane by a combination of exposure to the chemicals, and possible brain damage due to oxygen deprivation.

Most origins all end with him falling into chemicals which bleach his skin and make his hair green and gives him a perminant red smile! They also always end with him either being forced into criminal acts or commiting them himself. They also always end or involve Batman in some way.

His activity between then and his first public appearance as The Joker is unknown, but his return to the Gotham City crime scene was a spectacular one. He announced himself on television, after murdering a reporter with Joker Venom, and publically told the police he intended to murder local millionaire Henry Claridge that evening at the stroke of midnight. Despite a full compliment of GCPD officers guarding his apartment, and intervention by the Batman himself, sure enough at midnight Claridge collapsed to the ground in a fit of laughter and died with the Joker's trademark death-grin on his face. The Joker would nearly contaminate Gotham City's entire water supply with his poison, but Batman was able to stop him by cutting off the reservoir's connection himself; effectively forcing the entire city into a drought as a consequence. The Joker was successfully incarcerated, but not for long.[2]

Gotham City Life

Incarceration would prove no obstacle for the Mirthful Menace, and he quickly rose to become one of the top members of Batman's Rogues Gallery. He would find a frequent home in Arkham Asylum, Gotham's local Mad House, where he would most commonly find himself imprisoned. Despite the asylum's efforts to contain him, he view it as sort of a revolving door, and even a place to simply rest up between his plans. His crimes vary from the whimsically indifferent to the inhumanly brutal, and his plans, in Batman's own words, "make sense to him alone." Many henchmen are afraid to work for him, and he doesn't always necessarily intend to physically gain from his crimes. He often commits crime for the sheer enjoyment of it, or specifically to cause pain to others, which he sees as part of "the big joke." Although not all of his criminal endeavors earn him money, he has been shown to have a significant bank roll, and has had possessions as outrageous as at one point a full truck-mounted heat-seeking warhead.[3]

The Joker has a substantial list of significant crimes, although his entire criminal history is too lengthy to be recounted. His most consistent theme is personal attacks against Batman, often through loved ones and members of the Batman Family, but he has shown complete indifference as to who his victims are, as it doesn't really matter to him.

Criminal Career

While the Joker's criminal activities have certainly not been limited to the following by far, he has amassed a sizable number of acts that distinguish him from the regular villain population.

In "Batman: The Killing Joke", while trying to show Batman how easy it was for even the sanest of people to lose their minds, the Joker attempted to drive Commissioner Gordon insane. He arrived at Gordon's house, and before kidnapping him, shot his niece in the spine then took pictures of her naked and bleeding and in pain on the floor, to force the Commissioner to watch in a slideshow. Although the Joker did not know this when he shot her, James Gordon's niece was actually Barbara Gordon, a.k.a. the original Batgirl. She was left crippled for life, a wheelchair-bound paraplegic, and forced to retire from her life of street vigilantism to a new career as the mysterious "Oracle".

During the events of "A Death in the Family," the Joker actually murdered Jason Todd, the second boy to don the guise of Robin. Jason had been searching for his mother in Africa, and found out too late that she had actually been involved in criminal activity with none other than the Clown Prince of Crime himself. Jason's mother betrayed him, and the Joker tied the two of them up together in a warehouse set to blow up. He also viciously beat Jason with a crowbar many times, causing severe trauma to his head. Batman was unable to rescue the two of them before the bomb's detonation, and they were both killed in the explosion.[4]

Actually, during the time Gotham City became known as "No Man's Land" when it was abandoned by the United States and crime ran almost free across the town, the Joker didn't show up for awhile. Batman left for some time, and while he was gone, the Joker just simply didn't think it worth the bother of being active in Gotham. However, when he did appear, amidst the already chaos, his impact was shocking. A large number of GCPD officers were murdered when he, after capturing them, dressed them up in costumes and makeup similar to his own so they would all be killed by the lone police Sniper, who had a vendetta against the Joker. Loads of innocent men were shot in the head by their friend.

Later, he took an entire hospital room full of newborn infants hostage. When Detective Sarah Essen, Jim Gordon's wife, arrived on the scene, he pointed a gun at her and told her not to move, then threw a baby at her. Sarah instinctively went to catch the small child, and the Joker shot her in the head. Oddly enough, he seemed to take no pleasure in this act. Later, when Gordon found out, he was on the verge of murdering the Joker but instead was calmed down and only shot him in the knee. The Joker was immediately concerned about the damage to his leg, worrying that he might never walk again, but quickly cracked up laughing, realizing there was a joke. The Commissioner had just gotten him back for the damage to his niece.[5]

Later, in an attempt to get him to come to terms with his mortality and have some sort of moral realization, a prison doctor informed the Joker he was going to die of a malignant tumor. Instead, the Joker decided he wanted to leave his mark on the world indelibly, and began a chain of chaotic events that would come to be known as "The Joker's Last Laugh." He used a variant compound of the Joker Venom to actually Jokerize all metahuman inhabitants of Slabside Penitentiary, driving them virtually into the same condition he was, but with the added benefit of having every single one of them completely loyal to him.[6] The Joker's army ravaged the planet, combatting all of earth's heroes, but Batman was eventually able to thwart the attacks using an antidote he obtained from Harley Quinn. Harley was angry at the Joker for attempting to impregnate her without marrying her. Nightwing, falsely believing that Robin had been eaten in the ensuing madness by Killer Croc, caught up with the Joker and actually beat him to death. Batman, not wanting Nightwing to have blood on his hands, resuscitated the Joker and saved his life.[7]

The Joker was one of extremely few villains not drafted into Alexander Luthor's Secret Society of Super-Villains during the Infinite Crisis. Contrary to others like Catman, the Joker actually wanted to be a member of the Society, but the higher level members wouldn't let him join, which enraged him. While slaughtering a branch of the Royal Flush Gang on his warpath, the Joker was actually laughed at by the King who said "Don't you get it? The Joker's too Wild!" He then electrocutes him with his joke hand buzzer, before walking away and saying to himself, "That's not funny". Later, after the Society had been defeated, while Alex Luthor was planning what to do next he was ambushed by the real Lex Luthor and the Joker. Before allowing his brutal murder, Lex simply told his counterpart "You should've let the Joker play."[8]

In Salvation Run, when the majority of Earth's villains were deported to the Hell Planet, the Joker was actually responsible for his own entire camp. They were largely unconstructive, and even attempted to steal food and supplies from Lex Luthor's group, who were trying to find a way to escape. The conflict ended in actual one-on-one fisticuffs between Luthor and the Joker. Although the match was nearly even, the Joker ultimately overcame Lex before the entire villain community was forced to unite against an oncoming Parademon attack.[9]

Since then, the Joker was offered a position on Doctor Hurt's conspiracy "the Black Glove" during the events of "Batman R.I.P.." During the events of R.I.P. Joker escapes from Arkham Asylum in an ambulance but is driven off a bridge by a Batmobile driven by Damian Wayne. He hasn't been seen or heard from since.

Personality

Insanity

The Joker's insanity appears to be a strange mixture of violently aggressive psychopathy, nihilism, and fixated narcissism. He has frequently been shown to have no regard for human life, and treats the pain and suffering of others as personal sport.

While frequent attempts have been made to pin down or classify the Joker's 'insanity', none have been consistently proven successful. And every attempt to cure him has proven likewise completely fruitless, as the Joker actively and energetically resists separation from his madness. He spends the majority of his time in Arkham Asylum, a somewhat inadequate facility which he and other inmates have come to view as sort of a home. The Joker appears to be able to escape from the Asylum almost at will, and does so very frequently. He treats it like a resting place, to go in between his criminal exploits.

During the events of "Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth", it was hypothesized by Arkham psychologists that the Joker actually existed in a state of almost "super-sanity". That he actually redefines his own personality every day, which explains why sometimes he appears as a horribly sadistic lunatic, and others as a simple mischievous clown.

One person who still sees some humanity in the Joker is the Martian Manhunter. When the Joker gained the Philosopher's Stone and tried to create chaos on Earth, J'onn was able to order the Joker's mind and cause temporary sanity, where the Joker expressed regret and remorse for his actions, and became desperate for a means to make up for them.

Day of Judgment featured Martian Manhunter taking the Spectre into the Joker's mind, along with the rest of the Justice League. He is attempting to show the spirit of vengeance that there is decency and humanity even in the most corrupted and evil of souls. Although most of Joker's mind is a horrible twisted hellish place full of demons, deep down, at its heart, there is a kindly couple living in a small domicile separate from all of the anger and torment. This revelation proves that there is some good in all people.[10]

Powers and Abilities

Powers

The Joker possesses no known superhuman powers.

Though some state he has adapted certain beyond average endurances due to his original chemical submergence. The following are such noted enhancements:

  • Pain Resistance: It is speculated that the Joker's exposure to chemicals may have heightened his resistance to pain. It is also implied that he is masochistic in nature, and thus enjoys any pain received, making it an ineffective way of dealing with him.
  • Tainted Blood: Joker's blood is tainted. It has been said that "being an avid consumer of his products, Joker's immunity to poisons has been built up over years of dedicated abuse." When a mosquito sucks the Joker's blood, it "writhes and whines, choking on tainted blood".[11]
  • Joker Venom Immunity: The Joker is immune to his venom.
  • Enhanced Intellect: Due to his chemical submergence.

The Joker has also shown other strange abilities:

  • Cheating Death: The Joker has cheated death numerous times, even in seemingly inescapable and lethal situations. He has been, among other things, caught in explosions, electrocuted, shot repeatedly (including point-blank in the face by a corrupt police officer masquerading as Batman), and dropped from great heights, but he always returns to once again wreak havoc.
  • "Comic Awareness": The Joker has, at times, shown to be fully aware of being a comic book character, even directly talking to the reader. However, most characters ignore this, due to the fact that he is criminally insane.

    Abilities

  • Inventive Skill: The Joker commits crimes with countless "comedic" weapons (such as razor-sharp playing cards, acid-spewing flowers, cyanide pies, and lethally electric joy buzzers) and Joker venom.
  • Genius-level Intellect: The Joker is also very skilled in the fields of chemistry, genetics, and nuclear engineering. He also seems capable of mastering whatever he puts his twisted mind to when he wants to. In a miniseries featuring the third Robin, he kidnaps a computer genius, claiming he is not too good with computers; however, later writers portray him as highly computer literate.
  • Skilled Combatant: Although he pales in comparison to any real fighter like those of the Batman Family, the Joker has frequently proven himself to be an excellent hand-to-hand combatant. While apparently of frail body, his ability to withstand seemingly any amount of pain, and the agility granted him by his insanity and willpower makes him a fearsome physical foe. He fights nearly completely unpredictably, and always has tricks up his sleeves for if he's losing. However, Batman and his allies often seem to be able to put him down with a single punch... but it is unclear whether or not he is simply allowing this to happen, as there are times where he is shown as being able to hold his own in hand-to-hand combat even against the Batman Family (including Batman himself).

    Strength level

Joker possess the strength level of an average human male who engages in regular moderate exercise though has at times due to adrenaline surges surpassed his normal levels; Athletic.

Weaknesses

  • Vulnerability to bullets.

Paraphernalia

Equipment

Joker uses many different deadly devices in his criminal exploits.

  • Joker Venom: a deadly poison that infects his victims with a ghoulish rictus grin as they die while laughing uncontrollably. This venom comes in many forms, from gas to darts to liquid poison, and has been his primary calling card from his first appearance.

Weapons

Razor-sharp playing cards, acid flower, Joker Venom - a compound consisting of strychnine and household chemicals the Joker can re-create at will, various guns and other weaponry. The Joker is unpredictable in that he will use any kind of weapon afforded him.

Joker's joy buzzer
The Joker often used a modified novelty joy buzzer strapped to the palm of his hand. The buzzer administered a lethal dose of electricity into anyone who came into contact with it.

Notes

  • Rumors that his name is Jack Napier are taken from the 1989 movie and the subsequent animated series. There is no canonical source that indicates this to be a fact to the printed page version of the character.
  • The Joker plays a very small, yet pivotal role in the Mark Waid/Alex Ross series Kingdom Come, which features his death at the hands of Magog.
  • The Joker has one of the most extensive body counts of any human level DC villain (notwithstanding incidents where entire planets are destroyed).
  • In the graphic novel Arkham Asylum, 1989, penned by Grant Morrison, it was suggested the Joker's mental state is a previously unprecedented form of "super-sanity," a form of ultra-sensory perception. It also suggests that he has no true personality of his own, that on any given day he can be a harmless clown or a vicious killer, depending on which would benefit him the most.

Related Articles

See Also

Recommended Reading

  • Batman: The Killing Joke
  • Batman: The Man Who Laughs
  • Batman: Lovers and Madmen
  • Batman: A Death in the Family
  • Joker: Devil's Advocate
  • Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth
  • The Joker's Last Laugh
  • Superman: Emperor Joker
  • Superman/Batman: With a Vengeance!

Links and References

  • The Joker at Wikipedia
  • Every.Joker.Issue.Ever - a fan project to eventually review every Joker comic story ever. Includes theories, discussions and analysis.
  • Joker article at Toonopedia
  • Joker article at Supermanica
  • Joker article at the Unofficial Guide to the DC Universe
  • Joker at the DC Animated Universe Wikia
  • Unca Cheeks' Top Twelve DC Super Villains with the Joker "best explicated as a primal force of nature; as unrelenting and inhuman as a freak lightning storm, or a tsunami. He is a natural disaster, on two legs."
  • "The Joker's Origin" at DCComics.com

Footnotes

  1. Batman: The Killing Joke
  2. Batman: The Man Who Laughs
  3. Batman #426
  4. Batman #426-429
  5. Detective Comics #741
  6. Joker: Last Laugh #1
  7. Joker: Last Laugh #6
  8. Infinite Crisis #7
  9. Salvation Run #6
  10. JLA #35
  11. Batman #663
Batman Villain(s)

This character, team or organization, is or was primarily an enemy of the Batman, or members of the Batman Family. This template will categorize articles that include it into the "Batman Villains category."

Justice League Villain

This character is or was primarily an enemy of the Justice League, in any of its various incarnations. This template will categorize articles that include it into the category "Justice League Villains."


This article uses material from the "Joker (New Earth)" article on the DC Comics wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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