Batman without Joker =
Off My Mind: The Importance of the Joker to Batman's Character
Joker is Batman's antithesis. Without the Joker, Batman would lose his prominence, his importance. The Joker is completely unpredictable and that's what makes him such an important character. While Ra's would be close to being Bats' most important villain, he isn't unpredictable, and frankly, isn't insane. The Joker's existence makes Batman contemplate his own, deepening his own character just as much as the Clown Prince of Crime.
Both are alive mainly because they don't understand each other, but know that there is a thin line between being like the other. They constantly challenge each other until the other one succumbs to the other's ideology or everyone in the world is sane. Or dead.
The Joker represent to Batman what he can become if he ever stepped the boundaries of his code and became a murderer.
I don't think it's true. If Batman became a murderer he would probably be like Jason Todd, killing criminals and saving innocent lives in the process.
I agree that the Joker is an interesting vilain, and batman is one my favorite superhero but the fact that he don't won't to kill him always troubled me. I mean, Joker killed his adopted son (Jason Todd), tortured and paralyzed Barbara Gordon and probably killed thousands of people in horrible ways. For me, Batman is way more insane than the Joker, he has no excuse for letting him live after all he did (he killed his son, god***it) and because of that a lot more of people will die.
Batman isn't about fighting. He's about changing. He's about setting an example that an urban legend bogeyman sees your crime, hunts you down, but does not give you the salvation of death. It's a lot more intimidating when a guy dressed up like a bat punches you once. Because then you'll know he'll do worse if he ever catches up with you again.
Besides, if he were to cross the line, Superman would be the first one to bring him down. If Supes failes, then it'll be Dick. And I really doubt Dick would fail.
@Croaker: Very good points, and it's true that he is very intimidating, that works very well against the average criminal.
However, against someone like the Joker, it doesn't work. Because he is insane he don't fear him and he will kill again and again. And sending him to Arkham doesn't work either because he always manage to escape.
What I can't understand is why nobody killed the Joker, because as much as I like him it's just not credible that in a world like the DC Universe, with people like Wonder Woman, Midnighter, Apollo... who can kill if necessary, the Joker is still alive.
I really think that Batman is insane. Sure he's dressed up as a giant bat and is training a bunch of kids to fight crime, but that's not the point: The definition of insanity isdoing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. (well, not the real definition but it illustrates my point)
Batman is a detective above all else. He will not destroy what he can't understand and Joker is the culmination of that. The Joker knows this and he knows that if he loses the game and kills him, he will have proven his point and won (ruined Batman). At the same moment, Batman's sane crazyness and unwillingness to compromise to the Joker's ideology is like an itch in his otherwise blissful insanity. They want to understand each other, but don't want to jump over to each other's territory. To the Joker it's like a theatre stage of absurdity where he constantly heckles the audience while Batman tries to write more scripts so that the play might ultimately make sense. Batman has to convince himself every day that there is a point to not ending the Joker once and for all and that thought is both rational and terrible.
I think it's also the fact that Joker is human and stays alive in a world filled with the likes of Superman that adds to him being such a fascinating character. I think the story where Joker poisons Lois Lane to fool Superman into killing him needlessly shows perfectly that even Superman has a certain fear for this particular clown. Because he is completely unpredictable, it doesn't matter if you can shoot lasers out of your eyes or crush you with your fingertips. Because by that time he has either gone to plan B to prevent that or knows that even in death he'll win.
Joker is iconic and really embodies chaos-evil but i never have been attatched to him or considered him as interesting untill the Dark Night film. That was a great rendering of the Joker. Joker is fadeing outside of Detective Comics, and video games as i believe he is just not anything unless their's batman there. Which is fine but i enjoy batman most when the joker isn't even referenced.
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