UOM: Why the Joker is the worst Batman villain.

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waezi2

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Edited By waezi2

Okay, I want you to do me a favor.

Imagine the Riddler. One of Batman's most famous foes. Imagine him armed with a machine gun. Imagine him shooting sick people in a hospital.

...

Is it horrible? Sure. But does it have anything to do with what Riddler normally does? Is it completely out of character for him to do such a thing? And is it... kinda disappointing that a bad guy who does terrible things in extremely creative ways that only he does would do just... THAT?

Do you feel cheated since you were promised a Riddler story, and all you got was a standard story about a sicko who does something horrifying yet not that much in character? A character you love to hate?

There. Right there.

THAT is why the Joker sucks right now.

Ever since "The Killing Joke", writers have done all they can to keep the spirit of that Joker shown in a story that actually wasn't suppose to be canon(but it was popular, so there's that). Joker is Batman's arch enemy since he is the worst of the worst. So he has to do something inhumane to keep this status.

... Meaning two things.

First of all, the enemy relationship between the Clown Prince of Crime and the Dark Knight lacks creativity. Good hero-villain relationships has something extra, something that makes what they have unique. Like that Lex Luthor hates Superman for being better than him, so he tries to kill him so he can be the world's TRUE champion. Or how Spider-Man and Green Goblin's feud is a fight between geniuses and Peter is essentially part of Osborn's midlife crisis. Or Roy Harper and Cheshire share a daughter, making their relationship VERY complicated.

But the Joker and Batman? Batman hates Joker because he is an extremely disgusting human being. But that is a regular reason to hate him. Joker is obsessed with Batman, but WHY is he obsessed with him? Writers can't seem to agree on it. Their relationship lacks identity.

The SECOND problem with Joker being Batman's worst enemy is that... well, he is JUST that. His worst enemy. He is basically JUST the guy who pushes Batsy's buttons. Whenever something bad should happen to Batman, it was usually the Joker who had to do it since that was kind of a rule, EVEN if it was out of character. Like in "Death of The Family" event... more of THAT later.

Anyways, let us talk about the Joker's lack of personality. In the past, whatever Joker did something, it had a humorous element of a sort. Like he was pranking someone in an evil way. Like the time he poisoned every single fish in Gotham, NOT in order to kill people... but to make fishes look like him. Then, he argues that he should be paid since they looked like him. And he then tells a copyright clerk to fix it so he get paid for every fish that gets sold, something the poor clerk has no power over.

THAT is funny. In a twisted way. The Joker is a performer and a comedian. Whatever he does is ridicules, twisted, yet still has a touch of humor, a gag of some sort. Admit it, you thought it was a little funny when the Joker performed the pencil trick in "Dark Knight."

But since Joker has to outdo himself all the time by being the most horrible human being in the world, the writers sometimes forget to ad the small touch of humor.

Like in "Death of the Family", one of the more recent big Joker story-lines, where the Joker has cut off his face, wears it as a mask, and then tries to murder all of Batman's allies and friends since he thinks they hold him back.

... But how is it funny? Where is the punchline?

There IS no punchline, it is just "Saw". It's in theory extremely un-creative all things considered.

So there it is. The Joker is kinda white bread now. Which is a big problem, ESPECIALLY for a Batman bad guy since most of them are gimmick characters. Ventriloquist has his puppet, Riddler constantly tries to prove he is smarter than everyone else, Poison Ivy is obsessed with plants, Two-Face is crazy about duality, so on and so on. But when was the last time the Joker was funny? So he is just Batman's worst enemy since that is his role, no other reason.

That's all for now. Next time, why the Violator from the "Spawn" comics blows.

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waezi2

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Alphamon

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@waezi2: ya I can see were your coming from with joker pretty much just becoming your ordinary pshycopath and mass murder

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waezi2

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@alphamon said:

@waezi2: ya I can see were your coming from with joker pretty much just becoming your ordinary pshycopath and mass murder

One of my favorite Joker moments is actually a moment that redefined my view on humor.

In the comic "Mad Love", Harley has actually caught Batman and then intents to kill him with one of the Joker's death traps that he discarded since it was not funny. It was to sink Batman into an aquarium with piranhas. The reason to why it was discarded was that Joker couldn't make them smile, they looked like they frowned. But Harley turned Batman upside down so he would see them "smile", thus fixing the issue of lacking smiles.

But Mr. J was PISSED. Not ONLY did Harley try and kill Batman for him, she wasn't funny. Harley had to EXPLAIN why they were "smiling".

And a joke is NEVER funny if you have to explain it. A joke has to be simple, yet creative.

One of the last great Joker moments before the reboot was when Luthor visited Joker in Arkham to help him locate orbs that could give him superpowers(long story) and Joker starts off by mocking Lex by saying; "I think I can make the world a better place by killing Batman."

Simple, straight to the point, doesn't have to be explained, FUNNY.

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Alphamon

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@waezi2: aah yes Batman the animated series did have great moments or episodes like that

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amazing_webhead

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#5  Edited By amazing_webhead

i completely agree. Joker is little more than just "clown guy who kills everything" anymore. what especially bugs me is how everyone still calls him "unpredictable" as if you could never see "tries to kill everything again" coming. i'd like to see more moments like this one from The Long Halloween, stealing peoples' Christmas presents while reciting lines from Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! and not even hurting anyone, then trying to kill the city with a crop-dusting plane full of toxins on New Year's Eve.

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infantfinite128

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The Riddler analogy is excellent.

Great post.

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Guardiandevil83

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Have you read the White Knight? You might dig it. During his hearing, Jack/Joker mentions that he never actually committed any violent crimes, and that he was more of a chaos engine.

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NerdyBoi

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You bring up some really good points and I do agree,

If I could be in charge of the character I'd make Joker, more of a living Ideology, like make him represent the true meaning of Nihilism, but make him funny.

But I would only bring him around every so often, so we don't get over saturation of him.

And I'd also make him a planner, he'd just use insanity as an excuse.

And the reason he'd be obsessed with Batman is his no killing rule, he'd be fascinated by it, and he'd constantly push Batman to break his one rule, and if Batman breaks this rule,he'd be no better than Joker, a killer.

And that'd be the reason why Batman couldn't break his rule. And make more of Jokers plans and kills creative.

Imagine for a Christmas story about the joker for example where when they leave cookies and milk out for Santa,and the parents eat them to make the kids believe in Santa,he put acid in them,and during Christmas morning when opening presents, the parents die in front of their kids with their stomach having a viable hole from acid.That Joker would not only have a twisted sense of humor, it'd be creative and something we wouldn't see every now and then.

Thats just my take on the joker if i was in charge of his character.

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Vishop_

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#9 Vishop_  Online

I think the reason behind his insanity/obsession is to make Batman cross the line where he kills him and becomes a murderer like him or like his other rogues(Two Face or Poison Ivy) and Joker knows it pretty well.

But I agree with what u said about Death of the Family and Joker's touch of humor. It was totally un explainable behind Joker's actions against Batman and his allies. It just doesn't make sense at all. Writers tend to overuse him more and more after Ledger's Joker came out of the park. He is over-saturated.

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Lan_Fan

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I've seen worse Batman villains.

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MarvelandDCfan24

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#11  Edited By MarvelandDCfan24

He literally has a villain named man bat....

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FinalKingThanos

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Hes still one of the best ever tbh

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waezi2

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He literally has a villain named man bat....

Man-Bat is as this point a better Batman villain.

@lan_fan said:

I've seen worse Batman villains.

I've seen better. And even Condiment King beats Joker simply for being creative. Zsasz is kinda flat, but at least has a iconic gimmick.

Have you read the White Knight? You might dig it. During his hearing, Jack/Joker mentions that he never actually committed any violent crimes, and that he was more of a chaos engine.

I did, and I wasn't the fond of it.

At least it had Baby Doll in it

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Uttarashada

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I agree, u need to know how to write comedy if u tackle Joker's character. Most authors can't do that so they turned Joker into Hannibal Lecter with clown makeup on, whose only job is to be absurdly disturbing.

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waezi2

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@vishop_ said:

I think the reason behind his insanity/obsession is to make Batman cross the line where he kills him and becomes a murderer like him or like his other rogues(Two Face or Poison Ivy) and Joker knows it pretty well.

But I agree with what u said about Death of the Family and Joker's touch of humor. It was totally un explainable behind Joker's actions against Batman and his allies. It just doesn't make sense at all. Writers tend to overuse him more and more after Ledger's Joker came out of the park. He is over-saturated.

Oh, it was a problem WAY before Ledger's Joker(who BTW was actually funny, which is part of the reason to why he was great). It's been a problem since Moore's Killing Joke story. Even Moore admits that it was a mistake at many points, he ESPECIALLY regretted being more or less responsible for Batgirl being crippled(again, that story was never intended to be canon, Joker was actually killed in it).

But you are right about it being worse after Dark Knight.

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Lan_Fan

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@waezi2 said:
@lan_fan said:

I've seen worse Batman villains.

I've seen better. And even Condiment King beats Joker simply for being creative. Zsasz is kinda flat, but at least has a iconic gimmick.

You said he was the worst in the title, so...

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Fabricolage

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To be honest, I always thought that jester characters could be more silly and do the shenanigans as you said with characters like Duela Dent(not the new 52 Joker's Daughter), Trickster(either villains), and Harley Quinn even though she kinda does it. Joker was still able to pull some grand scale trickery like in Joker: Last Laugh and Emperor Joker.

Plus yeah, I don't think he's done much in the new 52, which has kind of set back many characters, tbh. Thought he was gonna one-up TBWL in some way. And maybe creativity is hard for people to make. INB4 comic book characters end up dressing up as or being doctors, police, soldiers, average joes, firefighters because people demand a realistic take.

Also, I forgot one of the weird Batman villains but I don't know why there is a character called Eduardo Flamingo/Flamingo. Could be a Joker stand-in or something.

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#18  Edited By LeoTheGreatest

The whole dynamic of Joker trying to make Batman have that “one bad day” that pushes him of the edge is one of the best reasons for a rivalry and no one else in his rogues gallery tops that.