Batman: The Joker
The Clown Prince of Crime is the most recognizable of the Batman villains for good reason. He embodies everything that Batman stands against and is the complete polar opposite of the Bat. The Joker has a famous quote that he said to Batman on the similarities of the two iconic characters, "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? I know I am. I can tell. You had a bad day and everything changed. Why else would you dress up like a flying rat?" In some stories his origin story changes which could just be attributed to his deep psychosis. All of them have him enduring some tragic sort of misfortune that leads to his criminal acts to heighten after going insane. The biggest obstacle that the Joker provided Batman was that he could never bring himself to break his rule of killing him. Batman felt that if he were to end the torment that Joker dishes out to Gotham, then he in fact would be the same kind of monster that Joker is. The Joker knows this and plays to it knowing that they are destined to go back and forth in one big sick joke.
With all the varying and contradicting origin stories to Joker it is hard to tell which is true or not, which may just be a plot device to show how mad the man is. A good portion of his origin stories involve him falling into chemicals which bleach his skin, gives him green hair and a permanent red Glasgow smile. Following the accident he is then almost always thrown into a series of criminal events that usually involve Batman. He becomes obsessed with him and even goes as far as to blame Batman for the horrible accident that changed his appearance forever. He even goes further by blaming Batman for his psychosis by saying that he is crazy because he hates him. Gotham quickly got to know the Joker for his penchant to be theatrical. He splashed on to the scene by appearing on a newscast after murdering a reporter with his Joker venom and he publicly told Gotham he intended to kill local millionaire Henry Claridge at the stroke of midnight. Despite the full arsenal of the Gotham City Police Department and even the help of Batman, Claridge fell to the ground in a fit of laughter with the trademark Joker grin and died at midnight. The Joker had contaminated the water supply throughout Gotham with his poison but Batman of course saved the day by cutting off the reservoir's connection but as a consequence the city went into a drought for sometime. The Joker was incarcerated for an extended time for his crimes, but of course it was not for a long time as this game between the Bat and the Clown had to continue.
In his incarceration he would quickly rise to become one of the most famous criminals in Gotham and the nemesis of Batman. He would find a frequent home in Arkham Asylum, the home of the local crazies, where he would very often find himself imprisoned. The asylum would try their hardest to contain him, but the Joker viewed it as a resting spot and even a place to plan his next diabolical act. Many of his own henchmen claimed to be afraid to work for him as his crimes were never for physical gain, they were for his own enjoyment and would often only make sense to him. While most of his criminal feats do not reward him with money, he has however been shown to have plenty of money. He has been shown to have some pretty outrageous possessions and one major item he had was a full truck mounted heat seeking warhead. The Joker has a substantial amount of crimes and most of them are personal attacks were directed towards Batman, often through his loved ones or members of his team. For the most part Joker has shown a complete indifference towards his victims as it never really has mattered to him as to who he is harming.
The crimes that the Joker carried out to get under the skin of Batman were some of his more heinous acts. One of the first acts he committed took place in "The Killing Joke" when he tried to drive Commissioner Gordon insane. He arrived at the Gordon household and before he went ahead and kidnapped him, the Joker shot Gordon's niece in the spine then took pictures of her naked and bloody laying on the floor which he then showed Gordon in a slideshow. The Joker did not know that Gordon's niece was formerly the original Batgirl. The gunshot left her paralyzed for life which forced her to hang up her days as a vigilante and started anew as the mysterious "Oracle." The Joker continued to terrorize Batman's comrades after that he went for his closest ally in Jason Todd, a.k.a Robin. During the events of "A Death in the Family," he murdered Jason Todd the second boy who would don the Robin outfit. Jason was sucked into the Joker's web by his mother. Jason went to Africa searching for his mother, who at the time was involved in criminal activities with the Joker. The Joker had the two tied up in an abandoned warehouse only to beat Jason to within an inch of his life with a crowbar causing severe trauma to his head. Before the Joker left the warehouse, he set up a bomb to blowup. Batman knew of what the Joker was doing and attempted to save his comrade but arrived to late only to see his friend die. Jason Todd and his mother died in the explosion. There have been other variations to this story and one was shown in the animated movie "Under the Red Hood," shown below. (Mind you it is violent)
Other Batman Hubs
- Batman: Bruce Wayne
Batman, the Dark Knight