8 Worst Things The Joker Does
‘Joker’ is not a film for everyone, especially for kids. It comes with an R-rating and fully indulges in its pass to include violence, foul language, and other strong material. Throughout the course of the movie, the main character commits all manner of hideous acts, from cold-blooded murder to breaking and entering and stealing.
All of the best Batman villains are twisted reflections of the Caped Crusader. They all represent a part of his own personality, his damaged brain, or his worst fears about himself. That’s why the Joker is Batman’s greatest villain and one of the best bad guys in comic book history. He’s willing to do absolutely anything, no matter how psychotic or depraved, to convince Batman they’re basically the same.
So, in a way, the Joker is the most dedicated troll of all time. He’s just trying to get a reaction out of Batman, one that proves his point. And along the way, he’s done some pretty horrible things to try to make that point.
1. He killed James Gordon’s wife
After Commissioner James Gordon divorces his first wife, he begins dating a woman by the name of Sarah Essen. Soon, the two get married, and despite Gordon’s dedication to his job, he’s pretty happy with his new bride…until the Clown Prince of Crime shows up. The Joker can’t stand it when his enemies experience any semblance of joy. So he sets out to ruin James Gordon’s life.
In the finale of the epic Batman storyline No Man’s Land, the Joker kidnaps every baby in Gotham and holds them captive in the basement of the Gotham Police Department. Sarah, a detective, is the first to arrive on the scene, but she stumbles straight into the madman’s trap. The Joker tosses a baby at Sarah, and as she tries to catch the child, he shoots her in the head. And as the Joker leaves the scene of the crime, the babies begin crawling on Sarah’s bloody corpse. Disturbing, right? Somehow things are only going to get worse from here.
2. He paralyzed Barbara Gordon
Of all the atrocities he’s ever committed, the Joker is probably best known for paralyzing Barbara Gordon. The grisly act occurs in Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke, when the Joker decides to hit Batman where it hurts the most. His plan involves reducing the Dark Knight’s most trusted ally, James Gordon, to a blubbering heap of his former self.
So how does he plan on destroying Batman’s friend? Well, he simply knocks on Barbara Gordon’s door, and when the commissioner’s daughter says hello, the Joker shoots her in the stomach. The bullet shatters her spine, leaving her paralyzed from the waist down. Then, adding insult to injury, the Joker shows Gordon photos of his daughter’s naked, bleeding body, all while forcing the poor guy to strip nude and ride through a horrific funhouse. Man, talk about one bad day.
3. He tried to copyright fish
One of the craziest crimes the Joker ever committed doesn’t involve murder, but that’s not for a lack of trying. In one unusual story, the Joker plans on poisoning Gotham Harbor, but the toxin ends up mutating all the fish, leaving them with white faces, red lips, and creepy grins. Sensing an opportunity, he tries to copyright these creatures so he can sell them and make a fortune. However, his plans are foiled by a copyright office employee who explains that fish can’t be copyrighted. Frustrated with his failing business plan, the Joker lashes out, murdering a bunch of clerks until Batman puts an end to his fishy scheme.
4. He’s the world’s worst boss
Joker, a standalone graphic novel by Brian Azzarello, draws inspiration from The Dark Knight’s more realistic take on the Joker but then adds ten more scoops of crazy. The main character is a low-level thug named Jonny Frost who acts as the Joker’s chauffeur once the supervillain is released from Arkham Asylum. But after Frost takes a secret meeting with Two-Face (who’s waging a deadly turf war with the Joker), the psychotic clown gets revenge by raping Frost’s wife.
At another point in the story, it’s strongly suggested the Joker makes a wealthy bank president do something pretty icky to a picture of his own daughter. It gets even worse when a henchman named Monty ticks off the Joker and winds up being skinned alive. So yeah, it’s safe to say this isn’t the most lighthearted Batman book ever written.
5. He ate China
In the nine-part story line known as Emperor Joker, Mister Mxyzptlk, the magical trickster who’s often a thorn in Superman’s side, wonders what it would be like if someone from the earthly realm had his powers. Curious, he gives the Joker just one percent of his magic. But the Joker is a pretty clever clown, and he tricks Mxyzptlk into revealing his true name, a ploy that gives Joker almost all the imp’s power. A little over a minute later, the Joker uses his almighty abilities to reshape reality into his own image. With these incredible powers, he entertains himself in the kinds of ways you’d imagine the Joker would. That includes eating the entire population of China. Yes, you read that correctly. He eats everyone in China, and in true Joker style, he uses a pair of chopsticks. Talk about a sick sense of humor.
6. Having friends for dinner
Toward the end of the comic book Death of the Family. The Joker captures Batman and sits him at a long dinner table. And as you might expect, the Dark Knight isn’t the only guest at this party. The Joker has also “invited” Batgirl, along with the current and former Robins. They’re all bound and have their faces covered with dark hoods. In front of each victim, there’s a serving platter covered with a sterling silver dome.
Then, in a ghoulish twist, out comes Alfred with a grin stretched from ear to ear, no doubt caused by the Joker’s infamous toxin. Alfred then removes the bags from everyone’s heads to reveal their bloodied, bandaged faces. It’s quite a shock, but that’s nothing compared to what happens next. Alfred then lifts the domes from each plate, and to everyone’s horror, they finally see the evening’s meal: their own faces, looking back at them. Thankfully, after Batman escapes his confinement, he unwraps the bandages from his friends and realizes it’s all been one sick joke. Everyone’s faces are fine. The Joker just wanted to have a little sadistic fun.
7. He beat Jason Todd to death
A Death in the Family was a controversial storyline. Jason Todd, the poor sap who took up the mantle of Robin after Dick Grayson left to become Nightwing, had his fate decided by a real-life contest held by DC Comics. Fans were asked to vote whether he would live or die at the end of an upcoming story arc. Tragically for Todd, he got the old Roman emperor thumbs down, and DC executed Todd as brutally as they could.
In the comic, Todd spends the story arc searching for his estranged mother, but his quest leads him straight into the hands of the Joker. Never one for subtlety, the Joker brutally beats Todd with a crowbar, and as icing on the psychotic cake, he kills both Todd and his mom with a bomb. That probably wasn’t the family reunion Jason had been hoping for.
8. He tricked Superman into killing Lois Lane
You can’t contain the Clown Price of Crime to comic books. In 2013, the Joker showed up in Injustice: Gods Among Us, a fighting game created by the same people behind the Mortal Kombat series. Shockingly, this fighting game not only has a compelling story, but it’s more troubling than most anything published by DC itself.
In the game, the Joker pushes Superman to the darkest place he’s ever been by first stealing a nuclear submarine and then poisoning the Man of Steel with Scarecrow’s fear toxin. The poison clouds Superman’s mind and makes him think he’s fighting Doomsday. In reality, he’s pummeling Lois Lane to death. Even worse, she’s pregnant with Superman’s child. Inevitably, the last son of Krypton beats Lois and the child to death, triggering the launch of a nuclear missile that wipes Metropolis off the map. As a result, Superman loses his mind and breaks his moral code by shoving his fist through the Joker’s chest. It’s a dramatic reversal of the character. After all, Superman represents everything we can be if we just try a little harder. And then the Joker proved that anybody, even Superman, is capable of breaking their own rules if pushed far enough.