Off My Mind: Why Batman Needs Joker

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Posted by G-Man (30625 posts) - - Show Bio

We all know that Batman's greatest enemy is the Joker. He has caused havoc and destruction in Gotham City for years. Besides the countless murders he so easily commits, he has also struck close to home with Batman by killing Jason Todd as well as shooting and paralyzing Batgirl.

It's been a constant struggle in trying to keep Joker's destruction to a minimum. Whenever he is locked up in Arkham Asylum, he is able to pretty much come and go as he pleases. With the authorities convinced that he is insane, being locked up in an asylum is all they can do.

There appears to be a greater purpose to Joker's existence in Batman's world. He may be a pain in Batman's rear, but during the past year when Joker was away, Batman faced his biggest challenge. Joker has now returned to make up for lost time and to actually help Batman be a better hero.

== TEASER ==

Joker understands that it's Batman's mission to rid the world of evil. He exists to stop crime and protect the innocent. What Joker realizes is Batman is not alone in his fight. He has gathered a large extended Bat-family in his fight against crime. This could be seen as a way to assist Batman in fighting criminals but it also serves as a distraction and weakness.

Scott Snyder recently said the following:

I was really fascinated by the idea that he's sort of accumulated this family of people he cares about. As a father of young kids, you know how scary the world can be once you have a kid and family. I felt like the person that would come after him the most and say, 'You've become slow, weak and old. Don't you remember when you used to be so strong?' would be Joker. And how terrifying it would be to have him finally come and say, 'I'll do you a favor. I'll kill them all because it's what you really want deep down, to go back to just you and me. Look at all the great times we had.

Batman may not exactly wish for his 'children' to die, but they do serve as a distraction. He may have the utmost confidence in their skills and abilities when he gives them his blessing to fight crime under his roof. But they can be seen as a weakness.

If a villain can't harm Batman directly, targeting one of his disciples might give them some leverage over Batman. When it was just Batman fighting crime solo, he didn't have to worry about the welfare of his partners. He could go out and take down the criminals without any repercussions threatening others around him.

Having the Joker around keeps Batman on his toes. Without Joker around, Batman could get too confident. In BATMAN #13, Joker said the following:

You've gotten fat. Soft. Soft enough you can't even stop a bunch of old birds from roosting in your spires without help?

I look at you and I want to knock on your skull and ask 'Who's in there? Who is this? Where's my old friend?'

Why was Batman able to be captured and pretty much defeated during the Court of Owls story? It could be argued that he simply didn't know what he was going up against. This could be why he so easily defeats Penguin, Riddler, Mr. Freeze, etc. He knows everything about them and how to put a stop to them.

Then again, you could also say Batman doesn't know what he'll be going up against when it comes to the Joker. How many different versions of the Joker have we seen over the years? He's been goofy and harmless sometimes and completely deadly and psychotic at others. Joker makes Batman think. Batman knows he needs to take the Joker seriously. The fact that Joker's schemes could go in any direction at any time is what makes him such a problem.

If the Joker were ever to be removed permanently from Batman's rogues gallery, Batman could simply dial in each threat. With all his contingency plans, he would be prepared for any new threat. This isn't saying that Batman is unstoppable, just that we know he can win over his other foes. Joker is constantly mixing things up. There has to be a reason he was gone for a year as well as why he would allow his face to be cut off. Now he's back because he is unhappy with the way Batman has turned out and how easily he let the Court of Owls play him.

Facing Joker makes Batman a better hero. Who is Superman's biggest threat? A rich and intelligent bald businessman. Who is Hal Jordan's biggest threat? Most likely Sinestro but they've managed to work together in the first year of the New 52. Who is Wonder Woman's biggest threat? That sort of depends now that her backstory has been changing.

None of the other heroes has a nemesis on the same level as Joker. Whatever doesn't kill Batman makes him stronger. Having Joker around definitely makes Batman stronger. Without Joker, Batman would become soft. His mind and skills would lessen just as an athlete's muscles would deteriorate without continued exercise. Batman needs Joker. It's just unfortunate that the world around them often has to suffer from their encounters.

Tony Guerrero is the Editor-in-Chief of Comic Vine. You can follow him on Twitter @GManFromHeck. Life can sometimes be a joke and he's perfectly content to not have an actual Joker trying to make him stronger.

Staff
#1 Posted by theTimeStreamer (2841 posts) - - Show Bio

i will never buy joker as a big bad-ass. he is just lame and batman's an idiot for putting up with his crap for this long.

#2 Posted by tchalla3000 (54 posts) - - Show Bio

Much respect to this article. As bad as it is to say, Joker does keep Batman on his feet. After this story line, Batman might go back to his Bruce Wayne: Fugitive self, where he felt he didn't need anyone. Or he might re train everyone to better prepare them for the future. Either way, connections will be strained.

#3 Posted by Trodorne (2572 posts) - - Show Bio

Superman is a bit different, because its both himself and Lex Luthor. Lex represents the hate, greed and intelligence man has. While Superman though not human has the qualities for strength,compassion, and hope. Lex is always the constant reminder that Superman is not human and he can never fit in with society no matter how much he tries. With out lex, Supes would just relax and go stop a bank robbery and be back in time to watch the game with his friends and act like everything is normal. He might even become to complacent with trying to be human so much he might try to give up being superman almost all together. Though that would be improbable and he would have to be extremely lazy.

#4 Posted by the_fallen11 (636 posts) - - Show Bio

I don't agree with this article at all, i do agree that Joker NEED Batman buuuuuuut, Batman doesn't NEED the Joker. He has filled grave yards with the amount of people he's killed. And Bruce feels responsible for everyone of them, he's ruined the lives of Jim, Jason, and Barbra...if you walked up to Batman and said "hey don't cha ever wish Joker would just GTFO?" Pretty sure his response would be to punch you in the face for asking such a dumb question......and saying the term "GTFO"

#5 Posted by Rumble Man (11119 posts) - - Show Bio

@theTimeStreamer said:

i will never buy joker as a big bad-ass. he is just lame and batman's an idiot for putting up with his crap for this long.

DC's telling batman to risk the lives of gothamites to get more fans

#6 Posted by StMichalofWilson (3665 posts) - - Show Bio

I have already learned from the Dark Knight...

I wonder why G-Man didn't use this scene.

#7 Posted by MisterKetch (253 posts) - - Show Bio

The only problem I have with the Joker is that he is still alive, after everything he's done in Gotham I can't imagine a cop without Gordon's high "morals" would simply shoot him dead in a cell and be rewarded for it. In Batman: Cacophony, something similar happened and the Joker was shot leaving Batman the option to simply let him bleed out and be done with it but he couldn't despite everything because as Batman he saw it as his mission to fight death.

He's endlessly entertaining as a villain and a perfect foil for Batman, the chaos to the order batman tries to represent so I'm happy to keep having him come back, but this larger epic event scale fits him better then a 4 issue random story arc.

#8 Posted by lifeboy (1675 posts) - - Show Bio
Checkout the 'exorcist3' to see a cameo of the joker. It freaked me the hell out when i saw it! I was like'@#$&*!!' Lol
#9 Posted by G-Man (30625 posts) - - Show Bio

@StMichalofWilson: And we know what happened to the Dark Knight after Joker got locked up. He became a recluse for 8 years. If movie Joker could've broken out, Batman wouldn't have been all sad and lonely at the beginning of Dark Knight Rises.

Staff
#10 Posted by NightFang (9866 posts) - - Show Bio

@StMichalofWilson said:

I have already learned from the Dark Knight...

I wonder why G-Man didn't use this scene.

I think this scene works even better.

#11 Edited by Lurkero (176 posts) - - Show Bio

@theTimeStreamer said:

i will never buy joker as a big bad-ass. he is just lame and batman's an idiot for putting up with his crap for this long.

I've always viewed Joker storylines as proof that Batman is either stupid or crazy.

Any competent police officer would have shot Joker dead the moment Joker started killing people. It is okay for people to defend themselves if lethal force is necessary. Batman refuses to accept that for some reason.

#12 Posted by Smurfboy (480 posts) - - Show Bio

In my opinion, Joker needs to be put to death for good. Clearly he doesn't want to stop killing people and has no peace at all in him. Do Batman needs him? No. He fought with Joker for many years and now it's time to end it all.

#13 Posted by summerslam1988 (29 posts) - - Show Bio

@Lurkero: I've always felt that Batman is just as crazy as the criminals he fights. His insanity just comes out in a different way.

#14 Posted by Reignmaker (2227 posts) - - Show Bio

@Lurkero said:

Any competent police officer would have shot Joker dead the moment Joker started killing people. If it's okay for people to defend themselves if lethal force is necessary. Batman refuses to accept that for some reason.

I've been arguing this point for a long time. I really wish DC would modernize this aspect of Batman's character. He's not SuperScout like Superman. If Joker is bleeding and near death as previously mentioned, I think Batman is completely justified in letting him die.

Not saying we should see the Joker die, but the writers should handle it differently. Watching Batman attempt to save the Joker multiple times just looks and feels stupid.

#15 Edited by Loki2u (208 posts) - - Show Bio

@Lurkero said:

@theTimeStreamer said:

I've always viewed Joker storylines as proof that Batman is either stupid or crazy.

Any competent police officer would have shot Joker dead the moment Joker started killing people. If it's okay for people to defend themselves if lethal force is necessary. Batman refuses to accept that for some reason.

Lethal force hasn't been necessary to stop Joker. Why use it if you don't need to? This is why I respect Batman- he's not Judge Dredd.

Great article! Thanks!

#16 Posted by kid Apollo (709 posts) - - Show Bio

Batman and Joker is a lot like Cable and Apocalypse. they serve to make the other better, stronger and smarter. its all about escalation, like going to a fist fight then someone pulls out a stick, so you pull out a rock, they pull out a knife, and you whip out a gun. Jokers always gonna be Bats best baddie because hes the king of pushing things over the edge.

#17 Posted by Jonny_Anonymous (32675 posts) - - Show Bio

I think Lex is on the same level as Joker

#18 Posted by Pokeysteve (8028 posts) - - Show Bio

Batman needs Joker like humanity needs AIDS......

#19 Posted by chocobojam (288 posts) - - Show Bio

I dont think that batman needs joker. what batman really need is his gotham knights family to be always around him. (speaking of gotham knights, I really hope that they will relaunch a new gotham knights on going).

#20 Edited by pspin (891 posts) - - Show Bio

Batman needs Joker in the sense that there is no one else who is his opposite and equal. When push comes to shove, you know exactly what Batman will do, anything but kill you, but you never know what Joker will do because he doesn't care. Batman represents order and Joker represents chaos. If Joker were to one day disappear and never return, Batman would go crazy trying to figure out what he is planning but that would never happen because Joker needs Batman as well. They are like two sides of the same coin.

Great article G-Man.

#21 Posted by Lurkero (176 posts) - - Show Bio

@Loki2u said:

@Lurkero said:

@theTimeStreamer said:

I've always viewed Joker storylines as proof that Batman is either stupid or crazy.

Any competent police officer would have shot Joker dead the moment Joker started killing people. If it's okay for people to defend themselves if lethal force is necessary. Batman refuses to accept that for some reason.

Lethal force hasn't been necessary to stop Joker. Why use it if you don't need to? This is why I respect Batman- he's not Judge Dredd.

Great article! Thanks!

You're right. Lethal force hasn't been necessary to stop Joker. However, it is necessary to END Joker.

#22 Posted by bennyq (405 posts) - - Show Bio

I do think someone will die in Death of the Family, and I get the feeling it'll be Alfred, as sad as that is.

#23 Posted by feargalr (1153 posts) - - Show Bio

I don't think Batman needs the Joker, I think Bruce does

#24 Posted by Crash_Recovery (850 posts) - - Show Bio

@Reignmaker: I agree that saving the Joker and killing the Joker aren't the same thing, but I don't agree with the idea of Batman killing his enemies.

If Batman claims to respect law and order in any capacity it's his obligation to allow the justice system to prosecute criminals under the laws of the land. We see Batman different from how the characters in his world see him. We know who he is, his motivations, and how he operates. From our perspective, him killing the Joker may seem entirely justified. From the perspective from the person on the ground in the DCU, Batman running around killing/murdering his enemies makes him just as terrifying and dangerous as they are.

#25 Posted by Vance Astro (91112 posts) - - Show Bio

I disagree that Batman needs Joker. I think he's a stale ass villain and a capable writer could replace him in importance with another villain.

Moderator
#26 Posted by acomicbooklook (55 posts) - - Show Bio
#27 Posted by daredevil21134 (10836 posts) - - Show Bio

@Vance Astro said:

I disagree that Batman needs Joker. I think he's a stale ass villain and a capable writer could replace him in importance with another villain.

EPIC POST!!!!!!!!!!

#28 Posted by theTimeStreamer (2841 posts) - - Show Bio

the both sides of the same coin is such a HUGE PILE BS. if jokers was the opposite he wouldnt be able to do anything to batman. he is just a lame clown writer like to wack off to.

#29 Posted by Vance Astro (91112 posts) - - Show Bio
@daredevil21134 said:

@Vance Astro said:

I disagree that Batman needs Joker. I think he's a stale ass villain and a capable writer could replace him in importance with another villain.

EPIC POST!!!!!!!!!!

Also to add to this...The New 52 has been AMAZING for villains. Never in history have I seen so many promising character designs out of DC.
Moderator
#30 Posted by MrShway88 (655 posts) - - Show Bio

@summerslam1988: I like this point of view.

#31 Posted by notarandomguy (316 posts) - - Show Bio

@Lurkero said:

@Loki2u said:

@Lurkero said:

@theTimeStreamer said:

I've always viewed Joker storylines as proof that Batman is either stupid or crazy.

Any competent police officer would have shot Joker dead the moment Joker started killing people. If it's okay for people to defend themselves if lethal force is necessary. Batman refuses to accept that for some reason.

Lethal force hasn't been necessary to stop Joker. Why use it if you don't need to? This is why I respect Batman- he's not Judge Dredd.

Great article! Thanks!

You're right. Lethal force hasn't been necessary to stop Joker. However, it is necessary to END Joker.

Is like someone already said, He's not Dredd... there's a reason some of the officers respect Batman, his moral, someone else kill joker, Batman would go after him, but probably know it was the right thing

#32 Edited by BigMaraSpence (74 posts) - - Show Bio

DC will never get rid of The Joker, because it's too big of a risk.

Sure, a lot of people on here don't seem to want The Joker around, but we hardly represent the entire client base for the industry. As a whole, I believe there would be a boycott on the books, and then DC would have no choice but to bring him back.

Now, I know that this whole article is about the DCU and Batman's and Joker's personal relationship, but so many people have been complaining about how he is a milked cow and needs to go and writers aren't willing to do that, I felt that the other side of that opinion should be addressed.

@Crash_Recovery said:

@Reignmaker: I agree that saving the Joker and killing the Joker aren't the same thing, but I don't agree with the idea of Batman killing his enemies.

If Batman claims to respect law and order in any capacity it's his obligation to allow the justice system to prosecute criminals under the laws of the land. We see Batman different from how the characters in his world see him. We know who he is, his motivations, and how he operates. From our perspective, him killing the Joker may seem entirely justified. From the perspective from the person on the ground in the DCU, Batman running around killing/murdering his enemies makes him just as terrifying and dangerous as they are.

For the personal relationship, I completely agree with THIS. Imagine if some masked vigilante was actually going around murdering sociopaths (a la Dexter). It wouldn't be tolerated, and said hero would be hunted down and treated as one of the villains he has killed.

Batman needs to be feared by the thugs and super-villains. However, he wants the people of Gotham to know he is their champion and they need not fear him.

#33 Posted by 7DEADPOOL7 (122 posts) - - Show Bio

I dont know whether it is extremely admirable of Batman to stay with his policy of no death under any circumstances in regards to his treatment of Joker or blind stubbornness that should be rectified.

#34 Posted by mewmdude77 (993 posts) - - Show Bio

the two heroes with the best villains, and the villains that define them are Batman and Spider-Man. They both have such a varying super villain rogue, and villains that affect them so much. Batman's Joker is Spider-Man's Green Goblin. Batman's Mr. Freeze is Spider-Man's Doc Ock. Batman's Bane is Spider-Man's Sandman. Batman's Catwoman is Spider-Man's Black Cat. Batman's Prometheus is Spider-Man's Venom. So many great villains for both of them, more than any other heroes.

#35 Edited by Lurkero (176 posts) - - Show Bio

Disclaimer: I completely acknowledge that I am arguing about a fictional character in a fictional universe used to sell entertainment based on long lasting branding and characters. Sometimes it's fun.

@Crash_Recovery said:

@Reignmaker: I agree that saving the Joker and killing the Joker aren't the same thing, but I don't agree with the idea of Batman killing his enemies.

If Batman claims to respect law and order in any capacity it's his obligation to allow the justice system to prosecute criminals under the laws of the land. We see Batman different from how the characters in his world see him. We know who he is, his motivations, and how he operates. From our perspective, him killing the Joker may seem entirely justified. From the perspective from the person on the ground in the DCU, Batman running around killing/murdering his enemies makes him just as terrifying and dangerous as they are.

Nobody is advocating that Batman handle all his situations by murdering people. Most people are saying that in the cases of extreme danger, such as those that the Joker usually elicits, it might be okay to kill some people who have no intention of ever NOT killing people.

@Vance Astro said:

I disagree that Batman needs Joker. I think he's a stale ass villain and a capable writer could replace him in importance with another villain.

AGREE! The only reason Joker is ever compelling as a villain is because Batman refuses to take him out. That is bad writing if one also refuses to question Batman's sanity (see the end of Batman Arkham City).

@notarandomguy said:

@Lurkero said:

You're right. Lethal force hasn't been necessary to stop Joker. However, it is necessary to END Joker.

Is like someone already said, He's not Dredd... there's a reason some of the officers respect Batman, his moral, someone else kill joker, Batman would go after him, but probably know it was the right thing

Nobody is asking Batman to act as judge, jury, and executioner. If the Joker is about to murder some people, including Batman, then Batman is just a justified to kill Joker as those people and the police who would be there to save them.

If the Joker approached Bruce Wayne on the street and started shooting at him, would Bruce Wayne be wrong to defend himself with lethal force? Your answer should be the same for Batman, Bruce Wayne, and anyone else.

#36 Posted by BigCimmerian (7851 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm becoming really pissed because of Joker. Batman is responsible for his creation, I know that he was already criminal as the Red Hood, but he fell into that acid because of Batman, every cop would just shot down Joker without any hesitation, I don't see why Batman would be any different. We are not talking about regular thugs or ordinary bank robbers. We are talking about the guy that has filled entire graveyards, ruined countless families, destroyed everything because he thinks that it is funny.

#37 Posted by AlKusanagi (593 posts) - - Show Bio

I'd love seeing a story where Batman is jumping through the Joker's hoops as usual and then Damien just walks up and offs him.

#38 Posted by drill_it_up (1 posts) - - Show Bio

@theTimeStreamer: You should not be allowed near a keyboard you illiterate uneducated cunt!

#39 Posted by hyenascar (192 posts) - - Show Bio

@AlKusanagi: I too, think it would be hilarious if Damien killed Joker. AKA "The Last Laugh."

#40 Posted by Grey56 (728 posts) - - Show Bio

@theTimeStreamer: You have a picture of Batman as your icon, an image of him as your wallpaper figure - and yet you fail to understand the philosophical underpinnings of the quest undertaken by the dark knight ? I'd do some reading on deontological reasoning. Or the works of Immanuel Kant. Or here - http://www.amazon.com/Batman-Philosophy-Knight-Blackwell-Culture/dp/0470270306. I finished that not that long ago. After that you should come to a more definitive understanding as to why Batman does not destroy any villain. Or why any police officer or Soldier doesn't take a life when one can rely upon various institutions to take care of punitive or rehabilitative actions after apprehension.

#41 Posted by mrdecepticonleader (17572 posts) - - Show Bio

Interesting article.I dont think Batman needs Joker,just because Joker might not be around doesn't mean Batman would get soft or lazy,his fight against crime would still continue all the same.That might be the way Joker could view Batman though,that Batman does need him and he needs Batman.But not the other way around.

Joker is an incredible villain.

#42 Posted by Omallee (2 posts) - - Show Bio

They're not saying Batman needs Joker like he couldn't go on, they're saying the readers do because without joker the batman would get sloppy the comics would get boring and start to suck. I'm glad they have such Iconic reoccurring villains like Bane, Ras and Joker, They can't just get rid of them because they are now as important to the Batman series as Batman. And Batman refuses to kill because he wants to make himself a better person than the people that do, he knows how horrifying it is for someone you care about to be murdered and doesn't want anyone to ever have to feel that pain. He's also scared that once he does cross that line he won't stop, he'd kill anyone no matter how small and petty their crime was.

#43 Edited by Dark_Vengeance_ (14587 posts) - - Show Bio

@theTimeStreamer: Because if Batman kills the Joker then. Joker wins.

#44 Posted by JSH92 (414 posts) - - Show Bio

This article is complete garbage. Who is the ignoramus who wrote it? The editor-in-chief of Comic Vine? Really? Wow. I figured it would have been written by somebody who knows almost nothing about comics outside of the Joker and Batman.

OK, first, the Joker isn't the only Batman villain who keeps Batman on his toes. I wouldn't even consider the Joker Batman's single most dangerous villain. Sure, he's dangerous, but Batman's got plenty of other villains who are just as dangerous and some who are even more dangerous (Ra's Al Ghul comes to mind, or have you not heard of the Demon who wished to wipe out most of the population on the entire planet!!!!).

Also, to shrug off Lex Luthor as just a "rich and intelligent bald businessman" just makes you look totally ignorant. Have you even read a comic with Lex Luthor as the main villain? Also, arch-nemesis does not equate with biggest threat. Superman, Hal Jordan, and Batman have all faced villains who are bigger threats than their arch-enemies. If Joker is the biggest threat that Batman has ever faced, then his biggest threat is mere child's play compared to the biggest threats of Superman, Hal Jordan, and Wonder Woman.

I also disagree with your notion that the collective Bat Family makes Batman weaker. It's not like Batman doesn't see as much action, nor is it like he relies on them all the time. They help him, sure, but it's not like he sits around in the Batcave while they do all the work. He still works more than any other member of the Bat Family. Even though they're all there, he's still the goddamn Batman.

One point I do agree with you on is that fighting the Joker makes Batman a better crimefighter...but any villain that Batman faces makes him a better crimefighter! The more villains he faces, the greater his experience in crimefighting becomes. Also, he does not NEED the Joker. Not having Joker around would NOT make Batman soft. As I already mentioned, he's got plenty of villains already that give him enough trouble and force him to keep on his toes.

In conclusion, this is easily one of the worst articles I've ever read on Comic Vine, and the bias of Joker ass-kissery permeates the entire thing. I am disgusted. (But I think maybe you're just playing devil's advocate, and I hope you really don't believe this junk that you've written, nothing against your writing abilities, just the material itself).

#45 Posted by Omallee (2 posts) - - Show Bio
#46 Posted by soduh2 (865 posts) - - Show Bio

@theTimeStreamer said:

i will never buy joker as a big bad-ass. he is just lame and batman's an idiot for putting up with his crap for this long.

Agreed to an extent. Batman could've ended Joker a long time ago.

#47 Posted by Imagine_Man15 (1801 posts) - - Show Bio

I get so sick of people whining that Joker is still alive. I guarantee if he were killed off, most of the same people would complain about that. The fact is that Joker has become as important to the Batman mythology as Batman himself, and he will never be killed off, nor should he.

#48 Posted by Imagine_Man15 (1801 posts) - - Show Bio

@theTimeStreamer said:

the both sides of the same coin is such a HUGE PILE BS. if jokers was the opposite he wouldnt be able to do anything to batman. he is just a lame clown writer like to wack off to.

Do you ever have anything positive to say? I genuinely wonder if you are capable of posting a comment that doesn't bash a character, series, writer, etc.

#49 Posted by Shamelesslysupportinaznballers (553 posts) - - Show Bio

One would think that with all the resources Batman has at his disposal, he would find a way to eliminate the threat of Joker w/o actually killing him. I love the Joker, I love Batman but it is ridiculous how Batman can seemingly find a way to beat every member of the JL but he can't seem to ever shake off a skinny clown with something from Home Depot at his disposal. It's not like Joker has a Green Lantern ring or something.

#50 Posted by dmkicksballs13 (110 posts) - - Show Bio

Batman doesn't need Joker, Joker needs Batman. You're suggesting that Batman needs Joker to improve his detective skills, but Joker's livelihood has killed thousands of people. That trade-off doesn't seem equal.

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