DC Database

Quote1 There's a certain rhythm to these things! I cause trouble, he shows up, we have some laughs, and the game starts all over again! [...] Without Batman, crime has no punchline. Quote2
The Joker src

The Joker was a sadistic, moody, and violent sociopath with a clown motif. Bent on terrorizing Gotham City for fun, he was the archnemesis of Batman and his allies. Even decades after his death, his name was still an inspiration for a maniacal and nihilistic gang, the Jokerz.



Before the accident

The man who would become the Joker was an nameless hitman who went by the alias "Jack Napier", beginning his criminal career working as an enforcer for the mob triad of Sal Valestra, Buzz Bronski, and Chuckie Sol. One of his last jobs was to kill Carl Beaumont, a businessman who had fled the United States after the mob bosses discovered he had embezzled a fortune.[4]

Years later, Napier formed his own gang and staged their first robbery at the Ace Chemical Plant in 1992. It was during this heist that he first encountered the superhero Batman. During the ensuing fight, he fell off a catwalk and into a drainage vat of chemical waste that washed him out into the river. The chemicals dyed his hair green, bleached his skin white, and staining his lips permanently red. This pushed him over the edge into complete insanity and allowing him to adopt the alter-ego of the "Joker". He developed a sick sense of humor, and viewed crime, pain, and death both hilarious and fun. Vowing to show the world the triumph of his comic genius, the career of one of history's most dangerous and intelligent sociopaths began.[5]

The Clown Prince of Crime

Joker DCAU 02

Becoming the Joker

After his transformation, the Joker planned various schemes from small-scale crimes to global conspiracies. Using his genius intellect, he was able to build complex clown-themed weapons, death traps, and lethal laughing gas. All these schemes were thwarted by the Batman and his partner Robin, however, who would send Joker to Arkham Asylum, only for him to escape again to commit more crimes. The Batman and the Joker became bitter arch-rivals, but the Joker always saw their battles and all of the lives he took as merely a game to torment Batman with.

One Christmas Eve, Joker escaped from Arkham Asylum, kidnapped Commissioner Gordon, Summer Gleeson and Harvey Bullock, and held the city hostage to his destructive holiday show.[1] Later, as an April Fool's celebration, Joker spread his trademark laughing gas across Gotham, incapacitating and stealing from the entire city.[6]

Joker also infiltrated Mayor Hill's home and created chaos. Hill's son followed Joker to his hideout, and Joker used the kid to lure Batman into a trap. However, during the final battle, Joker fell in the river and disappeared from the place.[2] On a later occasion, Joker tried to con his way to a local comedy trophy by using the Mad Hatter's mind control chips on the event's judges.[3] Later, he stole a nuclear warhead and almost successfully set it off on the residence of Mayor Hill[7] and he also set out to destroy a casino that was built by ripping off his image.[8] He was stopped by Batman on many of these occasions.

Creating Harley Quinn

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The Joker's Sidekick

A frequent inmate of Arkham Asylum, the Joker was often psycho-analyzed by Doctor Harleen Quinzel. During these sessions, the Joker manipulated Dr. Quinzel's emotions by painted himself as a misunderstood soul crying out for the world to accept him. Quinzel soon found herself in love with the Joker and broke him out of Arkham Asylum using the alter-ego of "Harley Quinn". However, their relationship was very abusive and the Joker frequently mistreated Quinn and used her as a pawn.[9]

The first crime they pulled together as a team was the attempt on Commissioner Gordon's life during an event on his honor. This plan, however, was foiled by Batman who captured them both.[10] Afterwards, Joker attempted to copyright fish with his face and tried to murder the people who denied his wish. Rather than being captured by Batman, Joker chose to drop into the sea, where he was presumed dead by a shark attack.[11]

Joker resurfaced in the criminal underworld when he learned that somehow, Batman had been killed by a small-time crook called Sid the Squid. Joker used his influences and gathered his gang to capture Sid to learn if Batman was truly dead. Batman, however, was simply hiding and Joker (assuming Sid was guilty), tried to kill the man. But eventually, Sid was saved by Batman, who allowed Joker and Harley to remain free.[12] Joker and Harley later attempted to steal a valuable diamond from the Gotham Museum, but their plan was foiled by Batman. In a fit of anger, Joker threw Harley to the streets, which forced her to start an alliance with Poison Ivy. Joker learned of Harley and Ivy's success in crime and tried to put an end to it, only to end up captured by Batman and returned to Arkham.[13]

Joker and Harley would break up several times, only to get back together again in the end, with Harley never truly learning her lesson that the Joker was the wrong man for her, not even from Ivy.

The second Robin

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Beating Robin half to death

After some time, Robin had a falling out with Batman and left him to become his own superhero. A few months later, a new Robin joined Batman's side, this one far more brutal and uncompromising than his predecessor, or even Batman himself. The tales of him beating Batman's rogues senseless and nearly killing them reached the Joker, and he decided it was kill or be killed. He and Harley kidnapped the new Robin, and the Joker tried beating him to death with a crowbar in his hideout, but Batman arrived to save him. The ensuing battle caused an explosion in the hideout, and while Robin lay dying, Batman went to save the life of the Joker. The Joker was saved and returned to Arkham while Robin was left for dead.[14][15]

Robin just barely survived the explosion, and four years later, when Batman had chosen a third ward, the young man the Joker had nearly killed returned as the Red Hood. He kidnapped the Joker, Batman, and the new Robin, and he tried to force Batman to kill the Joker once and for all. When Batman refused, the Joker was found by a fiercely loyal henchman, whom he escaped with into the night.[16]

Schemes outside Gotham

Action Comics Vol 2 41 Textless Joker Variant

The Harlequin of Hate battles the Man of Steel

In his later years, the Joker's crimes and lifestyle led to a lack of financial stability, forcing him to operate outside of Gotham on several occasions. One such instance caused him to travel to Metropolis, where he briefly allied himself with Lex Luthor to kill Superman for one billion dollars. The Joker planned to use a statue made of Kryptonite, but his plans fell apart when Batman deduced what the antique was made of and headed to Metropolis. After failing to defeat either Batman or Superman, Joker decided to consolidate his losses and kidnap Luthor using an experimental LexWing assault vehicle. While the Joker was presumed dead after grenades exploded the plane, he survived and returned to Gotham a month later, still bankrupt.[17]

Another plan in Dakota City saw the Joker plan to put together a metahuman gang, but Batman, Robin, and Dakota's resident her Static teamed up and defeated him. After he escaped prison once again, the Joker joined Lex Luthor's Injustice Gang and helped them capture the Batman. The Gang was defeated by the Justice League, however, and the Joker was once again sent to prison.[18][19][20]

The Joker's next scheme involved using the metahuman Royal Flush Gang to run interference while the Justice League attempted to defuse bombs he had set up all over the Las Vegas strip. As he televised the events to millions to pirating the airwaves, Joker used the Gang's member Ace to make viewers lose their minds with her perception-altering thoughtwaves. Once the bombs were all disarmed, Batman arrived to stop the Joker, and revealed to Ace that he had a neural-blocker headband in case she turned on him. Learning the Joker didn't trust her sent Ace into a rage, and she used her powers to send the Joker into a vegetable state before leaving.[21][22]

Death and return

Joker DCAU 032

Joker's demise

Years later, between 2005 and 2007, the Joker committed his final act of cruelty by kidnapping Batman's partner, third Robin Tim Drake, with the help of Harley Quinn. He used shock treatments and serums stolen from Project Cadmus to extract secrets about Batman from him, including his true identity of Bruce Wayne. He also used genetics technology to remake Tim into "J.J.", a child-sized replica of Joker as his and Harley's son, and, using a special Cadmus chip, inserted his genetic material in Tim so he could return from the dead through him after he was gone. In the resulting battle, J.J. arrived and nearly killed Batman when the Joker had him on the ropes. Tim instead broke free of his conditioning killed the Joker. Tim was in therapy for a year to recover, but he was forced to retire his role as Robin.[23]


Return of the Joker

As an adult, Tim worked for a communications company, though he was still under the influence of the Joker's chip. Eventually, the chip took full control, transforming Tim into the Joker, this time complete with his deranged consciousness. During a confrontation with Terry McGinnis, the new Batman destroyed the chip with the Joker's electronic joy buzzer, restoring Tim Drake to normal and destroying the Joker once and for all.[23]

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  • Joker Venom Immunity
  • Cheating Death: Thanks to his intelligence, he even managed to cheat death through Tim Drake by inserted a microchip onto Drake spinal cord and using stolen Cadmus's technology that carried his D.N.A. and personality, allowed him to take control of the young vigilante's body over time, claiming that he was "years ahead of his time".
  • Cosmic Awareness: The Joker has, at times, shown to be fully aware of being a fictional character, even directly talking to the viewer.


Other Characteristics



  • How the Joker dies depends upon which version of the movie Return of the Joker. In the censored version meant for television, Tim threw the gun, which is filled with Joker Gas, to the side and fought the Joker pushing him into a portion of the lab. Here Joker crashes into several canisters of chemicals and is wrapped up in wires. He slips on some of the chemicals and falls, pulling a switch, therefore electrocuting himself. In the uncensored version, Joker subdues Batman with a knife to the knee and gives Tim a gun armed with a rocket-propelled Bang Flag. Using the last of his free will, Tim shot the Joker, whose dying words were: "That's not funny." Tim finally broke down and cried, comforted by Batgirl.
    • While many fans consider the uncensored version canon, neither has been confirmed as such by DC.
  • Operated the phony corporation of Gwynplaine Entertainment in the Justice League episode "Wild Cards", the name of which is based on the Conrad Veidt character from the Victor Hugo story/movie "The Man Who Laughs", which the Joker character is based on.
  • During the flashback in Return of the Joker, the Joker revealed that he knew Bruce Wayne was Batman, noting that he would find it funny "if it weren't so pathetic".


External Links


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